Breaking Your Mold
Progression is defined as a movement or development toward a destination or a more advanced state, which for most sledders this movement is something we all strive for. Whether it’s something like breaking free from the path to create our own line or mastering that awe-inspiring whip, these movements push us to become the better rider we all seek out to be.
Comfort zones soon become which allows us to either progress or not Without continually pushing yourself through your comfort zones you inhibit true progression. We sledders have developed stereotypes in the back country; you’re a climber, a jumper, boondocker or tree rider and these become your Comfort Zones. With these come the feeling of having to “fit into” to a certain group. Now these stereotypes are something we usually place on ourselves – if someone asks me what I do, I reply “I climb!” It’s not that I don’t have any other skills, it’s just that in order to define yourself in the industry you place that label on yourself.
I love climbing. It’s what I am good at and known for, but I crave that progression… I want to be able to do it all. This season I took a step out of my comfort zone. It happened as a chance encounter with a group that I normally don’t ride with. The Hickshow Crew thankfully allowed me to tag along on one of their rides and it was then I decided I didn’t want to just be a “climber”- I wanted to break my mold.
After watching these guys throw down some sick drops, whips and re-entries I figured “ok. I should be able to do this, I have this attitude that says that anything can be done…just depends how hard you want to work for it…” This attitude allows me to push myself harder, but it sometimes gets me in trouble. Thinking that I should be able to just hit that jump and have all things work out was a mislead judgment!
One must remember that with every course of action there are steps that need to be considered: landing, take offs, etc. Hitting stuff without this consideration is dangerous and I almost broke my tailbone because I figured I should be able to just hit it. If you’re going to try new things, take the time to learn from others, get advice, discuss the outcomes and fully be aware of the consequences no matter what you do. I see so much of the “I can do that” attitude on social media, which is an awesome attitude to have as long as it’s accompanied by the mindfulness of the calculations that have gone into the action!
After my own miscalculation I was determined to properly learn the ways of this style of riding. I by no means wanted to hit the biggest, baddest drops or jumps, but I did want to make that progressive move. So I kept tagging along with the boys and observed all that went into their moves until finally I wanted to try again. I started SUPER small with a jump that Denver Debes coached me over just so I could get the feeling of run-ins etc. I have jumped over stuff before, but never really assessed what I was or wasn’t doing so this was good prep!
Then the beautiful Ms. Julie-Anne Chapman came along and coached me over my first solo drop. It again was smaller, but it was a confidence-booster and I quickly learned that you need to be confident in your ability in order to have this stuff turn out right. Then came my time to step it up a notch again when Morgan Gamache came up beside me and said “Hey… I am taking you over that,” as he pointed to a large overhang. I won’t lie- I almost panicked, but then I realized I trusted him. I trusted he wouldn’t take me over something that was outside of my ability and if I wanted to progress I needed to take “the leap.” To the top we went and then the calculations began. All possible outcomes were discussed and the proper route of action given. Within minutes I went from thinking that I could never hit that to an insane feeling of weightlessness. It was in that moment I broke my mold: I was no longer “just” a climber! With the proper guidance and push from my peers I broke my comfort zone and I progressed into my advanced state, accomplishing something I wouldn’t have ever thought I would do.
I have always believed that the feeling of accomplishment is a powerful one; no matter the size of the accomplishment let yourself revel in this feeling! Always remember every accomplishment starts with the decision to try…so try that new tree line, climb that chute whatever it is strive for your advanced state! Break your mold.