In January I spent a glorious weekend in APPI Kogen. Fun fact, the word “Appi” is derived from the Ainu language and means “a place where one can live in peace”. It’s tucked away in Iwate and please don’t spread the word because it is delightfully not crowded, even on weekends. The snow is incredible, obviously #japow
There’s a great range of slopes but I definitely felt that most of the trails may be more geared to beginners. However, there are also advanced level trails and it was also the host of the giant slalom races of the National Sports Festival of Japan (2005 and 2016).
I’ve grown up skiing since the age of 3 or 4 but switched to snowboarding when I was 13 and never looked back. It was like finally putting on the right size pair of shoes after wearing a pair that was half a size too small your whole life. Growing up, we would spend our Chinese New Year holiday happily skiing/snowboarding in Japan. After moving to Japan, ironically enough, its become a lot harder to go snowboarding and certainly not for a week at a time. Starting next year, I’m going to make more of an effort to go 6~8 days because it’s something that makes me so happy.
While some people make up songs (Hi @Heyitslisa) while they ski, other people just let their minds wander. Something I do and have always done, ski or snowboard, was think of cliché takeaways that could be applied to life. So today I’ll be sharing some of the cliche takeaways I’ve come to have over my life. Warning: avalanche of cheesiness
Inspired by the gondola rides:
You shouldn’t spend your whole life looking back (on the past), but every once in a while you should turn around and look at the views and marvel at how far you’ve come.
This one, as my ever critical ski partner pointed out, is not specifically a ski lesson, but more a mountain lesson but I think its important anyways. We get so caught up in going up – self-improvement, going up your career ladder, the next best thing….that we don’t realize how much we have accomplished and how far you’ve come. So turn around, enjoy the views!
Inspired by my ski partner:
Have someone in your life who waits for you to strap into your board.
I can’t speak on behalf of other snowboarders, but having to strap into your board every damn time you get off the lift? Woe is me. Most of my friends and family are skiers so they have all the pleasure (pain?) of having to wait for me every time I get off the lift. (This also applies to when you hit a long flat stretch and you lose momentum and stop completely ugh) Surround yourself with kind, patient people, or at least those who don’t hold your snowboard drawback against you.
Inspired by the tracks in the snow:
There are a million different ways you can go down the mountain. No two people take the same exact path down. Make your own path.
When I used to ski, I would follow existing tracks and it can definitely be good practice, especially if you’re following the tracks of a good skier. But at a certain point, you gotta go your own way. There is something so incredibly satisfying about making my own tracks, leaving my (environmentally friendly) mark and I think that applies to life as well. You can look to others for guidance and get the hang of things, but after a while? fly baby fly.
Inspired by the speed demons:
Sometimes people overtake you in life, sometimes you just have a late start. Your peers are so far ahead that they’re ant-sized. It doesn’t mean you can’t catch up with others or overtake them entirely.
Pretty self-explanatory. Even now, I sometimes underestimate how much speed you can rack up on a snowboard and the importance of momentum.
Inspired by my burning thighs after long, flat, stretches:
Thighs burning, knees shaking, can’t feel your toes? Take a break.
Only you know when your knees are about to give out. Go to the edge of the trail, sit down and rest for a few minutes – its better than snowballing down the mountain and breaking all of your bones just because your legs gave out mid-turn. Listen to your body and take a break when you need one whether this is in the shape of a vacation, some self-care or just going to bed early.
I could keep going but I don’t think there’s enough pizza in the world to handle this cheesiness. I hope you enjoyed some of my ~deep~ life takeaways.