At the Red Bull 400 I met a woman named Elizabeth from Wasatch Adaptive Sports, a non-profit adaptive ski clinic based in Utah. What they do is absolutely amazing, they teach adaptive friends how to develop an independent and active life through sports! They have summer programs and winter programs.
Iʼm from LA and we barely get any rain, let alone snow. So when Elizabeth asked me if I wanted to learn to ski…I said heck yeah! So I made a commitment to fly out and give skiing a try. Trying new things is what life is all about. Sign up for something, make the personal commitment, show up completely clueless and figure it out.
In my presentations, I often tell people Relax, Just Breathe and Look Ahead. Well, it wasn’t until I was standing in the snow, with crazy rain, 722 miles away from home, did those phrases really sink in. Iʼve said them many times before. But for some reason standing in heavy boots, holding on to ski like crutches, wearing bright orange kid snow pants going on “the magic carpet” with a team of 6, did it really hit me like bricks!
Traveling there, I just assumed that I wasn't going to be able to ski on my own. It wasnʼt anything negative, I just figured, well if I canʼt walk with crutches in the rain without slipping and falling, how on earth would I be able to ski on crutches. Little did I know that those phrases played a significant tool in my ability to learn how to ski standing up.
I had two amazing coaches. Amelia whoʼs volunteer for the program and Peter who founded the organization in 1977! They explained first the basics, breaks, snapping my boots in, elbows out, etc. Then they had me go on to the “magic carpet.” Both of them on each side of this flat escalator that simply took you out to this tiny little itty bitty hill that has two sides.
First, we started together while explaining to me how to get on and off the magic carpet skis in front...now keep your arms out and slightly turn by using your arms to guide you in the direction you want to go. But always look ahead, donʼt look back, donʼt look around, look ahead!
By the third time, I was basically Aladdin riding the magic carpet solo and turning myself around to go back down the hill! They added some twists and there was even a few obstacles...one of my teammates was throwing snowballs at me :)
Look ahead, relax, follow me and keep those arms out. I wonʼt lie I was a little scared. It was something completely unknown, but I was willing and I had an amazing team of support who was cheering for me, and who held me up before I thought I was going to fall.
After lunch I was going down the small hill and ready for a bigger one. My two coaches kept telling me that I was catching on fast. I just wanna keep going and go fast! I got this…letʼs do a BIG mountain!
My nerves set in big-time when we started to move to the bigger mountain. By now I was skiing solo...but did have my friend Brian there to help slow me down if I lost control. Getting to the top with the end in a faded sight past the trees, I knew in that moment everything I was taught a few hours before needed to be kicked into overdrive.
My coach would say, “follow my lead and smile...relax let the mountain do the work for you.”
Who knew that I had all the tools within me to accomplish this. Look ahead, stand up as straight as you can. Take a deep breathe, smile and let go! Thatʼs when I knew that this exact strategy really worked and needed to be applied to my life and so many others.
My advice to you is to do just this, don’t be afraid. Look ahead. You have all the tools within you to accomplish whatever task is in front of you. Thereʼs going to be twists and turns, that’s guaranteed. But you just gotta keep going forward. Smile.....smile so big and enjoy the journey.