Ski like a yogi
Last night, I looked out at a million brilliant stars in Steamboat’s dark sky and chanted a universal message to the galaxy: OM SNOW. This morning, while the East continues to be thrashed by a blizzard, it’s another sunny day here in the ‘boat.
But you know what? I see a snowflake on my iPhone weather update for Wednesday…and Saturday has one too. Something is on the horizon. That is a tantalizing bit of news to meditate upon.
Today, there may be nothing in the way of fresh snow, but the mountain is completely open and there is a ton of terrain out there to ski. The sun is glorious and the sky is the kind of blue that Colorado is most famous for. There are also a few wispy clouds that we can only hope are the first signs of enlightening freshies to come.
I took last weekend off my skis to spend a couple days on my yoga mat. I went to a special yoga workshop led by visiting yoga teacher Jeanie Manchester here in Steamboat. I credit her with the inspiration for today’s blog. We practiced in Perry-Mansfield’s gorgeous, glass Steinberg Pavilion in Strawberry Park, where I spent two long days staring out at the ski area. I studied the flow of the runs while I stood in Mountain pose. I analyzed the moguls while in Warrior. I contemplated Mount Werner’s sheer gorgeousness while upside down in a headstand. From all manner of twists, I peered at the changing light as it bounced off the trees.
From my yoga mat, I meditated on my long love affair with this mountain. Up close, it is pure movement, action and kinetic energy. From that slightly removed perspective, it became upright and still, a fierce primal essence lurking over the Yampa Valley.
In yoga speak, I realized our invincible Storm Peak is both the Shakti and the Shiva. It is yin and yang.
In skier speak, let’s just say that this is the kind of year where we learn to respect our mountain and her weather. We also remember not to take her history of abundant snow for granted – not just because of the powder days (of which she has gifted us so many), but for the summer water that she nourishes us with, the wildlife to whom she gives shelter, and the endless opportunities to be in nature that she offers us all year long.
Just as there is shadow and light that changes each run throughout the day, there is shadow and light in this weather pattern. Yeah, we all want pow. We are snow dancing. We are burning our 80s skis in backyard bonfire rituals (the skier’s puja?). There is a lot of superstitious car washing going on.
But the snow is dry and the early morning cord is sugary. I found it with the chirping chikadees on Morningside this morning, all the way down Vagabond, and under the Sunshine lift line. The skiing is beautiful.
We are blessed with an entire mountain covered with snow that is open to ski. The lifites are grinning. Kids’ giggles still echo throught the valleys. I am up here on a Tuesday morning with clean air whipping past my face and fast snow under my skis. I feel the vibration of fresh groomed corduroy under my feet. There is a lift waiting to whisk me up for another round. There is nothing not to love about being in this winter moment.
It is easy to get blinded by the glitter of Lakshmi – the goddess’ gifts of bottomless power that Steamboat skiers come to expect. This month, we are learning to appreciate her more deeply as we ground ourselves in the skier’s Durga – an Earth mamma goddess of mountains and primal love. Embrace Durga’s light, and Lakshmi’s bling — the snowflake — will return.
A real yogi knows to stick to the mat no matter what is happening in her or his monkey mind. Real skiers know that this is just Mother Nature’s flow, and every phase bears gifts to be enjoyed.
And if the weather reports are right, Lakshmi’s blessings of glittery snow are rolling our way. Together everyone…Om shanti. Om snow.
Jennie Lay, Telemark skier
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