By Dan Fink, Marketing Coordinator
Continuing to challenge yourself is crucial for personal growth. Lifelong learning creates well rounded individuals, who are always improving their personal, professional and ‘just for fun’ skills.
I have always wanted to downhill ski, but never had the opportunity. Wait, what!? Worth noting is that I grew up in the Midwest. Which makes it almost embarrassing to admit that I have never skied before.
Last weekend, my friends invited me up to Houghton, MI to ski at Mont Ripley at Michigan Tech. I drove up from Whitewater, WI with my friend Austin. After the treacherous seven-hour drive, we finally met up with a few other friends and got settled. I have never seen so much snow in my life, houses were buried with walls of snow around them.
The next morning we set out for the hill. Getting on the ski boots was almost as challenging as walking in them. It was a totally new sensation, trying to maneuver in these hard plastic boots that have absolutely zero flex. With a quick clip and stomp the skis were secured, and we were off!
Before I even got to the hill I was overwhelmed. My heart was beating hard as I waited for the ski lift. The views and the crisp air took my breath away. I didn’t think it could get any higher until I went down my first slope – what an adrenaline rush! I barely knew how to stop or even turn. With nothing to lose and a full day on the hill in front of us, I gunned it and tried to “snow-plow” my way down the run.
My friends were kind enough to finally teach me how to turn on the Deer Track trail. It was supposed to be easy – so they said! The concept seems really simple, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Shifting your weight from one foot to the other allows you to veer in the opposite direction. The Deer Track run was doglegged right, and if you went straight, you would be flying off an embankment into oncoming trees. Talk about a slippery-slope! It took me nearly 45-minutes to get down that run.
I got the hang of turning and stopping after a few more times down the hill. After more practice, I felt more confident skiing down the slopes and tried more challenging runs as the day went on.
Some words of advice.
Whenever you are trying something new, you won’t be good at it right away. I have a lot of work ahead of me before I will completely comfortable on the ski hill, but I am looking forward to it. Ira Glass said “…if you are just starting out or you are still in this [beginner] phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”
When was the last time you challenged yourself to try something new? Whether it’s trying a new recipe for dinner, learning a new language, or something a little more daring like skiing – get out there and just do it! Here’s a ‘lifehack’ article full of ideas for lifelong learning.
Special thanks to Austin Kadulski for recording and sharing videos of me skiing.