Go Big or go home right? … The famous last words from one of your buddies that always ends up in medical, at least once a ski season. Yet, we all keep pushing our limits to go bigger and bigger every time we are on the mountain or in the terrain park. Why is that?
In my brief, but awesome immersion into skiing, I’ve seen people throw down some of the biggest tricks in person, and also seen some of the gnarliest crashes. Now, I know I don’t ski with professionals, but the stoke is all the same. So then, why do we push the limits over and over again, knowing all the risks, without any fame or glory, or a guarantee we won’t eat it on the landing? I can tell you that it’s not for the story, and most of the time it’s not for the picture/shot, it’s for that moment of bliss. Maybe you might disagree, but I just recently started hitting massive jumps and while flying through the air, I discovered a state of bliss like none other.
Making the move to hit these larger jumps changed the game completely, and I want to try and describe it. Normally, on the approach, you are dialed-in and completely focused on your body position, speed, and what your move is once you leave the lip. Then you takeoff, make your grab or spin, and prep for the landing. If successful, you ride away, and finally exhale the breath you took before the approach. It all happens so quickly that it’s quite difficult to be in the moment. But that scenario somehow gets rewritten when you are approaching a jump that’s going to send you more than twenty-plus feet into the air.
Once you leave the lip of that massive kicker, time starts to slows down as you climb through the air. All the anticipation, focus, and energy is simultaneously released. It is only then, that you know you cannot alter your trajectory or spin once in the air. So you headspace becomes clear. Whatever happens, happens. You trust your speed and preparation will land you across from that 30ft gap below, and you can just enjoy the moment when you’re holding onto your edge in the air. Even as the ground approaches closer and closer, the inevitable hard impact or clean landing, is still calming throughout. Your skis gracefully touch the snow, you absorb the impact, ride out, and you prep for the next jump down the line.
This is when it becomes hard to comprehend. Trying to explain this to anyone who’s never experienced it is difficult, but we all try anyways. The short of it goes: we fly down an icy slope at more than 35 mph, launch off a jump that stands over 10ft tall over the slope, get launched into the air to a height of a whopping +25ft, hang in the air for a few of seconds, soar over a gap over 30ft long, and land on another icy slope. Even though the risk gets compounded as any of the numbers I just wrote above get larger and larger, all boils down to the enjoyment we get from those few seconds is number one reason it keeps us coming back.
Pure, adrenaline sourced, undivided, bliss.
Of course there is still the incredible feeling of accomplishment when you land a trick, which comes with a completely different feeling of stoke. And I’m sure that also differs from person to person and trick to trick. But at the end of the day and at this level, there is something for everyone in skiing that provides this type of bliss. And I hope you all will find it one day.