Spring Brings Reflection and Transition

Another wild and crazy winter has come to a close. I am tired. I am weary. I am ready for spring. Somehow I ended up on the road again this winter just as much as ever, if not more. I was trying to spend more time in Utah, but another tough winter in the Wasatch forced me out on move again. Regardless, I am exhausted. My year-round body/mind management puts me into the phase in which I simply take a few months to heal and reflect. That means a lot of casual mountain biking, mellow hiking with my wife and dog, healing, and this spring more then ever includes some real reflecting. I did well to avoid injury this winter, and I have begun to scale back my risky behavior for a variety of reasons. Obviously my risk tolerance will still exceed most folks definition of taking it easy, but for me this spring's reflections are an exercise in will power, discipline, and wisdom. I have a lot of additions coming to my life that I have been getting ready for with careful preparation and transition.  

If you can't tell in the photo above, my wife, Christine, is pregnant with a son. Hence one of the major reasons to dial back my risky behavior from the absolute edge of insanity to somewhere back there near maybe just a little bit nuts. I have realized that my basic nature lies beyond the grasp and perhaps social acceptance line, but my wife, family, and friends seem to understand me and are acknowledging my transition. It is hard for me because the majority of the public still thinks I am off my rocker. However, I value my wild and adventurous nature as a quality I would like to pass on to our son. I learned lessons from tragic deaths in my youth that I have vowed to never forget. I have tatooed these lessons to myself to make sure that the one life I have to live is done so with so much fervor, richness, adventure and appreciation.

^My little family embraces the natural world and we try to enjoy our lives outside as much as we can. Often that involves a little more risk then a lot of people choose to take on. I believe in the risk reward function, and I have made a career of managing risk in the mountains. It is always a balance, and with age, and now a son coming into my young family, the weights on the scales begin to take on new measures. I have to become much more diligent, careful, and even adjust a certain fundamental part of my mindset. 

^Feet in a creek with my dog Murphy helps me put the priorities of my transitioning life into the proper places. I was fortunate to have made a plan with my wife to get ready for the coming of a child into our lives, which has afforded me a whole year to start evolving my skills to be able to build on my career in the mountains. My move to skiing for the Telemark Skier Magazine team the last few winters has given me the chance to learn new skills. I have pitched advertising spaces, organized and orchestrated content creation trips all over the world, and also begun to learn to write articles and take photographs. I am so thankful to Josh Madsen, Tony Gill, Cody Smith, and Kjell Ellefson from the magazine for helping learn and develop. I am excited to forge ahead as a well rounded member of the team. 

^Stopping to smell the flowers this time of year is more poignant to me then ever now. As I look towards of future devoid of 110 foot lawn dart front flips the nostalgia has a way of setting in. I am fortunate to have been able to experience things that very few will ever enjoy. The sensation of diving into a lawn dart front flip for over a hundred feet of air time into a pillow of powder is rather fleeting, rare, and precious. I am super thankful to have lived in that kind of moment. I have talked with confidants a lot lately about how it is to be making this transition. For a long time my entire life's focus was on living in the moments of instinctual action, and honing my skills in the most dangerous of situations. Now I am transitioning the skills and wisdom I have gained in a risky pro skiing career into one of a more long-term and mindful direction. While I wish to teach my son a legacy of adventure and zest in the natural settings of this world, I must be alive to do so. I have learned the fragility of the human existence rather intimately. I have vowed not to hide from it because I have learned all too much that I could be snuffed out on my commute to work with greater probability. However, there is a self-acknowledged bit of recklessness to my nature that I am learning manage with better effectiveness. 

^Like Murphy scouts our pathway, I have been doing the same. With an eye to the future that includes a young son that will need me around I have been diving head first into writing for Telemark Skier Magazine as well as taking on more roles in the operations there. I have enjoyed guiding trips for projects this winter to create content. I have been working with my friends in the Vertical Integration Group to include more of the adventures they find themselves in all year-round. We all came together as a result of our work in the Freeheel world, but we also tend to get out with a lot of different kinds of people in a lot of different places. We are finding that adventure is everywhere. I suppose my own situation is no different. Christine and I are surely embarking on a whole new kind of adventure together in raising a son. I am excited for the ride. My good friend and mentor in my backcountry skiing career, Lorenzo Worster, once told me about this situation I now find myself in. He explained it to me from a perspective that very few others could convey because he had not only walked a mile in my ski boots, but showed me a lot about how to do it. His advice a few years ago has helped me prepare for what I am coming into now. I have never been happier to take a bit of a step back from the literal and metaphorical edge of the huge cliff in order to live a life and raise a son enjoying the relative risk and reward of elevated and adventurous places and moments for many sunsets to come.