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  1. #1
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    What is the love that brings you to the mountains?

    Now, I'm not talking about your damned vehicle...I had a friend with a Chevy Luv that brought him to MANY mountains, until the frame finally gave up from rust. No, I'm talking about what is that particular essence, that feeling that brought you to the mountains and keeps you coming back?

    Me...I used to think it was just a love of gravity and speed, but that doesn't cover it.

    After a day of much needed boarding, I am camped out by a river as I write this, a river surrounded first by woods and then a panorama of mountains rising above, and as I look beyond my camp and onto the mountain faces that are just beginning their night-time glow, I realize that what brings me back to the mountains is a rebirth, a renewal of spirit, an utterly needed distillation of energy that heretofore was scattered...but most of all, what brings me back is a reacquaintance with the notion that to live truly, one must grasp Thoreau's words and LIVE DELIBERATELY.

    I should really be doing something constructive right now...like re-waxing my board or zip-tying the binding that blew out on my snowshoe...but sometimes I think the most constructive thing a person can do is exactly NOTHING.

    Like a rock in the sun, I absorb these ideas and the vistas of mountains which pan out before me, for they will warm me when the winds blow cold and I once again leave this sweet magical place in exchange for the roads and streets and sidewalks of man.

    In short, I guess the love that brings me to the mountains is the idea that out here is where life begins...the rest is just practice.

    What is the love that brings YOU to the mountains?

    I just hope the batteries in this mini-tablet thing last long enough until I can get to the pub and wifi this into internet land. Full Sail Ale or Pyramid Ale?
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  2. #2
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    For me it's more a matter of what keeps me here as i'm already here. Peace, quiet, a humble sense of how fucking small we really are. Beauty and travelling in sinc with what the mountain are "telling" you. Upmost respect and pure lifestyle free of bullshit, perspective and tranquility. It's such a dynamic environment and is always different, even looking at the same peak every day. The light is different, the cloud rolling off them a certain way, weather moving over them etc etc. Always some thing new.

    It's brought through skiing, climbing, scrambling, hiking and backpacking for myself, I appreciate all forms of self propelled mountain travel. It's the ultimate lifesyle and I wouldn't change a fucking thing. I can't imagine a life without them, I have given up alot of unimportant bullshit to continue living in them and have no plans on ever leaving them.

  3. #3
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    ^ Thread concluded.

    Though I'd add: the mirror that the mountains provide with which I can reflect upon myself. A very honest non-judgmental mirror it is. Unlike the judgmental mirror society provides. It is why I don't ride the cables. For me it messes with the mirror.

    And this: solitude and silence in the hills is gold to me. But mountains not shared with good friends... well that is a shame. I have it pretty good here, but every other day wonder if I should leave my mountains for a place where I can have both mountains and mountain friends.
    Life is not lift served.

  4. #4
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    Time2Climb:
    Your thoughts mirror my own. It is like the mountains are alive in a way that the flatlands or even the flatter lands are not. Every land, of course, speaks its own beauty and its own truth if one is willing enough to listen...but somehow the mountain lands speak the loudest of all. The cliffs and the high alpine meadows speak a poetry of passion and embrace that know not the bounds of man.

    The ocean and offshore swells speak to me with the same majesty when I'm sailing, and offshore is just as unyielding and unforgiving to mistakes as the mountains.

    I LOVE the Banff area! My folks were actually married there. I've done lots of climbing and backcountry in that area, as I always take that route when driving down to the lower 48. My favorite place is Canmore...as it is just a sweet, laid back place with good vibes to chill in after a day of local climbing.
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    Hoghes:
    I know EXACTLY what you mean...about the mirror that the mountains are to oneself. They have been there for a millenia and will be there for a millenia more...we matter to them about as much as sand...and somehow that knowledge makes our own introspection that much more profound.

    I also know what you mean about wondering about leaving. I've been lucky enough to live in various places like Valdez and Talkeetna...these little hamlets that live and breath the mountains, and there is a shared mountain spirit amongst a good percentage of the people that is palpable. Doesn't matter if they're trekkers or trappers...they speak the same mountain language and the places are filled with good vibes (except the oil industry in Valdez sorta negates a good portion of the vibes and the town is basically split in two). I've lived in other places such as Homer and Palmer where the mountains aren't like GAAAHHH, right on top of you, but they are present in the background and in the background of everyone's psyche nonetheless. And so in these places too, there is a connection and vibes.

    But I've also lived and worked (under long-duration contract) in some pretty trippy places in Siberia, Russia...just on the Kamchatka Peninsula...where the mountains are crazy wild and steep and huge. I was lucky to have worked there, and always made sure I brought at least some of my backcountry gear. Loved those mountains, but even amidst their splendor and even with my Russian language, I often felt like a stranger amidst the people there...but loved the adventure of it nonetheless.

    I take it you are an American or Canadian guy living and working in Japan. I've worked a short while in Korea and know what it is like to be amongst a language so foreign...some things just don't translate. Do you speak Japanese well? The mountains will tell you when it is time to go.

    There are places manifold in the world where the mountain spirit and camaradie still thrive. Little villages in Ak, BC, WA, Oregon, Alberta, Id, Wy, MT, CO...hell, even Vermont, Maine and West Virginia, where the mountains hold sway over land and the hearts alike. You'll know them when you find them.

    It sounds weird to say, but sometimes solitude is best when shared.
    -
    -
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Rover View Post
    There are places manifold in the world where the mountain spirit and camaradie still thrive. Little villages in Ak, BC, WA, Oregon, Alberta, Id, Wy, MT, CO...hell, even Vermont, Maine and West Virginia, where the mountains hold sway over land and the hearts alike. You'll know them when you find them.

    It sounds weird to say, but sometimes solitude is best when shared.
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    I lived in a place in NC where this vibe existed, not among everyone, but among the people that mattered.

    I don't know how to articulate it, but I know the mountains are where I am supposed to be. They just give me life, and inspiration to go and explore them. They are different every time, from the wind, from the snow being added or subtracted, from the sun, from the warmth or the cold.

  6. #6
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    This is one of the better threads in a while.

    It's the sumation of a number of conversations I have been having recently, and the difficulty in trying to verbally express what it is about skiing and mountains that keeps me coming back.

    I was lucky enough to grow up at the foot of a mountain in NY, where my youth was spent running around the woods, and skiing in vermont. Backpacking with my father and brother in Idaho/ Montana, surrounded by nature fly fishing and the feelings of contentedness that the solitude brings.

    The quiet of snowfall when riding a lift solo on a storm day, the high fives shared with friends on a powder day. The laughters over beer, the anxiety and lack of sleep while a storm moves in promising an early awakening to snow. It is a similarity of feeling when thigh deep in water making a perfect cast as it is thigh deep in snow making the one perfect turn.

    Knowing that the moment can never be/ will forever be replicated.

    And when finally away from everything, the moment of reverence in the presence of something so great, so vast and so beyond myself that if for a minute, the feeling of being just a microscopic element of the universe is known.
    "People think complaining about conditions makes them sound discerning, like giving nitpick notes on a fine dining experience. In reality it's just like saying "i'm a shitty cook." -MildBill

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  7. #7
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    Nice points everyone.

    Been in Banff for 20+ years, lived in big cities my whole life before that. While I've known since arriving here as a wide-eyed easterner lo those many years ago that this was my home, I never quite got past the feeling that I'd eventually have to suck it up and move back someplace where I could have a career and afford to buy a home of my own.

    About five years ago I saw the light, and it's like the clouds parted and the angels started singing. I'm here to stay. Could I buy a home with a four-car garage, three pools, and two man caves somewhere for what a closet in Banff would cost? Sure, but it wouldn't be in the mountains, and it's not so much what's in your home, as where your home is that makes it so special. I'm now happy to pay through the nose for something that might not have everything I'd like in a home, but it's smack in the middle of my favourite place on earth, and with all that shit to do outside, who needs to be inside wishing you had another half-bath?

    I used to feel at home in "the city". Now they just want to make me get back to the mountains as fast as I can. I want no part of the rat race, and feel like one lucky SOB to be where I am.


  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.p.c View Post
    This is one of the better threads in a while.

    It's the sumation of a number of conversations I have been having recently, and the difficulty in trying to verbally express what it is about skiing and mountains that keeps me coming back.

    I was lucky enough to grow up at the foot of a mountain in NY, where my youth was spent running around the woods, and skiing in vermont. Backpacking with my father and brother in Idaho/ Montana, surrounded by nature fly fishing and the feelings of contentedness that the solitude brings.

    The quiet of snowfall when riding a lift solo on a storm day, the high fives shared with friends on a powder day. The laughters over beer, the anxiety and lack of sleep while a storm moves in promising an early awakening to snow. It is a similarity of feeling when thigh deep in water making a perfect cast as it is thigh deep in snow making the one perfect turn.

    Knowing that the moment can never be/ will forever be replicated.

    And when finally away from everything, the moment of reverence in the presence of something so great, so vast and so beyond myself that if for a minute, the feeling of being just a microscopic element of the universe is known.
    Well said, SPC. I forgot to mention that one of the truly great and unforgetable things about being in the mountains is those times when you are able to watch the glide of a hawk or falcon or eagle from ABOVE them....I just love that facet...like a gift from the gods.
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post
    For me it's more a matter of what keeps me here as i'm already here. Peace, quiet, a humble sense of how fucking small we really are. Beauty and travelling in sinc with what the mountain are "telling" you. Upmost respect and pure lifestyle free of bullshit, perspective and tranquility. It's such a dynamic environment and is always different, even looking at the same peak every day. The light is different, the cloud rolling off them a certain way, weather moving over them etc etc. Always some thing new.
    Well said and I feel the same way about the ocean. I own a boat and fish offshore a lot. Between that, surfing and just hanging at the beach you really get a sense of how awesome the ocean is and how small you are when your around it. Much like the mountains it changes daily and can go from soft and beautiful to big and ugly in a matter of hours. Truly an awesome thing to see every day.

    For me the mountains are great as they are completely opposite of the beach (despite my attempt to compare the above). When I'm there it's great as it's so different from home. Cold instead of warm. Hills/rocks/snow instead of flat beaches and sand. Boots instead of flip flops. It's a great change of pace and I'm always excited to go there and sad to leave.

    Plus, skiing/snowboarding is really fun.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by time2clmb View Post
    Upmost respect and pure lifestyle free of bullshit, perspective and tranquility. It's such a dynamic environment and is always different, even looking at the same peak every day. The light is different, the cloud rolling off them a certain way, weather moving over them etc etc. Always some thing new.

    It's the ultimate lifesyle and I wouldn't change a fucking thing.
    this, basically.

  11. #11
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    Its the simple lessons of the mountains.. Mountains erase everything complicated and hard about life... and put it in simple perspective... One foot in front of the other.. its easy to get to the top.. It might seem hard, but one foot in front of the other will always take you there, fast or slow, the view is the same...

    Its the same with kayaking.. Dig in and keep your boat up... if it goes over? Get it back up...

    The mountains remove everything unimportant and show us what is.. Health, peace, love, and companionship of good partners...Shelter from the storms, and good, nourishing food...

    To teach us how to climb, to remind us how small we really are, and to keep our egos in check... The mountains will always hold a slight upper hand...

    we are just here a little while..

  12. #12
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    I am 29 years old. My Fiance, our two dogs, and I recently moved to Washington from Northern Michigan. For those of you who have never been, Northern Michigan has stunningly beautiful landscapes; clear fresh water, vast and endless white sand beaches. History.

    We left because of a calling. There was a fire that had been ignited in my soul. It was as if a beacon was blaring inside me and it would only cease through a sense of humility and awe that could only be provided by the infant geography of the cascades and rocky mountains and their siblings. The drive was so pronounced that it wasn't difficult at all for Shannon to plainly see that we could go and actually do this. To leave our families. To live.

    An edited version of a little something I recently wrote on my blog---this new life has ignited a cooler flame inside me. One fed with patience and understanding rather than urgency and panic. Fed by feelings of calmness; an enlightened and humbled sense of self.

    .................................................. .

    “I can still hear the dampened white noise of deep slough rolling through trees and around my body and the refreshingly chilly spray over my face with each turn…it reminds me of an icy mist of water blasting over the bow of a boat and through the sails on a late fall or early spring sail”

    I’m daydreaming hard, relaxing lazily on the bow of a thirty-four foot sailboat that’s carving through the water at full sail and working efficiently with a soft South Westerly breeze. Even with the sails pushing the wind downward along the sturdy mast and onto my face it feels unseasonably warm for this time of year, late April. Or I suppose it could be the two -or is it three- rum punches I’ve been using as a cooling mechanism.

    Is it even noon yet? Such an arbitrary rule -I’m almost out of ice-

    Either way the morning Sun refuses to go unnoticed.

    Think snow. I’m reluctantly nodding off…

    Over the handheld radio – Skier in 3,2,1 Dropping – Pushing off up and over the crown of the slope I now had a visual for the first time of what was about to get slayed. My heart started racing. Before yesterday I had taken a month off from skiing. Moving West used up valuable winter time and money. Upon my arrival to Washington, the mountains were riddled with warm temperatures and rain. When this vast fall line of deep powder littered with trees came into view I took to the slope with vengeance. Carving deep wide turns as if branding the mountain mine and trying to make up for lost time with this one run. But it was pulling away from my hot iron and the mountain would fight back, putting me in my place with shots of cold blower that would rob my sight, blinding me and inhibiting my ability to breathe, forcing me to back off for a brief moment before she allowed me to continue on. Several more smooth, less vengeful turns would bring me to her tree line where she would kindly open a door for a clean escape to the end of the run.

    Thanks for playing.


    “TACK!”

    I’m a little disgruntled from being jolted into consciousness by the crew. Having grown up on vessel’s like this one I haphazardly raise my hand in anticipation of the jib sail swooping over the deck before being meticulously blown back into action port-side.

    My punch is gone again and now I’m out of ice – man it is warm up here

    Think snow. I’m out again…

    …after one turn it is obvious the snow is over two feet deep, with the second turn I am engulfed in the white room, a small speed check and the snow all around me slides. The mountain is a locked door and like a perfectly hand crafted key my skis manage the snow well and I am graciously allowed to continue on…upon a bleak break in visibility I make three more turns and obtain a visual of the fall line. Soon I’m forced to break left and duck behind a large evergreen tree as hundreds of pounds of snow whoosh past.

    Safe! Shouts the mountain. She’s playing a game…


    Finally, after smashing over what is now a fully awake body of water, a cold spray is forced up from the bow of the boat through the sails and over my sweating skin.

    In a drum circle style and astoundingly consistent rhythmic motion I can feel and hear the sounds of the vessel slicing through the water…

    Psshhhhhhh -pause- psshhhhhhhh -pause- psshhhhhhh

    I can’t help but suddenly feel intensely aware of the ironic similarities between skiing and sailing.

    Both using a carefully crafted vessel to move efficiently through different variations of Hydrogen and two parts Oxygen.

    Both permitted to move forward only at the mercy of the elements…

    -Man I have to get out of this sun-

    I have learned to recognize and appreciate the now obvious interdependent relationships between things I love and how they relate and are codependent on one another.

    “Things” that define my love for life…Skiing, Sailing, Nature.

    I long for more of this enlightened sense of being…
    Last edited by regct; 03-06-2011 at 12:37 PM.

  13. #13
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    good read, some great points and strong words
    thanks for the food for thought

  14. #14
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    for me the mountains are an opiate. they make me calm, relaxed, fulfilled, excited and sedated and just filled w/ a positive sense of self-worth. i was a dopefiend for many years and now the mountains are my medicine. if not for them, i'd prolly be dead or in jail. i am thankful everyday for this newfound appreciation of life that they provide me.

    on the other side, i am often bored w/ the mundane rituals of work and family and am always thinking about when and where i will next be climbing and skiing. soooo, just like drugs did, the mountains have their hook in me and sorry to say, i am just not real happy unless i am out playing in them. i think that due to many years of drug abuse my brain just doesnt provide dopamine on its own so it takes climbing up a mtn and skiing down to provide that biochemical release. when i wake up early and nail a line before work, i am in a good mood for the day. when i just wake up, take the kids to school and then work all day i feel as though i am a candidate for prozac and am just not right. if i were to move away to the coast or the city i have no doubt i would be right back riding the rut trying to feel fulfilled. its raining so there will be no mountain injection today but i am still riding the high from yesterdays adventure. hopefully that holds me so i can be a good dad today. give thanx and praise to the most high

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gimpy View Post
    when i wake up early and nail a line before work, i am in a good mood for the day. when i just wake up, take the kids to school and then work all day i feel as though i am a candidate for prozac and am just not right.
    Ain't that the truth! So amazing what an early morning session (of any kind - surf, bike, swim, ski, hike) can do for your mindset.
    Last edited by BirdRock; 03-06-2011 at 04:00 PM.

  16. #16
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    I just typed and then deleted about a page worth of blah blah blah.......Its kind of a personal question but I guess I'll just say when I'm in/near/approaching/thinking about mountain(s).....the other stuff (life's tugs, pulls, etc.) dissolves. For me the Ocean has a remarkably similar effect...

  17. #17
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    i came out here to puff bowls in the lodgepole pines.
    Quote Originally Posted by timnormandin View Post
    I never wear a helmet 'cause I'm core. I do, however, Crazy Glue my cock to my leg so I won't ski over it. My cock that is, not my leg. not that you could ski over your leg...what was that about the Minnow being lost?

  18. #18
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    The quiet, the views and the cold, crisp air. While speed and gravity sure makes skiing f'ing fun, I hike/backpack/climb in the summer too, so it's definately not just that.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Asspen View Post
    i came out here to puff bowls in the lodgepole pines.
    Where the hell is that thumbs up feature when you really need it? Ahh, there it is!
    Last edited by bendtheski; 03-07-2011 at 03:23 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ilovetoskiatalta View Post
    Dude its losers like you that give ski bums a bad rap.

  20. #20
    Xcdman Guest

    The Charm

    From our trip to Banff this last October.

    [IMG]http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4




  21. #21
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    the views, the freedom, the rush of skiing, crisp air

  22. #22
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    Your mother's love brings me to the mountains.

    /endthread

  23. #23
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    For me it is the experience of being able to be humbled by something that dwarfs myself. Acceptance of that and relinquishing of my ego brings an inner calm that I can't replicate in any other part of my life. To see a mountain is to see possibilities. What is the view from the top? What is on the other side? The ocean has the same appeal but for me it is the mountains.
    License to kill gophers by the government of the United Nations

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ski to Be View Post
    ...to be humbled...
    This seems to be a common theme. I feel the same way and had no idea so many others do too. I can't figure out why humbleness brings calmness...even in myself.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xcdman View Post
    From our trip to Banff this last October.
    Ahhh...the unmistakable Mt. Rundle...I know it well. Me and my girlfriend had a pretty shamanistic experience at the top of it a few years ago...and ganja was only PARTLY responsible for that experience. I think the natives of the area have always thought of Rundle (I don't know the native name for the mountain, wish i did!) as a sacred place of mystery. In the woods surrounding Rundle, we'd encountered many sweat-lodges that are still in use by the natives for ceremonial purposes. I can see why they saw these mountains as sacred.

    Your mountain pics are beautiful!!! Nice eye.
    "The reason death sticks so closely to life isn't biological necessity - it's envy. Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it; a jealous, possesive love that grabs at what it can." by Yann Martel from Life of Pi



    Posted by DJSapp:
    "Squirrels are rats with good PR."

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