A Different Look
The 2014 / 2015 season was one of the best I've ever experienced. It started in August in Chile and never let up until late April when I put the skis away even though there was still great snow in the mountains close by. I needed a break. To focus exclusively on skiing, and to live in winter all year round, just isn't human. I needed to feel like a normal human for a bit.
The summer has been perfect. By the time I return to Chile I will have had three-months out of my ski boots. I don't remember the last time I had three-months out of my boots – probably late summer of 2003. It's been warm and dry here in Colorado, but not too hot, so I think I have finally thawed out completely. I have also had time to address some of the other interests in my life, most notably building some sort of home and spending time on my bicycles.
My life is filled with privileges. I don't ever forget this. But one price of this lifestyle is the lack of a stable home. I mostly live out my bags. A storage unit and a PO box is a commonly used system for me. I would like this to change someday. I thought I had a special opportunity to build a house in Nederland – a place that is "home" to me for many reasons – but that fell through this June. So now I am back to square one. And that's okay.
Living simply is paramount to me. One of my unchanging goals in life is to have less as time passes – not more. I constantly try to reduce the amount of stuff in my life to only what is useful and beautiful. I want my home to reflect this ethic. Building in the U.S., with all the regulations, home owners associations and social norms means building simple, small, self-reliant houses is near impossible, and if legal, it is ironically very expensive. Going back to the drawing board means I will have the opportunity to create something the way I envision it. More than anything I want it to be a model for the community around me. Someday my skiing ability will fade. The lessons learned can stay forever – if I choose.
Life on the road means a lot of time in the car or on airplanes. Neither of these is particularly pleasant (although the destination usually is) and both have a significant impact on the environment, which is something that bothers me. Summer allows me to spend more time on my bicycle. Again, it is amazes me how simple is the answer so often.
Presently my only functional bike is carbon, full-suspension mountain bike. It is an incredible machine. It is also so effing fragile. It also allows for some incredible moments on the trail – especially on the descent. It sucks up all the bumps and makes it so easy to hit amazing speeds. It's so much fun – until I make a mistake, and then it is not. More than one ride has ended in broken bike parts or banged up body parts.
On the flip side, I own a 1991 Bridgestone RB-1 that I got in 1992. At the moment I am in the process of restoring it, and although it will eventually just be a commuter bike, I look forward to the day when riding a bike doesn't come with potentially expensive risks. Simplicity.
Independent Descents is a website dedicated to human-powered skiing and it will stay that way. Human-powered skiing means learning a lot about how we move through the mountains, fuel ourselves and shelter ourselves from the elements. Simplifying has tremendous advantages. Personally, I do everything I can to apply these concepts to other areas of my life – even if there are only brief windows of opportunity to do so. I will not always be a great skier. I hope I someday I can be a great human.