Whenever I hear or see the word “hope”, I mentally preface it with the word “false”. Just like whenever I hear the word “believe” I mentally preface it with the word “make”. These two words are generally useless and occasionally dangerous.
Hope could be defined as the emotional state of desiring a positive or beneficial future (at least for the person doing the hoping — one person’s hope could be another person’s despair). It could also be defined as wishful thinking. Hope unfulfilled can become false hope which causes negative mental and emotional states.
You try despite risk of failure; hope doesn’t effect the outcome (unless hope substitutes for action in which the outcome is forfeit). You might ask why would you take action towards something you were not hopeful of achieving? My response would be why does it matter? Hope is a useless state at best and a damaging state at worst.
Exploration and novel experiences are critical aspects of the TSW philosophy. We all have untapped passions removed from our grasp only by lack of experience. Imagine a current passion removed from your life if you hadn’t had that first engaging experience. And now imagine what other potential passion is currently untapped. For shame. You can’t imagine it because you haven’t yet experienced it.
Even within our existing passions we often leave potential doors shut through intentional avoidance or passive omission. So I am proposing TheSnowWay.com Challenge: ski three “new to you” ski areas this coming season. A bucket full of bonus points if you make personal sacrifices or travel great distances to make it happen. Still more bonus points if you can link them all into one epic trip. Ultimate bonus points if you grab a friend and double the novelty through shared experience.
Being a fan of “lesser known areas that rock”, I am going to propose a few such lists. Magic, Burke, and Saddleback combine to form a triangle of the best lesser known ski areas in their respective states. I’ve also combined what I consider to be the three best lesser known areas by state for Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Or make up your own list. Go nuts. Go for five new areas. Go for one. Just go for something novel. Your favorite area might just be one that you have never skied.
- Magic, Burke, & Saddleback for NNE
- Ragged, Balsams, & Black for NH
- Magic, Burke, & Middlebury for VT
- Black, Abram, & Saddleback for ME
- Make up your own challenge list
My list? Sutton, Orford, and Owl’s Head: an Eastern Township Trifecta. One long weekend, three new areas. Not necessarily in the “lesser known areas that rock” category for Quebec but certainly in that category for those of us stateside.
So get out there and try something new. Experience something different and foreign. Put yourself into an uncomfortable and vulnerable state. Open yourself to the novel and push your boundaries. Be it skiing or otherwise. Especially otherwise. But start with skiing if nothing else. Nothing is worse than stagnation.
Recent posts on TheSnowWay.com have been developing a motif. That our limited existence is best utilized in an active rather than a passive role. Far too many people passively wish away their lives. Vicariously living through someone else’s reality via their television screens. There is always an excuse defensively proposed as a reason.
It does not matter what we go after as long as something ignites our passion. Everyday we are given the option of choosing how we want to self define. It can be an active or passive process. Our first choice (and some people’s only choice) is that decision: active or passive. Sometimes chosen by lack of having chosen, a choice all the same.
Sounds strange coming from someone that has accepted Determinism as fact and whose life is guided by Haphazard Circumstance. Haphazard Circumstance merely fills in the details. The path is set by intention. And determined or not, I still choose regardless of whether that choice is determined or not. Perhaps I am determined not to idly imagine a life that could have been had I only tried.
Actively choosing to choose is the most important thing we can do in our lives. We choose when to ski and when not to (and often when not to by default, by not choosing to choose). We choose where to ski. Whether we will sacrifice to ski and how much (or not at all, actively or passively). Whether to relocate due to skiing or not. There is no right choice, but active choosing is always right and should always be followed with no regrets.
This web site started out as nothing more than a collection of trip reports. My ego page began primarily to catalog skiing experiences for personal reference. A secondary goal was that by sharing my own reports, I might then learn about conditions from the reports of others. As the internet began to expand and develop, a growing community of skiers would hopefully share this vision of reporting actual conditions online instead of relying upon ski area reports.
But that was not enough. I desired professionalism and a slick web site with extensive cataloging and tagging to better sort and search through my reports for reference. Simply reporting on my skiing experiences was not enough. My investment into the activity had grown. Skiing had become an essential aspect of my life. A life that took a hard right when I decided skiing was more important than anything else. It became a way in life.
TheSnowWay.com was born. Combining the non-religious philosophical learnings of Taoism with the stuff that makes skiing possible, the naming was deeply personal rather than analytically based on maximizing Google search result positioning or attracting new readers. The tag line was a dare, an invitation, a challenge. A statement of consequence, preference, and personal significance. And sometimes… a reminder. What is your way in life?
Skiing was no longer just about the turns. It was fully integrated into the fabric of my being. But posts on this web site continued to be mostly trip reports about conditions. Descriptive words and pretty pictures. And just like most trip reports, lacking in deeper personal meaning. Occasionally a particular day struck a chord and stream of consciousness took over the writing effort with illusions to something profound and personal. But generally the reports have been a steady blow-by-blow detailing read-between-the-lines powder quests.
Recent posts might suggest a certain change in tone or direction. That this site is becoming less trip report and more weblog. That I will be inserting myself more fully and sharing my view on the world in a take it or leave it fashion. This will be less about the trip report and more about what I personally found valuable about the outing. What inspires me. How I see the world and how I prefer to live my life.
This site is about my way in life. I hope you continue to find it valuable for the trip reports and pretty pictures. Perhaps you might also find it valuable for other reasons as well. I hope the reading is less passive and more engaging. Less static information, more dynamic reflection. Less about what happened, more about why it is important.
The title for this post has been sitting in my draft queue for over a year and a half. Yesterday’s post regarding Sacrifices is a great segue into this post regarding what others might label “luck”. As in, “you are so lucky to score that powder day!” or “you are so lucky to be able to dawn patrol!” or “you are so lucky to live so close!”.
The string of words “you are so lucky…” makes me cringe. Putting aside my deterministic opinions, suggesting that my being in the right place at the right time for the right event is somehow “lucky” fails to place proper consideration on the planning and mindfulness to position myself accordingly. Luck fails to consider the sacrifices and strategy involved with being in the right place at the right time for the right event. It also fails to consider that I get skunked sometimes, too. But that is not being unlucky. That is just the nature of the beast.
It is wonderfully and absurdly ironic to see the world from a deterministic perspective yet still approach life from a focused and mindful perspective of illusionary conscious decision making. It is not destiny, it is not pre-determined, and it is not luck. I put myself at the top of an untracked run on a mid-week powder vacation day through a lifetime of decisions that could not have unfolded any other way.
And on the other so called “unlucky” days, I get skunked. And sometime during the last few years, I forgot to appreciate that as well.
In either case, Amor fati. A fitting motto for this season especially. And of course, life in general. And you can keep your luck.