Well, it’s that time of year again. Not quite consistently snowing and not quite enough consistent, clear, dry skies to jump and fly. It’s time to shift my focus from the constant immersion of fun times to the grind of such domestic activities like cleaning gutters, painting, fixing, and dreaming… of endless powder days and calm winds of course! It’s around this time of year that I begin to feel stagnant and uninspired. This year in particular I have the extra chore of fixing and prepping a house for sale and manipulating my way though the complex entanglement of my grad school application process. As frustrating as it is, I know that things will eventually work out, snow will eventually fall, and good times will eventually be had. However, for now, I will have to focus on looking ahead, staying focused, and changing gears.
I’ve had a few email, text, and phone conversations with skiing and jumping buddies lately talking about just this very subject. It seems we all deal with this time of year in our own way, but we all go through the same emotions and rituals. Checking the interweb machine to see if the Farmers Almanac has changed it’s predictions of snowfall and duration of winter, dusting off our skis and heating up the iron for a fresh tune up, changing batteries in our beacons, listening to inspiring podcasts and music while hiking and scouting those new speedfly lines, taking amusing ski pass photos, and waiting…. For powder days and light winds of course!
It use to be that winter enthusiasts dreaded the summers. However in recent years, it seems that more and more single sport adventurers are turning to multiple sports. Surfing, kiteboarding, paragliding, skydiving, BASE jumping, speedflying, climbing, slacklining, SUP… You name it, people are doing it. They are even combining sports that several years ago, no one would have ever dreamed up. Skiing and BASE jumping, skiing and paragliding, surfing/SUP and GIANT super tankers. If you can dream it, people are now doing it. I like to think that pioneers like Shane McConkey, JT Holmes, Matthias Giraud, and Matt Gerdes (all totally rad skiers) are responsible for these trends. It’s their innovations and forward thinking that has allowed parachutes, speedwings, paragliders, surfboards and SUPs to have kept the summer depression at bay over recent years.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to take full advantage of the last 5 or 6 weeks of cooperative weather here in the Northwest getting several wingsuit BASE and low wall BASE jumps in, some great trail runs, some speedflying and even some paddling time on the SUP. I was happy to share a few of these hikes and jumps with some awesome people and have some great, thought provoking conversations. Jumps with friends are awesome because mountains, smiles, and high fives seem to go well together! It’s times like these that I am reminded how lucky I am to live in a place with so many opportunities to get outside and to be surrounded by such awesome, inspiring and fun people. New adventures seem to be around every corner.
Not every adventure goes as planned however. Even after scouring the weather reports/forecasts and licking my thumb and sticking it in the air, there is always the potential for weather flare ups in the mountains. Several times I was forced to hike down 2/3 to 3/4 of the 3,500 foot vertical climb due to excessive winds and low clouds. No matter though. A day spent in the mountains is good for the soul and always leaves me happy and content. There are times that I just sit at the exit point or gear up spot watching the clouds floating by, listening to the wind rush through the trees, the rain falling, or the birds soaring on their invisible waves of air. Everything is so simple, yet humbling and powerful.
This time of year is also good for reflection on where I have been. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I was recently a guest on a very good friend’s podcast which revolves around the premise of living your passions daily and sharing those moments with others in order to inspire them to do the same. It’s called The Bucket List Life with Kenyon Salo (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-bucket-list-life-podcast/id928612622). Interestingly enough, I learned just as much from my own interview with Kenyon as I did with the other four guests. I found myself using experiences in their own lives and applying them to my own. I felt as I was growing and expanding my life through their words. I found it incredibly therapeutic and energizing!
Whatever this next season intends on bringing my way, I am certain that amazing adventures, new friends, big smiles, high fives, and tons of stoke will surely be on the menu. I hope to see you out there, Living the High Life!