I sometimes wonder why I do the things I do. There are many answers. Some more compelling than others. But underlying all those answers is that pursuit of the thrilling, the exciting, that adrenaline induced ecstasy that manifests itself, appropriately, with a long, primal whoohoooooooo!
Some days any motivation to be lean and fast is trumped by the chase of those butterfly moments, whether they come on singletrack or in deep Wasatch powder seems irrelavant to the fact that those moments are out there, and perhaps more than anything else motivate our efforts. Becoming fit is just a nice side effect.
When I dropped into one of the Meadow Chutes on Tuesday morning I was nervous. And excited. We had just finished a healthy skin up through beautiful aspen trees. I was tired, and the wind was blowing on the ridge. The transition from hiking to skiing was cold. I pointed my skis downhill, Dug and Rob had already disappeared into the white, their turns cutting through the thick, soft snow.
I lunged forward, not sure what the result would be. It had been years since I skied the type of powder I was now floating through. Floating. Floating? Yes! I made a few turns, the powder plowing through the air, covering my face. Yes! I would have grinned, but the snow would have filled my mouth.
I had heard how incredible deep powder can be to ski. How euphoric, even orgasmic it can feel. It had been too long for me to remember that sensation, that thrill.
As I started climbing back up the hill, another skier took the shot through the meadow. His hollers echoed off the trees. I caught a glimpse of him as he swept through the snow and trees.
The thrill of those first backcountry turns was offset by the searing pain of new boots. My feet turned to stumps, and I literally limped off the mountain. There was another shot of powder, but the pain made that hard to enjoy. When I fell over and half buried myself, I needed Mark to help me out. I felt a little embarrassed, a little angry. Mark was cool, and stayed with me as I hobbled down the skin track and back to the parking lot.
As my feet returned to normal, and I started to digest the day, I realized that it was only a taste of what is out there during the winter. And for the first time in my life I actually hoped winter would linger, overstay its welcome, stick around for a little longer.
But then, I also realized that the same (but different) thrill ride that that powder induced was also waiting once again to be sought after during the longer, warmer days of a Wasatch summer.
Only this time on single track.