Saturday, August 15, 2009

Life enhancing fluffy white stuff

Well... seeing as we are enjoying one of our regular sojourns up in the snow, I figure it's timely to blog about how playing in the snow is very, very life enhancing :-)

I don't think it matters what sort of snow play you do, whether it's downhill skiing, snowboarding, x-country skiing, riding a skidoo or just tramping and camping out back-country with a pair of snow-shoes strapped to your feet, they all add refreshing life enhancing value to your life. I've done them all, and every year we get out and about in the snow using every available form of snow play equipment, and we always come back feeling more alive, filled with delight and having had/done an awesome time.

So what is it about the mountains and snow that is so wonderful?

To begin with there's the beauty. Snow flakes falling and drifting from the sky, painting a pristine world of cleansing, calming white, creating a visage that lifts the spirit. The snow blankets the ground and dusts the trees with icing. Crystals hang from branches. Sun glints and rainbows across the softness like diamonds cast by natures hand. In the snow, everything seems more real, clearer, more alive.

Then there's the exhilaration of movement, speed, acceleration as you move and glide down the fall line. The feeling of riding a snowboard or a set of skis, over moguls, cutting swathes through the powder is akin to the petro-sexuality of motorbike riding. It's visceral. The adrenalin is addicting. It's blissful.

Added to all that, there's the value and effects of exercise. Snow play gives you a great workout. More oxygen flowing through your lungs and blood stream, bringing muscles alive. Washing the toxins from your system.

The flow of skiing, boarding or even snow-shoeing provides a 'broaden-and-build' positive emotional experience. It increases levels of serotonin and dopamine flowing in your system. It expands your creativity. It's pretty much impossible to carry the stress of work or life into a day of snow-play. To successfully and safely ski or board from the top of a mountain, you need full attention and the whole of your being committed to the unconscious competence of rider and device as one. This engagement is meditative and engenders peace and joy in your spirit.

Finally I guess I'd like to add that it's just plain awesome fun! Snow play brings out the wide-eyed spirit of the child. And the apres ski adventures add to the fun. If you stay up in the snow-fields then there's wonderful food, great company, lots of good wine, the odd sauna and spa experience and delightful walks after dinner in the star filled sky, crunching over fresh fallen snow crystals. Ahhhh, does life get any better than this?!!

So, if you aren't already a convert to snow-play, I seriously and playfully suggest you add some snow-play life adventure to your life. And if you are already an aficionado of the snow, then may I encourage you to go do some more of it. Make sure you get out and enjoy the life enhancing beauty and delight of playing in the fluffy white stuff every year of your life.

Treat with care

Just one small reminder and caveat... snow is cold and slippery, you need to be skillful, careful and treat it and alpine environments with respect. Be aware of the risks of hypothermia and always dress appropriately and take the necessary safety equipment with you. If you love and utilise the snow intelligently it will love you back and add immense value to your life.

happy life enhancing snow play,
and many smiles, Grant


  1. Oh, you know I've got to weigh in on this one. Beauty, motion, physical interaction -- for sure, all big plusses. Think I would add silence to that list. Big SILENCE. Loud SILENCE. It's almost a precursor to auto-hypnosis, if you get into insulated isolation in the backcountry. And, of course, the introspection and rhythmical physical interaction that comes with that is very restoring and a provider of perspective. Also, I think magnitude can be part of it: that sense that walls are removed and one is part of the community of the universe instead of some narrow subset. Moreover, the macrocosm of that community is so intricately woven by definition with all things that one feels a sense of destination and rightness. Very enhancing, indeed.

    Thanks, Grant...


  2. Heya Sully, thanks for the great enhancing comments, I TOTALLY agree with your thoughts, the silence and the expansiveness is incredibly mesmerising and is absolutely a huge part of what makes skiing and camping in the back country such a life enhancing experience.

    So few people ever make the effort to experience that, but I think once you have, it hooks into the soul and draws you back again and again. I always feel so incredibly alive after a back country ski experience!


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