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I don’t need to ski, I just need to be outdoors.

I don’t need to ski, I just need to be outdoors.

What is it that you truly like about something that you do?

I’m trying to drill down deeper into how, more exactly, one derives pleasure from events.

What do I like about skiing? I mostly like that we’re higher up in the mountains than we’d ever be if we weren’t skiing. I’d like that you can’t get there unless you’re skiing. One of my favorite things to do (in the world) is sit in the chair lift with my son, especially a slow two-seater and even better if it’s lightly snowing and silences most all sounds … except for the sound of the snow falling. Is there a sound of silent snow falling? Maybe it’s the whoosh of the flakes going by your ear. Maybe that’s not a sound at all, but just the air moving. But there’s something about the sound of snow falling that I’m infatuated with. How do the flakes stick to the trees so well? Do they stick more when it’s super super cold? Or is there a temperature where it sticks best? The forest looks like a cotton plantation with twigs and bushes and balls of cotton covering the mountain. It’s either that or a lunar landscape. Not that I’ve been on a cotton plantation or the moon.

But that’s the point. Up there on top of the world it’s a place like no other. Well, I suppose it’s like the top of other mountains, but that’s the point too: how many tops of mountains do you get to visit? Do you get to see from mere feet away as you skim the tops of the trees in your slow-moving, two-seater, no-safety-bar chair lift? I’m not a winter mountain peak hiker. I’m not an avalanche chaser, a helicopter pilot, or a ski instructor. I’m only going to get to the top of a mountain if I’m skiing. I suppose I could have gotten up there with some adventure tour or maybe a snowshoe expedition or maybe on the back of a mule on some two-week mountain exploration vacation. But that would take planning and a goal and organization. I’m just skiing because that’s what we’re doing this weekend.

Sure, I like swooshing down the hill, carving hard and making hockey stops. I like to get better (although I think I’ve plateaued at “decidedly average”), I like to learn, I especially like following someone who’s better than I am and, literally, following in their tracks. It’s a good way to not overly pay attention to your own technique.

But I truly just want to stare into the snowflakes and dream about winter wonderlands and listen to the silence of the snow falling and hold the hand of my son and tell him that I love him and wish the lift would go even slower.

I don't need to ski, I just need to be on top of the mountain. We could have also come up by mule.

I don’t need to ski, I just need to be on top of the mountain. We could have also come up by mule.


  1. Susan

    What a lovely blog post, Bradley. My favorites (like this one) are the ones about your family and what makes you happy…

    • Bradley

      They’re my favorites, too. 😉


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