“Woah. Really? That’s a huge day.”
That was my initial response last week when Mike put out an idea for a Saturday Backcountry Ski Plan With Friends. The tour that he had in mind was one that he’d done a handful of times before, one that had been on his list for years before that, and one that I’d heard described by him – the crazy strong and efficient guy who is on skis almost every day of the season – as “fun, but that second skin up is a bear.”
To my Weekend Warrior self, this particular tour seemed like a pipe dream – maybe something I could attempt in the spring, when I’d have more than six backcountry days under my feet and a little more confidence on board. Now didn’t seem like the time for me to jump right into this kind of massive adventure.
But, here’s the thing about me. My self perception can absolutely be influenced by those I trust, love, and respect. When my brain is going, “oh my god, there’s no WAY that I could do a day that big on skis”, and then Mike tells me that he thinks I’ll be fine and that I can totally handle it and I won’t hold the group back at all on the uphill parts and that I’ll absolutely rock the ski down parts … Sure! I’ll give it a go.
So I gave it a go.
Our day contained the following pieces of information:
- 3750’ of up
- 7864’ of down
- 13,300’ as a top elevation
- 8 hours of movement in ski boots
- 12+ miles of travel
- Extremely variable snow. From a few pitches of soft and creamy dreaminess to most pitches of sun crusted nastiness, and everything in between.
- 4 miles of (adding insult to injury) skating back to the car
- 4 incredible friends
- 0 foot blisters (a minor miracle!)
- 1 redefined view of myself. I did it.
So, as it turns out, I’m stronger than I think I am. I know myself well enough to be armed with Kristina’s Tools For Success (headphones, a killer playlist, some stashed chocolate chip cookies, and mind-body connections breathing techniques for when my smile finally fades from my face on the last pitch of the absolute BEAR of the second skin up), but it also serves me well to listen to what others believe I can do.
Now, Mike and I are off on a getaway to soak in the local hot springs for the next two days. I wonder what next weekend’s adventure will be…