Lessons from the Slopes


Ashley Danyew | Ski Day I checked off one of my March goals last week - we went skiing! And can I just say, it felt so good to spend the day outside after a long, very cold winter. Mind you, it was still in the 40s, but with the sun shining, we got a glimpse of the warmer days ahead. I felt more refreshed just breathing in that cool mountain air.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

Every time I ski, I discover a few more "life lessons". I hope these are as enlightening to you as they were for me:

1. The conditions are always changing. In this spring weather, you may find groomed snow, slick icy patches, and soft snow that grab your skis - all on the same trail. The conditions are always changing, so be prepared, responsive, and flexible.

2. You can't follow in someone else's tracks; you have to make your own. The trails show traces of those who have traveled this way before but it's impossible to make it down the mountain using the same set of tracks. Make your own decisions, use your own creativity, and make your own way.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

3. It's okay to fall. It's how you get back up that matters.

4. Face your fears; take the leap. You may not be able to see the end of the path, but that shouldn't keep you from exploring it. Face your fears; take a risk; try.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

5. Sometimes it's good to be still. SD and I had some great conversations on this chair lift - the real, honest kind of conversations that I'd been missing in the midst of a few chaotic months. My heart needed this time to be free, to be brought to a place of humility and honesty, and to find peace.

Ashley Danyew | Ski Day

5. It's better with people. It's true in skiing and it's true in life. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and challenge you to be better.

6. Enjoy the ride. Sure, there's risk involved and it might be a lot of work sometimes; but enjoy the ride. The joy is in the journey.

Read more: Snow Day

Snow Day

"I want a snowfall kind of love
The kind of love that quiets the world
I want a snowfall kind of love
'Cause I'm a snowfall kind of girl."

-Ingrid Michaelson

It's the first snow day of the season and I am a happily-snowed-in girl at the moment. This is the perfect weather for writing and a good playlist. See what I'm listening to at the moment.

We have at least 18" on the ground now with more coming down each hour. Of course, snow bunny that I am, Steve and I were up and dressed by 8 a.m. We successfully dug the car out of the parking lot and made it up the mountain. Lifts were running when we pulled up at 8:20 a.m. or so and we eagerly changed into our boots, starting our first run by 8:35 a.m. Conditions were great and with the amount of snow still coming down, it was almost like cutting new tracks for the first few runs.

Today, I learned how to ski in heavy powder (the hard way). I confidently hopped off the lift on the third or fourth run and headed towards the black diamond straight from the top of the mountain. About halfway down, I hit a pile of powder and my skis just stopped. I, of course, tumbled at this point. Two more times on the same run, I found myself flat (think belly flop) with my skis bent over my head (case in point why I wear a helmet!) 

What is wrong with me today? I haven't fallen in over a year! 

My confidence was shattered and I began skiing with fear (i.e. not fully shifting weight, skis crossing, losing balance). We finally made it to the bottom.

On the lift again, I heard Steve say the words I was dreading, "I think we'll take that trail again." Obviously, I am not comfortable skiing in heavy powder yet, let alone on a black diamond - what are you doing to me! By the time we got to the top, I had given myself enough of a pep talk to at least start down the trail. What a striking similarity to performance:

I've performed this piece before and did everything right - no memory slips, complete control, focus, artistry. Suddenly, a new environment and the whole thing falls apart. Memory slip. Finger slip. Tempo beyond control. Fear.

Well, friends, I hate to admit it, but I fell on the second time down that trail, too. And the third. But with each frustrating misstep and moment of unbalance, I felt more focused and more determined to learn from my mistakes. With each uninspiring turn, what can I improve? How can I change my approach the next time? By the end of the morning, despite falls and fear, I felt a new sense of mastery. Today, I learned to hunker down and not let the heavy stuff hold me back.

Happy snow day, y'all!