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Skiing is Magic!

Skiing is Magic!

Learning to ski is a challenging task. I discussed in an earlier Blog some of my earlier challenges – Ski like no one is watching.

Over the past 20 years Sally and I have made a pilgrimage to the snow, somewhere in the world on an annual basis. Initially in Australia, and over time to New Zealand, Canada, US, Japan and Europe. Luckily there are some beautiful snow venues in Australia and overseas. Our goal is somewhere between 5-10 days each year. When added up – not a lot of time! If you work it out in days (max) 200. Almost a full year in working days!

Over the years we have completed many lessons and with the patience and encouragement of many instructors and colleagues we have progressed and are modestly competent. Some might say very modest.

During this time we discovered a program conducted in Aspen by Tom Crum –The Magic of Skiing.

Last week, Sally and I completed our third program. We are slow learners (but we love the progress we make). It is a program with an infinite life. In the learning process there is no end only milestones. The human spirit in its unique way is driven to progress – to search for more and better?

This program allows for that journey so returning on a regular basis is not only an opportunity to improve technique but also an opportunity to learn a little about self and the power within.

Applying this new learning to our skiing has been a frustrating, refreshing, and rewarding experience.

Arriving at Magic is a real buzz –the anticipation – the first night – personal introductions: multiple professions – single men and women, grandmas and grandpas – families – retired men and women, married couples  and a self confessed “hedonistic dillitente”.

In addition the range of skiing experience – intermediate to World Class. The common thread in addition to a love of skiing is the openness to learning!

We start:

Life –work –skiing – all related

Mind body spirit – an integrated framework

Grace flow and letting go –a model to help think about how to ski and the overall philosophy:

Maximum Joy – Minimum struggle.

It will be the best week ever! Each day is the best day ever!

Third time around this is still rock solid stuff.

Skiing is Magic!

Forecast POWDER: relatively new to us but a sense of excitement about it!

Powder lots of it! 36cms-the first night, then 28 then 36! – This is skiing heaven! It’s like a drug for some. The locals are on the slopes. The schools are closed for 2 days. The children are on the slopes.

We have never seen so much powder. Knee and thigh deep!

The goal posts have changed! It’s not about big turns and carving -It is now about skis together and even weight on both skis, sliding, standing tall, finding the “love spot” and enjoying it. Even for experienced skiers it is hard work we’re told.   For those new to POWDER it is a great challenge –getting stuck in powder or worse falling, adds a whole new dimension to difficult! It is a whole new experience!

The goal posts have moved way out there! 

The Joy must be in the Struggle – sure as hell not in the skiing. It feels like ploughing through nothing. Falling down and getting up- another step in the learning. POWDER is hard work. The instructors ever present – being present! Challenging supporting, nurturing and encouraging – never judging!

What did we learn? – Grace, flow and letting go! It works sometimes– and then…old patterns emerge … keep working.

There is something about the snow and the environment that is almost mystical. The snow “talks”. Each mountain has its own energy and the screaming silence – exquisite. Dancing with the Mountain – it is possible! There is nothing like it!

Meditation and stretching.

Simple demonstrations of Aikido principles

Finding Centre

Focus on Purpose,

Working with the energy of the mountain

Working with resistance.

“Dancing with the mountain?” This is not a mechanistic process

Would love to ski like an Instructor!

Maybe we should learn Aikido?

The program gives us a day off. We need it. 

Then blue sky skiing on groomed runs –feel like I can ski again!

The mountains are awesome: The runs – (Black Blue Green and Double Black) each one has a story to tell and retell!

The exhilaration, awesome

The snow – best in 20 years, the locals say!

Skiing is Magic!

Evening guests:

  • Klaus Obermeyer – the living legend – 96 and still skiing, playing tennis and going into the office each day.

He tells us stories.

His first commercial garment – the down jacket he made for himself – from the comforter his mother gave him and then everybody wanted one

Skiing on a cloud.(Powder)

He yodeled for us

“Never make a deal where the other guy loses” – his first business principle

He built an amazing business using principles of Aikido.

The three M’s: Meaning, Movement and Mindset! Are the words Tom used to encapsulate Klaus’s life.

  • Kurt US Marine SEAL – powerful stories on leading in difficult situations. 

The story about John Denver and the Challenger shuttle disaster (1986) –he was almost a starter!

The music and singing is a great way to finish. Rocky Mountain High: the Mountain and the stream.

Each run is a story, (and there are many). Each day is a story, the week is one of the best stories ever! 

The last day –one of the great days of my skiing adventure – with Sally – amazing snow –I think I could have continued skiing forever (modestly) – just might be the best day ever.

Looking back on the week I can say there were many challenges and opportunities – all supported by the Magic – of the snow, the mountain, the program participants and the program staff lead by Tom and Cathy and the close friends who joined us on the journey.

Sharing the learning with friends in an extended community is a serious highlight! It just might be the best way (ever) to learn?

Skiing is Magic!

There is no question in my mind that Skiing is Magic!

If I search the literature on learning (and /or education) I am sure there will be a model on the learning journey!

It will have a number of stages in it and it will look like this:

Getting started – early awkward steps – thinking you can do it alone – discovering it is not that easy – acknowledging it’s about the work – Practice! Practice! Practice! Until a level of mastery is achieved! It takes years not days or weeks! And it takes a community.

Our skiing journey may never end?

 

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Ben Kehoe