Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Black Diamonds

Last year we committed to skiing more and improving. Lake Louise was our most frequented hill so when we hit Fernie for the first time we couldn’t believe all the powder.

If you ski you know skiing powder (the billowy, fluffy stuff that is nice and soft…and really hard to get out of if it’s shoulder deep, especially if you’ve got skis strapped to your feet!) is a lot different than no powder. Feeling more like beginners, we still attempted a couple of black diamonds. I say we, it was Dave who was the adventurous one detouring to the harder runs. Being more tentative than him, I didn’t follow at the start. After he came out alive, I gave them a shot. He introduced me to ‘China Wall’, ‘Tom’s Run’ and ‘KC Chutes’ black and double black diamonds, choke!

This year Panorama was our first ski adventure. Instead of being shoulder deep in powder, we were dodging rocks and faced with more moguls (like the icing on a Sara Lee cake, those bumps that professional skiers effortlessly carve around) than you could imagine. I’d never seen such huge moguls in my life, some 5 feet high and others had such deep grooves around them you had to either carve and turn fast or end up speeding uncontrollably through a grove and over a bump, possibly teetering on the top or sliding back onto rocks and ice or wiping out, over and over and over again. My skis came back with gaping wounds as big as the gullies between those moguls. Dave again was the adventurous one who led me astray, I’d follow figuring I could always slide down the hill and try to side step anything that looked too nutty.

This weekend Fernie. We had a good foot or so of fresh snow, ran a couple of easier runs to start off first thing in the morning but I didn’t feel so comfortable. Then something happened, maybe I woke up (that doesn’t usually happen ‘til about noon). What better way to challenge, build confidence and believe in yourself than to be absolutely humbled by nature. I was outside with Dave, it was warm, great snow conditions and I was physically active, all things I love. I focused on what I was doing, hit some hard runs and laughed as I fell, skidded, and crashed my way down the mountain, smiling the whole way.

Later that day I decided to attack the hill, the more apprehensive approach wasn’t working so well. My confidence grew (my downhill mantras ~ ‘attack the hill’ ‘keep your skis together’ especially when we traversed skinny little turkey trails in the expert and advanced areas). My attitude shifted, frustration and disappointment to enjoyment and acceptance. The second day brought great sunshine and warm weather, I haven’t fallen that much in such a short time.

Failing forward, you do learn the most from failures, but does it carry over to other aspects of life? I’d like to think so but I’m not so sure it always does. I’m a big believer in experiential learning still there are real challenges with transference from one situation to another. It’s kind of like history repeating itself, we pick out elements as to how it’s different this time, is it really different? I’m not convinced that it is.

To connect and transfer learning a conscious effort and an honest evaluation keeping the big picture in mind could work. Shooting for double blacks intentionally challenges both physical and mental capacity. On the other hand aiming to create deeper, more soulful connections that are meaningful, challenge more than the physical and mental. It’s beyond our tangible reality and moves into the realm of what we cannot touch, write or think. The intangible essence, energy or whatever you want to call it appears to be where we need to move to deepen our connectedness.

So are soulful connections any different than double blacks? Are the differences excuses not to transfer learnings to a more complex situation? What can be transferred from double black learnings to soulful connections, beyond talking?

Ski run ratings:
Green Circle - Easiest Runs
Blue Square - Intermediate
Black Diamond - Advanced
Double Black Diamond – Expert

Shooting for Double Blacks!

No comments: