© 2009 Patrick Hertel Chairlift and Snow

Blizzard of Ahhs . . .

There’s always a moment.  There’s a single moment that makes all the other shit worth it.  A moment of realization that a culmination of events can bring about happiness.  Happiness that shows itself as a shit-eating, ear-to-ear, for-no-one-but-me smile.  Does the struggle increase the reward?  Possibly.  Every milestone in a pursuit, no matter how simple, complex, mundane or extraordinary, has some reward.  Pancakes are worth the trouble to make them.  Surfing is worth years of practice.  A Career is worth starting small.  My list of Good Shit changes on a day to day basis, but I always have a daily top 10 go to.  Days/Months/Years later, a few events stand out.

This year, my #7 go to is a day that’s been written about by any athlete with a keyboard.  The pinnacle of an amateur hobby.  A feeling that makes sucking for years worth it.  When every bit of muscle memory comes through in spades.  The barriers between Environment, conscious, physical begin to fade.  Surfing = deep bottom turns on a glassy overhead right with just you and a few friends.  Golf = a hole in one on 17 at TPC Sawgrass to make up for one in the water on #9.  Kayaking = a clean line through Cataract Canyon after a week long trip.     (note: I feel the word Epic should be removed from the English Language due to overuse as an Adjective.  This is Epic Coffee?  No, it’s not douche-bag.)

I started skiing in Missouri at age 10.  I have since been all over the country chasing those days I saw in the movies.  “Over the head face shots, 9 day blizzards, a bunch of oh-no’s, a collection of wow’s . . . that’s the blizzard of ahhs“.

4 hours of a 23 year pursuit.  Just 4 hours.  That’s all it took to Forget the multiple icy trips to Canada, rained out weeks in Tahoe, snow closed highways, burning condo complexes.  If you asked me about skiing last year, I was ok with saving my money and skipping a trip.  If you ask me about it now, I’ll smile, think about my answer for a few seconds, and merely say I love it.

38″ of light snow overnight coming off a 30+ day leg conditioning season.  Myself, 2 friends, and 50 other people on the mountain.  I’ve never hollar’d in my life until this day.  Every turn, Floating toward the surface, then back into the dark of full snow cover.  My mouth packed with snow because I couldn’t keep it closed.

The location will remain unnamed.  The details will fade over time.  But that feeling will be with me forever. There’s that damn smile again.

Experiences are all we have.  Good and Bad.  It’s up to us to make one stand out over the other.

Prints of the above image are for sale.  Sold as a limited run Set.  (4) 24″x24” framed.  $ 800.00 per set.

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