Saturday, March 21, 2009

What A Day!

When I left to go skiing shortly after 10 this morning, it was nice out. Well, there were clouds and the weather reports said rain was expected in the Valley today and snow in the Sierras this afternoon, but I figured I'd be OK.

I was on my first run at noon--just as snowflakes started falling. It didn't let up much, either; in fact, as the afternoon wore on the wind and snow picked up a bit. Not so much that I couldn't enjoy skiing, but enough that the foot of snow that's expected tonight might become a reality.

I grew concerned that I-80 would require chains, so I finished my last run at 3:20 and came home. The snow had turned to light rain by 5000', and the snow level is supposed to drop to 3500' tonight.

It was a great day. I don't think I had to wait more than 2 chairs for a lift on any run.

Before taking off, I talked on the phone to a friend who is road-tripping this week. He asked if I was taking my son, and I said no--he's tried skiing, wasn't very good at, and therefore doesn't like it much. My friend said that he hated it when his dad had made him try new things, but appreciated it later on. He said you don't want to live a life where you don't try anything new.

That thought stuck with me. So on one of my rides up the mountain I looked down at the half-pipe and watched both skiers and snowboarders go through it. I determined that I should try something new, something out of my comfort zone.

As I said, I watched people negotiate the half-pipe. You know what I was thinking of? Physics! Momentum, center of mass, centripetal force, gravity. I watched and paid close attention.

Thinking logically about the physics helped suppress my emotional response (terror) as I tried it the first time. It was exhilarating, and at the end I determined it was actually fun! And yes, as I swung up the sides, I was actually thinking about where my center of mass was and when I needed to turn--didn't want to biff in the half-pipe! Just to make sure I didn't let myself off the hook for trying it only once, I did it two more times. And I spent the rest of the time skiing trying to improve my form.

It was a short day of skiing, but a very valuable one. And now the hot tub is waiting.

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