Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Balance in Skiing (and in life)

I teach three-year-olds how to ski and it took about a day to discover the most important element of their being able to ski is balance. If they can balance, they can learn how to stop, to turn, and to control. I wondered how this translated into adults and after one clinic I discovered and it's the same concept: balance is the foundation to all other skills.

It turns out I've been skiing off balance for a long time, which has hindered my ability to improve. In skiing, proper balance is achieved when you are centered over your feet without leaning too much to any direction. Though there are times when your balance might shift for a short period to compensate for conditions. This observation gave me the opportunity to wonder if I'm in balance in other aspects of my life.

A perfect balance in life means the same thing as it does in skiing. I tend to live my life like I ski: in the backseat. I lean back and don't commit myself fully to the upcoming turns and ups and downs. While it feels safer, it keeps me from fully experiencing and accomplishing and I prevented from doing anything with real skill.

Other people lean too far forward and find themselves tumbling at a too fast speed or an unexpected bump. Others lean from one side to the other, letting their skis ski them instead of their being in control.

What kind of skier do you think you are?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Parable of the Helmet

A few years ago I bought a ski helmet. It came with padding that covered my ears. But by the next season, one piece of padding kept slipping out. I'd keep stuffing it back in but within an hour it would work its way back. My left ear was constantly cold and sore.

I planned all sorts of ways to fix it from superglue to just buying a new helmet but by the time I'd get home at night I would forget about it. Each time I skied on a cold day I would cuss the thing. This Monday I put new goggles on my helmet and I figured while I had a few seconds I'd take a closer look while it wasn't on my head.

Turns out the piece of padding had snaps and I just needed to snap it back in place. Two years, I've been skiing cold and it only took ten seconds of thinking hard to fix it. Makes me wonder what other stuff in my life I've been ignoring that is also an easy fix.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Learning to Ski

Have you ever wanted to learn to ski? January is the national learn to ski and snowboard month and there's never been a better time.

I am a huge proponent of skiing. It's fun, challenging, and a great workout. If you have to live some place with long winters, having an outdoor sport that utilizes the snow keeps the insanity at bay.

To make the leap from watching the Olympics on TV to bombing the slopes, there's a few things you need.

  1. Take a professional lesson. I've spoken to a lot of girls who say they hate skiing. When I ask if they've ever done it. They tell me their boyfriend took them once and ditched them. DO NOT go skiing with someone whose idea of teaching you is to take you to top of the mountain and then leave you. That's not skiing and, of course, you will hate it.
  2. Make sure you have the proper gear (not necessarily the most expensive). If you get cold and wet, you're going to be miserable and the day is done. Borrow it if you have to but you need decent snow pants, coat, hat, and gloves.
  3. Along with the clothes, you can rent the proper ski equipment at any ski store or at the resorts. Make sure they measure your feet and the skis should come to about your chin. You won't need the most expensive set up for your first day. In fact, you don't want the higher end packages because they're usually for a more advanced skier.
  4. Accept that you're going to look silly your first day. Every skier remembers what it's like to be in your shoes and we're a supportive bunch.
If cost is a consideration, there are a lot of deals (especially right now) to help you get out there. Check out for some amazing deals. You can get ski lessons, rentals, and day passes for super cheap.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Keeping Your New Year's Resolution

Procrastination, my favorite nemesis, is the reason so much of what I start is unfinished. (Distraction also takes some blame but that's another post.) To combat this last year, I set life goals, long term goals, and short term goals.

I wrote these goals in a book and then did nothing with them. After a few weeks of failed effort, I set weekly goals, written in a book that I carried with me. I could pull it out each day and check my progress. This worked for a few months but then a small book in a purse could be easily ignored.

Now each Sunday I write my goals for the week in black magic marker on a piece of paper that gets taped to my bathroom mirror. I am forced to face my successes or failures on a daily basis.

Some of my goals are part of larger goals and some are quick and easy things that I usually procrastinate (like call the dentist to make an appointment). Each week I get the joy of crossing things off my list and feeling accomplished. Some weeks the list is long, some the list is simply "Survive" (that was last's week).

Below is a list of big things I accomplished last year.

  • Have my first book be accepted for publication.
  • Compete in my first olympic triathlon without dying.
  • Become a ski instructor.
  • Ski black diamond powder.
  • Start a freelance business.
  • Slalom water ski.
What's on your list for 2012?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I've Never Laughed so Hard at Church

We finished the Sacrament when the first speaker took to the podium. He was only a few minutes into his talk when the fire alarm jolted all of us from either our spiritual awakenings or sleeping. After a glance around to see what everyone else was doing, I filed out with the others to the parking lot.

The consensus was that some child in the other ward must have pulled it and was quite pleased with himself. After all the fire alarms say "Pull Me." We figured his parents would be in the first car out of the parking lot. Since our ward still had two and half hours to go we remained while the other ward went home.

The alarm warranted one fire truck, one ambulance, and several firefighters loaded for bear. After about fifteen minutes we were allowed back in. The bishop explained that the alarm had been triggered in the ceiling probably due to a malfunction.

The brother giving the talk before we left, took to the podium to finish. He was barely two sentences in when the alarm went off again complete with flashing lights. He stood for a moment before it was turned off.

Beginning again he said, "As I was saying..." Bam the alarm went off again. This time he sat down and we begin to wonder if this was the Lord's way of keeping him from declaring false doctrine. After a few minutes he tried again, "As I was saying..." Bam the alarm stopped him. This time a member of the bishropric stood up, handed this man his notes and scriptures, and had him sit down.

No further attempt was made. The bishop excused us to go home since the alarm refused to be silent. We will never know what that brother was to declare.