I’m not a very adventurous skier. I learned to ski about 5 years ago, and maybe that’s why. I was already a seasoned worrier. I tore my ACL trying to get off of a lift about a year after that. So to say that I’m a cautious skier is an understatement. That’s why, during my latest trip to Park City, Utah, I was excited about the thought of skiing, but froze up when I actually got to the mountain, gear on and poles in hand.
My most recent ski trip was to Park City, Utah, a week and a half ago. I went up to the easiest green they have, Home Run. I ski down slowly. So slowly that, while I should be easily skiing downhill, I’m snowplowing my way perpendicular to the slope. As more experienced skiers and snowboarders whiz by me, I continue zigzagging my way down the mountain, right to left and back again. I’m 100% unapologetic about being overly cautious. It’s a slope, then a catwalk, then slope again—all the way to the bottom. I only let my guard down once the safety of a flat surface is near.
On the way down, I fall often. Falling is easy for me. If I feel I’m going to fast, I can just fall. The trick is getting back up. Getting back up from a fall is hard. Lucky for me, my life partner, Chad, is always there to cheer me on, and pick me back up. He helps me get back on my feet again. And I finish the run. I get down that mountain—however long it might take, which is approximately 30 minutes.
Once at the base, it’s a celebration. The feeling in my hands come back as I loosen the grip on my poles and my breathing slows to normal. I made it. I allow myself a cold beer and an unhealthy appetizer at the nearest bar, about 20 ski-boot steps away. I sit there, ruminating on my accomplishments and challenges on the run. I finish up, head out, poles in hand and skis back on. I head to the lift, and do it all over again.
I go slow, I’m cautious, and I fall. But I get back up again. I get back on my skis and try again. And when I finally get down that mountain, I look up and think—that wasn’t so bad! It was actually kind of fun.
It’s a metaphor for my life. I ski how I live. I’m overly cautious. I hardly take risks because I’ve already thought of the myriad ways in which everything can go wrong. But taking risks is good. It allows you to fall. And sometimes falling isn’t so bad. Sometimes falling is healthy. You can always get up and try again. And it’s ok to trust other people to help you. They want you to succeed as much as you want to succeed. And when you reach the base of the mountain—when you reach success in taking that risk—there’s a feeling of accomplishment, of intense satisfaction, of trudging through the scariness and uncertainty and unknown, to finally seeing the beauty of going through that experience. You get to the bottom of the mountain—safe and sound and happy about how you got there. And then you tell yourself, let’s do it again!
So go, do, risk, fall. Get your butt back up again, and do it all over. Success is always waiting for you; you just have to go for it.