5 Important Life Lessons that Skiing Has Taught Me
While many people view skiing as an elitist sport, anyone who really skis will tell you that it is one of the most humbling, rewarding experiences. Growing up skiing the world-renowned mountains of Vermont, I have been blessed with having some of the best trails and skiers right in my backyard (quite literally, as I currently live on top of Sugarbush Mountain). Being raised in a ski community has taught me more than I can describe about believing in myself, living outside of my comfort zone, and many other important parts of life:
5 Life Lessons that Skiing Has Taught Me
1. How to make the best of a situation that you can’t control
In alpine environments, weather is the one thing that can’t be predicted or controlled. It is a running joke in Vermont that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. Ski conditions can be temperamental, but similar to many things in life, you just have to learn how to enjoy the activity despite the uncontrollable factors. After paying a ton of money to do some runs, the last thing you should do is not enjoy the experience because the conditions aren’t exactly to your liking.
For this reason, skiing has taught me how to be more easy-going and enjoy something for all it is worth instead of letting something bother me that really shouldn’t.
2. Take a leap of faith
When you are at the top of a hill, the only thing to do is take a deep breath, believe in yourself, and push off. Nothing makes people fall more than being overly cautious and acting like a nervous Nancy. Also, you are much more likely to fly if you have some self confidence. Taking a leap of faith is not just about believing in yourself, but it also necessitates being independent and standing your ground solo. Even though skiing can be a group activity, at the end of the day you are the only one who can get yourself down the mountain.
3. When you fall, the only option you have is to get back up and keep going
No matter how scary it is, the only way to get down a mountain is to make yourself. Even the best of the best fall down sometimes, so don’t let a temporary setback make you stop trying. There is nothing more gratifying than making it down a challenging run and looking back up the trail that you just successfully skied down. In life, there are not many achievements that are tangible. Physically seeing the obstacle you just overcame is great motivation to keep going.
4. How to observe myself and others honestly
The only way to get better at something like skiing is to watch others, evaluate your technique, and then work hard to improve. You can read all day about how to perfect your mogul runs but it won’t click until you watch the technique of someone better than you. Skiing teaches you to stop relying on books and other people’s words and instead to observe and learn from people in their natural element.
This, in turn, teaches you how to observe yourself and make changes based on your own self reflections. Learning how to view ourselves honestly and without a filter is the most important thing we can do, as real change never happens without it.
5. There are always more people to meet and mountains to conquer
There is a big world out there, and activities such as skiing are great reminders of that. Even if you “conquer” one mountain, there are thousands of others all over the globe just waiting for you to explore them. Despite this, the magical thing about the world of skiing is the sense of community that it fosters. Nothing bonds skiers quicker than that beautiful moment when they recognize the passion in one another’s eyes. The ski community as a whole is one of the most supportive, loving communities I have ever experienced.
Even if you are very different people, all skiers have one thing in common: you think it’s fun to throw yourself down a mountain. This behavior frequently overflows into other areas of your lives. And the majority of skiers usually partake in many other forms of outdoor adventure. Having that “risk-taker” mentality is rarer than most think, so I’m thrilled when I meet someone else trying to scratch their adventure itch.
As a skier, I never stop learning. Every run is an opportunity to change the way I do something. And every mountain is a place that holds a new experience. To me, nothing is sadder than people who look at life from a horizontal view and don’t push themselves to try something that switches up their angle.
The world seems different when looking at it from the top of a mountain. Maybe it’s the quick altitude change or the lack of oxygen up there. I always feel refreshed, energized, and humbled after viewing our world from up high. I can’t wait to see where my mountainous heart takes me next.
5 Life Lessons that Skiing Has Taught Me photo credits by Rebecca Murphy.