I often talk about how difficult spring can be for me. In spring all the snow is melting and I usually don’t have a real plan for the summer. I have always figured something out, but every spring I still stress about life, and what I want to do with mine. A sentiment that I think many skiers often experience.
The last few years, I have essentially eliminated fall from my life. Not intentionally, it has just happened. I work all summer and then come October, I head to the mountains and begin winter, escaping most of fall. Or in the case of last year, I came back from Argentina and began winter right away. This year has been different. Summer in Vermont is short and quickly transitions to fall. Often winter takes it’s time arriving and we are left with a very long fall. The way I have arranged my life, I am experiencing a full fall this year for the first time in a while.
Another one from yesterday morning. I’ve been going on first turn pilgrimages for close to a decade. This time of year it really isn’t about the skiing. Those who criticize the quality of the turns are missing the point. It’s about being in the mountains, experiencing the changing of seasons and finally allowing yourself to get excited about the season approaching. It’s a tradition I cherish and plan to continue for a long time to come. A photo posted by Aaron Rice (@airandrice) on
Fall is not as easy as I remember. Excitement grows, just to be squashed by the next warm wave. The days are short and the temps are cold. Motivation to go on long rides with cold hands is hard to come by. No matter how much I hope the ski season has started, it really has yet to arrive. It is usually either too cold or wet for real good climbing. So what are we left with? Trail running is probably a good bet, but I can only do so much with out starting to be concerned about my knees.
The result is that motivation to do any physical activity is low. Most athletes* I know don’t do well when their activity level goes down. When I do less activity I begin to try to solve problems that don’t need to be solved. I find issues with the people I am living with. Things that I should be able to brush off or let go of, I start brooding over. I sometimes start to spiral into the hole of unmotivation. In this state is easy to feel like the first person who has ever been unmotivated. However, I know that this happens to nearly everyone at one point or another. I think for many people that do not ski, this unmotivation spiral happens in the winter. Man, am I glad to have skiing!!
Instead of getting stuck in the unmotivation spiral, I am trying to figure out what I can do to cope. Writing about it here is certainly one thing that helps me name the problem and start looking critically at solutions. Obviously staying active is a good solution, but often easier said than done. Sometimes, I think unsuccessfully fighting the lack of motivation only hurts more. Rather, maybe this is a great time to focus some energy on everything else, the stuff that I never want to do. Schedule a doctors checkup and dentist appointment (I actually like going to the dentist, just not scheduling things). Instead of going on a long ride today and this weekend I am planning on focusing my energy on shooting footage for the film T-Bar Films and I are making. I have also signed up for an AIARE II course and will be finding a place to live in SLC next week. I have been baking a lot of pies and cookies.
Digging out of the unmotivation spiral is always difficult, but I am learning that even just the act of trying new techniques for breaking the cycle helps. The cycles of the season are natural and it is only natural to be affected by these changes.
I also always hold on to knowing that seasons change and before long winter will be here and we will be shredding pow all day!
*I kind of hate this term. I have never considered myself an athlete. I am just a person and I think everyone can enjoy physical activity and the more physical activity we do the better we feel and healthier we are. Saying we are athletes somehow makes it sound like we are different for everyone else in a core way, which I do not believe.