Mountainwatch | Rhylla Morgan
Skiing is fun, right? Just look at all the shiny photos on the ‘gram of people standing on top of mountains looking perky and bright. Perfect turns. Powder. High fives all round.
However if you stop at the base area of any ski area there is a chance you’ll see a kid melting down and a parent wondering if it’s worth it, someone who’s lost a glove and their temper, someone who’s rushing like they are late for a train and someone who’s deep in FOMO because they aren’t first in line. In fact one of those people could even be you on any given day.
What are we missing? Isn’t this supposed to be a simple joy of gliding across snow? Something just for fun? Making turns down a mountainside? In the fresh air? Revelling in the freedom of flying? YES. It is! And sometimes not… When those chattering voices in our heads get in our way it can melt the fun out of a snow day faster than a fresh snowflake on a fire.
Which is where even a small shift in your mindset can make a massive difference. In this past week I’ve experienced for myself how taking a breath and a moment to quiet my mind has changed my day, and profoundly changed my skiing.
I was lucky to attend an inspiring new type of ski and snowboard camp at Jackson Hole last week. The team there have developed a Mindful Camp, which I think is the first of its kind anywhere. It blends mindfulness practices, a little morning meditation, delicious nutritious meals and a fresh approach to coaching on snow in small groups. The result is an absolutely elevating few days.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I was up for spending a few days giving my skiing and my mind a little TLC, so I pulled up my cushion and joined the circle on the first night of camp eager to see what was in store.
The camp brings together a wise and warm group of professionals sharing their experience in ski and snowboard coaching (of course), stress reduction, meditation and mindfulness. I don’t want to ruin some of the surprises in the program, but I can say you will probably do some things you’ve not tried before. And I think you’ll probably like it.
If you think this sounds a little ‘woo – woo’ for you I’d humbly suggest you give it a chance. There is a reason why Olympians, top executives and pro teams like the New York Nicks are embracing mindfulness and experiencing better performance, less stress and more happiness as a result. And no, you don’t have chant. Or wear sandalwood oil. Unless you really want to.
The 3-day camp was a journey that offered so much more than any coaching camp I’ve seen or done before. You may come out of this long weekend having simply given your riding a brush up and making a few friends, but there is a good chance you will emerge with a deeper connection and joy to your riding, a deeper appreciation for your life and you’ll probably notice you are taking a few deeper breaths too.
If you are thinking of treating yourself (or someone you love) maybe think about gifting this instead of that shiny new pair of skis. No wrapping required.
As one of the camp contributors, Susan Bauer-Wu shared, “We sit with our self not out of a desire to better our self, but because it is the kindest and most compassionate thing we can do for our self and our engagement with life.”
The camp is the brainchild and passion project of Connie Kemmerer co-owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. She is a sparkling-eyed presence whose bubbling energy defies her 70+ years on the planet, most of them skiing. A passionate advocate of wellness, meditation and mindfulness she brings over 50 years of practice in this realm to everything she does at Jackson Hole. She has brought together a gifted alliance of practitioners and coaches that share her enthusiasm for this approach. And I reckon they are onto something.
If they hold it again in 2020 I know all the 2019 attendees will be lining up to do it again.
Find out more about all of Jackson Hole’s camps – you’ll see there is something for everyone at all levels, even Adaptive and Backcountry Camps and coming up in March there is a Women’s Ski & Snowboard Week which looks awesome.
Rhylla was a guest of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Mindful Camp and is trying to meditate more because it makes her feel good.