Thursday, December 9, 2010

Same Mountains, New Experience

It’s no secret that skiing and snowboarding are great fun in and of themselves. There are however some fun and creative ways to make your skiing and snowboarding experience even more fun and rewarding. One of the most interesting and best kept secrets in regards to Aspen’s four mountains is the fact that there are over forty shrines hidden within the trees. These shrines are dedicated to all sorts of people, places, and things ranging from celebrities and baseball stadiums to hobbies and well-loved locals who have passed on too early. It can be great fun seeking out these shrines. The process itself provides one with a sense of adventure during the hunt and accomplishment once the shrine is located. This process helps one seek out new “lines” they may not have ridden and allows one to see the mountain in a new and exciting way. Then of course there is the pleasure of observing and perhaps photographing the shrine, especially if you have an outside interest in the subject matter of the shrine. For example, if you love John Denver, you must see the John Denver shrine etc. For a complete list of the shrines, along with some vague (some exploring is necessary!) directions about how to locate them, go to . Another way to spice up your day on the hill is to make a pledge to ski all the runs you have never skied before. I know I personally tend to stick to my “favorite” runs. Only when I ski with people with different tastes do I realize how much I’ve been missing when I fail to branch out from my routine. All the sudden I feel like I’m at an entirely different mountain. There are definitely runs within a run that you may never have experienced simply due to habits. It’s amazing what rewards can be found by going to the left instead of the right or taking that little extra traverse into an otherwise routine run. Another interesting idea is to track the vertical feet you ski per day. Some people like to brag about how many days they have skied. In reality the number of days isn’t a truly accurate indication of how much skiing has actually taken place. So if you really want to keep track of how much actual skiing you’ve done, tracking your vertical feet is the best way to do so. Some fanatics do more actual skiing in one day than other people do in a week! In addition to challenging yourself by tracking your vertical, it can be a fun challenge to pick a couple of skill sets to actively work on throughout the day. While this can be a bit of a pesky challenge, the payoff can pay huge dividends towards your development as a skier or snowboarder. These are of course just some suggestions to help you have a novel experience on the slopes. Sometimes it’s most fun to just clear your mind and let your day unfold stress free in the beautiful mountains of Aspen.