I have never practiced a religion but I believe there is commonality with a particular feeling that people have when going to church that can be found in other parts of life. Everyone seeks to be a part of something bigger than themselves. The holy feeling of ecstacy and self-transcendence I imagine one might feel when connected to their god, is how I feel when the mountain and I both shadow the sun’s light onto the same path. When I am up there, I am liberated from my deepest stresses. Every racing thought escapes me the moment I click into my skis.
Colorado is like the pilgrimage to Mecca for a skier. Growing up in New England, shredding down narrow trails of ice patches hidden by a light dusting of powder, means you can ski on just about anything. All of the years of listening for Tim Kelley to announce another bomb cyclone storm is traded in for that righteous champagne powder. You’ll spot a New Englander in the Denver Airport with their triple hand-me-down skis wrapped up in a blanket held together with rubber bands and ropes. By any means necessary to make it out West to ski, that’s our style.
While there were many times I wanted to share with the rest of the world my location and the revelation that I am a true skier who has made it to Colorado, I kept it to myself. Instead, I let the conversations exchanged on shuttle rides to mountains with old timers and spring breakers satisfy my need of self-actualization usually obtained through comments and likes on photos. This trip without social media felt so healthy. The Instagram and Snapchat “stories” I never shared remain intimate memories with the people whom I experienced them with, to be told to those who care to ask and listen.
On a train ride my friend read me a sign we passed that said, “Almost anything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Being unplugged has brought me closer to the things I did not know I could love even more.