Monday, September 22, 2014

Strength and Serenity

We have had a lot of incredible conditions on the glacier.  Sunny days with firm skiing and sleeves rolled up when I've had to pinch myself to see if it is real.   So it probably isn't fair to complain about the wrath of force that Mother Nature unleashed on us this morning.  Even on the tram ride up to the glacier, I knew it was going to be a mental toughness day as the tram car swayed in the wind and the rain pelted from all the sides.  Out on the glacier at 2800 meters the temperatures were below freezing so the raindrops had turned to ice pellets which even with my face covered with my buff and hands, they whipped at your cheeks, stinging on contact.  The wind swirled across the snow and I tried to ski compact to keep my poles from being blown to the side.  With each switchback I skied away from the tramhouse the wind and sleet accelerated and the fog lowered.  I focused on finding the feel of the ski across the snow trying, stripping skiing back to the basics of the push and glide, to enhance those sensations during the vertigo of the whiteout conditions.  When a worry of being blown off the trail arose in my mind, a bigger gust would pummel toward me, displacing any calm I had found with flashing terrors of being obliterated into a crevasse.  But every time I thought I had hit rock bottom, the clouds would lift just enough to unveil some of the other nearby switch backs and I saw my teammates and fellow World Cup competitors surrounding me and remembered that we were all in this together.  This glimpse provided me with enough strength to get up the next hill and the serenity to find the quiet flow as I skied through the storm.  Today the goal might just be finishing the workout but another day the challenge could be a lot harder.  Facing every obstacle with strength and serenity will be positive force that allows me to appreciate the tailwinds and the headwinds, the uphills and the downhills because I know there are a lot more of both of them ahead. 

Sometimes you have your feet up drinking lattes in the sun.  Here's Pepa on our off day in town.

Feeling fast and invincible

The view from the trail looks like this!

And other days the same view looks like this.  The camera doesn't even show the sleet, hail, and snow

Gotta keep climbing!  I'm the little pink dot skating up the trail.

And if all else fails just make sure to look good.  Cheers to Elsa as she gathers her own strength and serenity this fall!
Thanks Nick Brown for the photos!

1 comment:

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