This past weekend, JC and I were up in Whistler taking our Avalanche Skills Training course. A course I’ve been wanting to take for what seems like eons. Amazing. Paddy’s day weekend, 200cm of fresh snow within the last week, and pretty close to clear skies. I was stoked.
I learned a ton this past weekend, but more importantly I was humbled. Apparently, I SUCK! riding in thigh deep powder. The best kind there is – and I definitely suck. Haven’t had enough practice in it I guess. Towards the end of the last day, my legs were giving in. I was done. That’s when it appeared from the outside that I loved face planting and doing flips with edge catches. Not much laughing there. All I have to say is thank goodness for kind, kind people.
There was this older Swedish guy who I found annoying the first day. He was the funny guy in the back of the classroom constantly clicking his pen. The guy who’s comments you are too tired to appreciate and everything seems to be bothersome. So tired in fact (side note), that I was caught with eyes rolling back into my head when the guy beside me was telling a story and everyone was looking our way. Oops! I still am chuckling at that one. That’s a whole nother story involving a 24 hour flu bug the day before. BUT. The funny, ‘annoying’ Swedish guy. An angel. Or so I came to learn.
Back to the thigh deep powder. Frustration, wanting to call in the snowmobile – or better yet a stylish heli – to take me down the mountain and call it quits. Thats when my new friend showed up. He wouldn’t let me give in. He didn’t even know me. But he genuinely cared. After helping me get up a third time, he reached out his hand, stared directly at me with a beaming smile on his face, and in his strong Swedish accent says, “THIS IS WHAT YOU LIVE FOR!!! Am I right?!” You are right mister Sweden. You were definitely right. Which is exactly what I said. That’s when he picked up my board and said, jump on! I jumped on the back of his skis and headed down. Both of us loving every second of it. He stayed behind me the entire rest of the way down, catching jumps along the side – grinning ear to ear, just happy to be alive from the looks of it. Not at all bothered by having to help me. This was one of the happiest guys I’ve met. Hilarious and full of life. He made my day. I will never forget him.I felt on that Sunday afternoon that he was looking out for me. I didn’t even catch his name. But for that moment, it seemed as if he was there for me. What a comforting feeling. Which I will never forget. Which also reminded me that I am always surrounded by angels of all sorts. Sometimes, I guess I just have to ask and realize that on some days, even thigh high powder perfect days, I can’t always do everything on my own. And It actually felt better doing it with help.
I gained so much more than a certificate this past weekend. I gained a lesson. A few for that matter. A reminder not to judge. To realize that I create my emotions with my thoughts. Since I was tired, I let the pen clicking and jokes get to me. Only because I was too tired. I created the annoyance. I let it get to me. It almost stopped me from getting to know an extremely funny, big hearted man. What else did I learn? That it is sometimes more fun, more meaningful, to ask for help. To be in something together. I gained a connection, which although only lasted a few hours, I will never forget. Which inspired me to think of times where I can be that same person for someone else, more often. Which inspired me to ask for help more often. Why? Because it feels good. Building connections. Building relationships. Doing things together. That’s why we are here really isn’t it? To do what we love and build relationships while we’re at it, learning lessons along the way.
Smile with your heart!