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Why is Snowsport Fun? -> *Glide *Rhythm *Payoff

February 02, 2017


((BUMP FROM APRIL 13, 2016.))

This is my mantra. And I'm not kidding. I think it deserves traction. I'm a missionary of snow fun!

So why is skiing fun? Why do we play in the snow?

I say that IT'S ALL THE SAME! All skiing is one!

I'm the Dr. Bronner of skiing!

Snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross country... you name it. Snowshoeing even! Ice-skating! ...Heck, most everything. It's all fun for the same reasons!

No reason for any of these sports to squabble or try to outdo each other.

Why do one instead of another? As far as I can tell the only reason to pick one kind of snowsport over another is that we should be doing the kind that is CLOSEST and most sustainable.

Ski the one that brung ya.

Look out your door. ...Ski that way.

If you are next to a big hill ski up and down it and do turns as you please. If you are next to mellow country, just ski on that in whatever way works best.

Then ski the other ways for a special treat or while on a trip.

But ski the most in the way that's easiest for you to do.

You won't miss out!

Now, how is all skiing the same?

Snowsport is fun because for 3 reasons. These 3 seem to cover it all. None can be removed.

GLIDE.

RHYTHM.

PAYOFF.

As long as we have these 3 things we smile.

OK, people sometimes say they like some kind of sport because "it's fast." Or "faster." Well, c'mon, speed is relative. What's the key to why we like speed? In snowsport, it's the GLIDE. Downhill skiing has times where it's faster than XC but then XC gear and clothing is lighter which offsets the raw numbers. I mean, a car is faster than any skiing but it's so armored that it doesn't give us the same feeling of speed.

Rhythm is tempo -- the pattern of turning or striding, weighting and unweighting. If it's steady and in harmony with the terrain and the design of the equipment then it brings smiles. It doesn't need massive power or moguls. We can get all the rhythm we need from any kind of terrain.


Now we come to payoff. That's when the effort we're making feels worthwhile: when it feels like we're getting more back than we're putting in. You're doing some work but you're getting so much glide with such a nice rhythm that it strikes you viscerally as being worth it. Coasting down a hill is a case of payoff. But you don't want to feel like you worked too hard getting up the hill. And the challenge of descending shouldn't be so difficult that the effort to stay upright doesn't hardly feel worth it. But if any output seems more than the input, you'll have a grin. This applies even to going up hills. Indeed, this is where one can get a lot of payoff feeling because it's where one can easily feel zero payoff. When you feel like you're gliding easily up a hill with a nice rhythm your payoff factor can be satisfying indeed.

Now, the scenery is a factor, too. You want to be playing where your surroundings are the most pleasing. Yeah, we can find ourselves getting tired of the looks of where we live since we're around it so much. But the nice thing about winter is that it puts a whole new look on everywhere we've gotten so used to seeing the rest of the year. Our local forests and waterways look entirely different. Getting out in the fresh winter landscape gives a scenic thrill that lasts quite awhile. Sure, it's fun to visit new places, too.

But, really, in the end, the fun is about people. No skier is an island. So when we play together in the snow then no matter what we do we have fun. The way to judge the best snowsport in this case then would seem to be to find the way of playing that makes it easiest for folks to get together yet still also enjoy the sport and the scenery. And probably the mode which allows the widest variety of folks is best of all. Whichever way fits best socially for wherever you are: that should be your mainstay. Modes that are more refined can be saved for special occasions, say. Things like expeditions or extreme attempts fit that. Not all our play is suitable for kids, either. But we want to do things that are open to young people and everyone else. It should be accessible as well. Affordability affects sociability.

So get as many kinds of activity in as many places as you can -- and enjoy it all! All our snowsports can deliver a maximum of what brings us smiles. But aim for the lowest hanging fruit for your situation to be what you'll do most. Bloom where you're planted! As long as there's snow you'll have an option that can deliver!


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