Rockwood State Forest

Rockwood State Forest
Click the Photo for the Song of the Month---Richochei "Perfect Like You"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

With a Twist

 I like to be creative when I ski, I get a better kick out of it. It doesn’t take much effort, much less than the physical effort of skiing, so I try to inject some creativity into my days out.

 The first thing that comes to mind is mixing up your tour or in other words devising a tour that has a lot of changes and surprises, and demands on your skills. Let’s not forget about trying to make the tour aesthetically pleasing too, in other words, get up close to nature and learn and enjoy. I try not to ski with my head down just running hard, but to take in things as I run. Think of it as experiencing all you can on your tour. There will be times when you are running and stomping hard up a hill, then mad shooshing with your telemark through a dropping bend, and later skirting an old fieldstone wall with thoughts of bloodied knuckles on farmers hands. Or the way a squirrel stored a hickory nut in the chinks of that wall 75 years ago, where now the wall is busted by a big old tree.

 No tour is good without plenty of diversity. I want to know I have some noble hills to climb, and I want to know I have a long lake crossing with the potential for a tailwind or a headwind. Nice stuff.  I want to change up a tour also. How about sneaking in two reps of the same little loop with a decent downhill rip, before continuing  through. This is something akin to how whitewater boaters will play several times in a particular eddy with a chute nearby. Not sure it they call it a chute, but they’re taking time to play some within the scope of their days run.

 You have to be imaginative. One little twist on a tour leads to another. I’ve stopped during tours and done a little mindfulness of dried leaves rustling curled up, crispy, and yellow like old newspaper on beech trees from last summer. Next thing, I'm commited to the best of my abilities to climbing off-trail to sew together two lakes I’ve never skied together in the same day, that I’ve discovered I can sew into a new loop.

 It’s easy to go to the guidebooks and run a classic tour start to finish and get a kick out of it. I think it’s better to add the smallest degree of nuance to it, to make it new like Ezra Pound said about good writing, to make it a new tour, the first time anyone has done it just so, ever.

 I try to spend a little time creating good tours like this, and most of the time it starts to flow just after my first attempts to be creative on my skis. Maybe it’s getting creative like this that people need to get something more from ski touring. Nature alone may not present enough feedback. By applying yourself to the terrain and surroundings, you are certain to trigger imaginative ways to make each tour something a little more special than just a day of kick and glide.

Some days I'm dull and couldn't be imaginative to save my ass. I think for most of us those kinds of days are few. In the end, as I once heard said, there will be more good days than bad in the end.

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