I spent most of Easter Sunday skiing Loveland with GalwayGuy, GuitarMatt, TheColoradoKid, and JeremiahJohnstone. It was pretty apparent that skill wise (and age wise, of course) I was solidly in the back of the pack. JJ and CK would be firmly in the expert ski category and I'm firmly entrenched in the steady intermediate group. I can get down almost anything but look like a snowplowing, jump turning knucklehead while doing it. When the bumps in the mogul field are all the size of Volkswagon Beetles I tend to slide over to the intermediate cruisers. And I'm just fine with that. When it comes to tele skiing my goal is to get better and more confident as the season goes on but the old dog is not looking to learn any new tricks in that particular discipline. I did wear a helmet for the first time, a good thing on some of the 'nice' runs that JJ took me on, but my desire to hammer the double diamond steeps just isn't there in the telemark skiing sport.
Not so with kayak touring. I'm thinking about both ACA and BCU training this summer. I want to get my forward stroke down and more efficient, learn a few more of the tougher Greenland rolls, and maybe pass a bit of knowledge on to others. I also want to paddle some big swells on Lake Superior and hone my surfing skills at the same time.
Why the difference in the two disciplines? I'm trying to figure that one out myself. Maybe I've been at the skiing thing so long that I'm content with where I'm at. I notice my speed did pick up a bit with the helmet, although as JJ led me through the 'easy glades' I kept humming "I Got You Babe" as I thought of poor Sonny and his tree encounter (CK: "She took you guys down that crap?"). Those trees just don't move much when you hit em. Maybe in the sport of kayaking I see the potential to paddle more water in more conditions, become more a part of the boat, and also help a few other folks get introduced to the sport. Plus I have a bunch of friends with the same attitude and drive to get better; peer group pressure can be a powerful motivator. It is also just plain fun. Not that skiing isn't but spending all day on the bumps is tough on the ancient knees and joints.
With any weather cooperation at all we should be on Superior in the next couple weeks. the Apostles might take another month or so. Once that paddle dips in fresh water for the first time this season look out! I'm hoping for a great year on the water and continuous improvement over the course of the season as well as that good, clean fun we all crave.