Ski Season is Over | Thoughts on the End of Winter…

D’Arcy McLeish |
Dreams.  photo:  Patrick Fux/Powdermaina
Dreams. photo: Patrick Fux/

Ski season is over. Every year those words go through my mind and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful they feel. No more snow. The question that pops into my mind is what the hell am I supposed to do now? Don’t get me wrong; I love summer as much as the next person, but skiing is my addiction. It’s the only thing I have never had to pursue or get good at. It’s just always been there. Every year, after the laps in the corn and the long spring ski tours, we all have to say goodbye to our passion.

Huh?  photo: Patrick Fux/
Huh? photo: Patrick Fux/

But do we? For some skiers, and I was one of these, the southern hemisphere calls us for their winter. The Alps of the South Island, the Andes and even the little hills of Oz are out there, most of them empty of crowds, some of them heaven on earth for any skier. For a few years, I did venture to the Southern Alps. I had three years of 200 to 250 day seasons, where I knew only winter and snippets of spring and fall. Summer was non-existent and my ski boots were both the bane of my existence and the love of my life. And I loved it. Shredding pow in August and September, especially as a northerner, always felt a little illegal. Dirty, even and I loved every minute of it. At first, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. To be able to ski year round? Absolutely!

Good.  photo:  Patrick Fux/
Good. photo: Patrick Fux/

But after 6 straight winters, I started to see the flaw in my plans. Not only that, but that place of enlightenment that comes so easily skiing deep snow started to become harder and harder to get to. At one point, I found myself actually complaining on a powder day. I remember it vividly, there was about 8 inches of fresh and I was in the Craigieburns in New Zealand. Touring up a ridge, breaking trail, I started to not want to be there. When we dropped in I found myself thinking and not feeling. I found myself going over bills and job shit and what new shiny thing I wanted to buy. When we got back to the truck that day, I didn’t feel content, I felt anxious. I realized, driving away, that chasing the snow, while great during the winter months, was somehow wrong in the summer and that my days of back to back winters were over.

Snow in the face.  photo:  Patrick Fux/
Snow in the face. photo: Patrick Fux/

The seasons are there for a reason. During the winter here in the Coast Mountains, I sometimes find myself longing for my bike, and where I live, the North Shore of Vancouver and even Squamish sometimes has riding year round. But I have never gone down to the shore during the winter. Why is that? ‘Cause some things are better left undisturbed. What I like most about riding bikes is the anticipation of riding on two wheels after 6 months off. For some reason I missed that point with skiing. My passion and that crack addict need for deep snow took over. But with that, I lost something.

Bikes are fun.  photo:  eric bryant
Bikes are fun. photo: eric bryant

Abstinence…and taking six months out of my ski boots, not only make my feet grateful, but allow me a little perspective on why it is I love the things I do. Skiing year round made we want to pursue it and get better at it and it became something to be conquered, not something to be enjoyed. That is not why I ski. I ski because it’s what I am. I never became a skier, I have just always been one. Doing it only half the year keeps me grateful for that.

muffled.  photo:  Patrick Fux/
muffled. photo: Patrick Fux/

So enjoy your summer. Go out and ride bikes, or waves, or jam your hands into splitter cracks and hang your ass out on the ragged edge. Enjoy your flip flops and your motorcycles and your lazy days at the cottage. Enjoy the fact that nothing is taking over your life and you have a grace period of six months where you are free to choose your own adventure. Because come the first snowfall, all bets will be off and the obsession will begin again.

Be safe, ski hard.

Ahhhh.  photo:  miles clark
Ahhhh, no ski boots… photo: miles clark

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3 thoughts on “Ski Season is Over | Thoughts on the End of Winter…

    1. It depends on the person. Not everyone is cut out to work on skis and ski their days off. Some people can’t handle skiing 50 days without burnout.

      I myself love working on my skis and skiing my days off, not doing laundry because I’d rather ski and come home too tired to do it. Do I love summer? Yes. Am I already dreaming of skiing powder before the sun even comes up and getting paid for it? Hell yeah!

  1. It’s a tough call. Milk your favorite sport until it hurts but get way better in the process. or diversify, surf, mountain bike, and climb in the off season and become a jack of all trades? Neither option is bad.

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