Why We Ski

D’Arcy McLeish | | Featured ArticleFeatured Article

EDITOR’S NOTE:  this article is courtesy of Last Frontier Heliskiing

By D’Arcy McLeish

The other day my son asked me about skiing. No stranger to the endeavor himself, he asked me why I like to ski. Big question. At first, I was hard pressed to answer. I spent a few moments letting my mind wander and tried to come up with an answer a six year old would understand. I went from thinking about big explanations of the mountain lifestyle and being free and a whole host of other things and finally, as his patience was wearing a little thin, I simply said, “I ski because it’s fun.”

Yep. This would be one of the reasons... Photo - Dave Silver

Yep. This would be one of the reasons…
Photo – Dave Silver

And that’s really it, isn’t it? We ski because it’s fun. Pure and simple. Like playing lego or mucking about in the woods as a child, we ski because we like it. And it’s got all the attributes of what we liked to do as kids: we get to go really fast if we want, we can feel the wind in our faces and enjoy the bliss of leaving everything behind and we can push things just enough to feel like we should be in trouble.

I remember a short ski film I saw years ago and while my memory is a tad foggy on exactly what was said, one of the athletes, a renown extreme skier of the time, described ‘extreme’ skiing as something anyone could do, just as long as you were pushing yourself a little. Whether it was skiing a black run for the first time or dropping into some unnamed couloir in the backcountry or even just strapping on skis as a novice, all of those things qualify as your personal ‘extreme’ skiing experience. To me, that illustrates the great love I have for skiing. It’s easy to push your comfort zone a little and have fun doing it.

Ok, Last Frontier maybe has a few EXTRA reasons to get out there... Photo - Randy Lincks

Ok, Last Frontier maybe has a few EXTRA reasons to get out there…
Photo – Randy Lincks

Skiing has never been something I’ve wanted to conquer. Unlike climbing or surfing or riding bikes, skiing has always been something I just do. Like walking or breathing, it’s been a part of my life for as long as I can remember and because of that, it’s always been a place where going a little faster or going a little steeper has been a pursuit of joy instead of a pursuit of mastery. I see that everywhere. From eastern folks skiing pow for the first time or older skiers enjoying spring groomers and on hill picnics, skiing offers all of us the chance to get away from our lives and enjoy a freedom from stress seldom found in anything else. How could you ever be cranky when you’re on your skis?

This will always be pretty much more fun than anything... Photo - Dave Silver

This will always be pretty much more fun than anything…
Photo – Dave Silver

I love every aspect of skiing. Cold days and warm days., stormy days in the trees, to sunny days on bullet proof groomers; all of them offer something I just don’t get anywhere else in my life. And for those of us that get to ski pow on those epic, deep days, well that’s just an added bonus that only fuels our addiction to something wonderful and exciting all at once.

This winter, when you’re out there getting your fill, take a moment to think about what’s around you and why strapping two bits of wood to your feet is fun. Think about the fact that when we ski, everything else in life seems to just wander away and all that’s left is having fun. In a world so often defined by suffering, those of us that get to ski are truly the lucky ones.

Be safe, ski hard.

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