Skiing is a particularly challenging sport. It requires a tremendous amount of additional effort - effort beyond the actual skiing - to accomplish. It requires heavy gear, tethering one’s self with weighty boots to skis, wearing multiple layers which do nothing if it’s too hot or too cold, and hauling oneself and one’s equipment to where one wants to go. You really have to want to ski to ski.
But therein lies the beauty. If one learns early enough or is open-minded enough, the payoff of skiing is well worth the colossal effort. It may just be in one run, in one moment, carving out one’s terrain on one’s terms, feeling in peak form. It can be that momentary glimpse of heaven, sailing down with weightless buoyancy on a cloudbed of powder and thinking – if but for a fleeting instant - wow, is this phenomenal!
It’s these instances we live for. The metaphor of skiing is clear. The greater the effort, the greater the persistence and sticking it out past perceptions of discomfort, disgruntlement, imperfection, weariness, tough elements, and demanding terrain, the bigger the transcendent pay off when it arrives – and it will. This is perhaps why it’s easier to teach young kids skiing than adults - not just the physicality of the sport, learned implicitly when younger, but the attitude. Skiing, like any challenge, requires a childlike suspension of critical fear in favor of curiosity.
As we get older we get more complacent, more critical of effort, more critical of challenge. We are reluctant to learn new things, to put ourselves in a position of fresh-slate, unencumbered kids. We become better at finding issues with our challenges than understanding why they are worth our time. Ultimately, it is essential that we continue to remind ourselves that effort pays off. Ask anyone who really loves skiing.