November 6, 2013 | Posted in:Uncategorized

I threw life on there as a last-minute decision because, as I reflect on this post, my goals don’t intrinsically shift every time the snow starts falling however much it might outwardly appear so. Goals have been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps it’s the transition of seasons, or simply the fact that I decided to take this last weekended off from getting out and doing anything. (Everyone needs to take a few day’s off every once in a while.)

Ultimately though, there are some bigger forces leading me to focus on goal planning. This being my last quarter of school (hooray!), there are some big changes happening and goal planning is a more subtle and polite way of saying, “what the fuck am I going to do with my life.”

For the first time in many, many, many, years I do not have a seasons pass to any mountain. Just a couple of years ago, I was riding every day and the proud owner of multiple season passes. This should not be confused with my desire to ride less. It is partially a financial decision, partially a result of not knowing where I will land for the winter, and partially a shift in focus for where I want to ride. Still, it is a strange feeling. I almost feel naked without it.

I know what you might be thinking at this point. Not having a pass is not in any way, shape, or form a goal.  You are right, but it does provide a frame of reference for my goals. So does this: Last year I broke my back in December. I feel kind of cheap saying that. Anyone who knows anything about the body will interject, clarifying that I fractured the tranverse processes that, in the grand scheme of things, is a relatively minor break. Back injuries have a strong association with paralysis and other really really bad side effects. When I say I broke my back, without context this is where most people’s minds jump. I’d put my injury more on the lines of a collar bone or a wrist. Sure, it sucks, but it wasn’t that bad. That being said, goal #1:

1. Stay injury free healthy. No broken bones, no  pulled muscles, no sick days, etc.. I am not saying, “Do not push yourself” but rather, “take care of yourself.” The best way to prevent injury and to stay healthy is to train and keep your body happy. This means staying active and listening to your body. Focus on your weaknesses before the come back to bite you. Admittedly mine is my core…too many beers and not enough exercise. If you take care of your body, a bad crash may leave you banged up and bruised, but not broken. This also means, “know when to take a day off.” I am absolutely terrible at this. My body may be screaming at me, but something fun will come up and I can’t say no. Saying no is hard, but learn to do it and you will ultimately be much happier. Besides, there will always be another adventure on another day.

This brings me to goal #2:

2. Have fun. This should really go without saying. There are so many rad things going on, it really isn’t a hard one to follow. The key is to simply to be open to it. Go with with flow and don’t dwell on things you wish you could be doing or something you missed out on. Focus on the moment and enjoy it. You’ll have days where absolutely zero riding was done, or the snow wasn’t as good as you were expecting. I haven’t ever come home from those days thinking I didn’t have fun. Laugh it off and grab a beer. If you have a fun crew, a day of riding crud can be just as enjoyable as that day you found blower waist deep pow.

3. Get out as much as possible. This goes along with #2. More days = more fun. That’s a good thing. Just remember #1…It is a tricky balance.

4. Be a little selfish. Probably not exactly what you were expecting to hear. (I never said this was going to be a list that others should model their lives after.) But I am also being entirely honest and this resounds a lot with me right now. Focus on doing what you want to do. Perhaps a better way of phrasing this would be to “Know what your priorities are, and don’t be ashamed to stick to them.” For instance, I know a lot of people getting into touring. I think that is awesome and I love to see more people getting after it. But, teaching you how to travel safely (or efficiently) is not high on my priority list. So, don’t be offended if I don’t get back to you about a trip you are planning. That being said, there are a lot of factors that go into my priorities and often I am looking for a chill day of mellow touring, so being selfish shouldn’t be confused with, “I only want to ride the gnarliest lines on the mountain.” A lot of times (especially after a big dump) my priority is to simply get out and find some fresh pow. There’s a lot to be said for days where all you do is ride some low angle trees.

5. Push myself. I want to go deeper, further, and higher. (Ha. See what I did there?) I want to hone my skills and become a stronger backcountry rider. I would absolutely love to take my WFR and AVY II. I’d also love to take a glacier travel class. Sadly, I doubt any are in the cards for this year. There is some incredible terrain out there and I want to ride it. But I want to do it safely. The best way to do that is to practice and to ride with people who can teach me. That being said, I am acutely aware of my selfish nature, and I expect others have similar views. I don’t want

6. Explore new places. Part of what I love about touring is getting out and exploring. I love the thrill of exploring new terrain. This gets back to my decision to not buy a pass this year. The resorts are familiar. On a good snow day at Stevens Pass, I had a pretty standard routine. Granted, it was an awesome routine. It just becomes familiar. I am a fan of the unfamiliar. I want to get out and see new places.

7. Go with the flow. I haven’t set a whole list of objectives or lines that I am itching to ride. Last year I did that and I maybe hit one on the whole list. I did ride TONS of incredible terrain though. So, this year, I am not setting lofty goals. I am just going with the flow. I expect to get out, have fun, and make some memorable trips, but I am going to just go with whatever comes up.

Okay, I think that is about it for goals. In retrospect, this is a hugely selfish list. So much so that I listed being selfish as one of my goals. I’m trying to wrap my head around what that means and whether that makes me an asshole or not. Ultimately I think that it depends on who you are and where you are in life. For me, I think being a little selfish is not only okay, but an ugly necessity. In fact, I may end up writing a post on just that.

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