Not The Glory Days—Don't Let Poor Conditions Hold You Back
Matthew Mallory | On 12, Nov 2017
If you’re a mountain sledder then the odds are good that you have a job, since this isn’t exactly the cheapest sport to be involved in. The problem with work is that it gets in the way of riding. The whole commitment of having to be at a certain place at a certain time really messes with our ability to ride when the conditions are at their best. Mother Nature isn’t exactly too worried about our work schedules when planning the next massive dump. That dirty four letter word—work—means that if we want to put on miles during a winter season, sometimes we have to ride in poor conditions.
Not The Glory Days—Don’t Let Poor Conditions Hold You Back
Some years are better than others for hitting the good days. It’s a combination of the frequency of storms and luck. Many of us in the Whistler area have sourced jobs that give us the freedom to take days off when the storms hit, stacking the odds in our favour. We may have to work longer days or extra weekends here and there, but that means when the weather goes to shit we can skip it, and when it’s great we can be out there.
On the other hand, for three winters in a row we rode the climate change wave, suffering through extended periods of very little snow. No work schedule can accommodate that. We just had to make the best of it, sometimes riding hard pack for months.
Poor Conditions = Low Motivation
Crappy snow can really mess with your mind. It’s hard to get fired up to ride when you know it hasn’t snowed in two or three weeks. The first key to mentally getting beyond the problem is finding riding partners who are perpetually stoked to shred. That way you know they won’t flake out on you.
When the snow goes to hell, it’s a great time to explore. As long as you can dig a ski in, checking out new tree zones can be a hell of a lot of fun, and the same goes for getting out in the alpine. If the sun is shining and the snow is stable, then pack some food and get out there. Go wrack up the miles and enjoy the sunshine.
Look at it Through a Different Lens
For myself, when the snow goes to hell I shoot photos. It’s a great way to get peeps motivated to ride and it gets me off the couch and into the backcountry. The bad snow days in the Sea-to-Sky corridor often correspond with blue skies, which make for great shooting conditions.
One of the advantages to shooting when the the snow conditions are not great is that riders are more willing to wait around to setup good shots. Everyone has a little more patience, which is hard to come by on a deep pow day. I must admit that on pow days I have a hard time stopping and taking my camera out, just as much as the riders hate waiting around.
Three shitty snow seasons have taught me that the success of a season isn’t built or destroyed by the snow conditions. It’s made by your approach to each day and your attitude. Whether dodging stumps, cruising glaciers or just going up to chill at a cabin: you’re outside, getting fresh air and exercise. What could you be doing that’s better? So if it’s the weekend and there hasn’t been snow, get over it. Load up the sled and get your ass out there. It’ll be better than sitting at home.
Don’t let poor conditions hold you back. Sledding is like life, sometimes it throws you lemons. You just gotta cut that shit up and take it with a grain of salt…and a shot of tequila!