Paradise Found: 100 More Days on the Mountain
There is no shortage of experts who can wax eloquent about the power of goal setting: how goals keep you on track, keep you motivated, raise your self-confidence and so on. My goal this season, as it was last season, is to ski 100 days. This, however, isn’t really about the value of goal setting. Rather, this is about rediscovering the place that makes me happiest — our mountains — and making sure I don’t lose track of that again. My 100-day goal helps me do that.
Whistler Mountain was my home away from home when I was a kid and I grew up skiing as much as I possibly could — days and days of blissed-out, all-consuming skiing. When I realized I could miss school to train for ski racing, I spent even more time up there going as fast as I possibly could. Anything, in my mind, was preferable to school!
I found a spot on the Canadian Ski Team but somewhere along the way, I lost something too, although I didn’t realize it at the time. Amid all those ski races, and hours and hours of training and travelling to other mountains, racing became my job and I somehow lost my deep love and passion for simply being on the mountains.
I quit the Canadian Ski Team after it became clear to me that it had lost meaning and purpose for me. And then I stopped skiing altogether. For 20 years, I stayed away from the mountains — too busy, too intent on other things and perhaps a little too jaded by the past.
Things started to change about two years ago after I bought a snowmobile. Those childhood feelings of freedom and abandon and pleasure all came back. I started to remember what it was like to be on the mountains once again. This time, however, it wasn’t about going down at 140 km/hour to get my thrills; it was the simple enjoyment of being out there, in a place where I could find clarity in a very cluttered and busy world.
Last season I set a goal of skiing 100 days. Achieving that goal was a game-changer in so many ways, so I’m going for it again.
I know there will be days when I feel the pull of business — meetings and emails and phone calls — making it so easy for me to stay in the valley. I trust that my goal will keep me on track.
It’s amazing that after two decades of staying away from the mountains, I’ve rediscovered the thing that makes me happiest in life, after my family and business. And, all it took was setting a goal to really find it.
See you up there!
Feature Image: Ben Girardi