The only way down is down - what will I learn about myself on the way?
Here I am at 2000m, sitting on my behind on Whistler Peak. It is a stunning bluebird day and in front of me is an untracked powder field. The catch? To get there I have to navigate a gnarly entrance which I have never done before. I have to edge down an icy, exposed chute and halfway down I will have to let go and slide over a rock slab - no edge engaged, nothing to hold on to.
Just quietly, being exposed on the side of a mountain like this freaks the hell out of me. I grew up in outback Queensland, Australia where the ground is FLAT. Stick me on the side of a snow covered cliff and I feel like I am going to fall into space. It is a hard fear to overcome and I have had a few horrible experiences in the past on steep sections.
But today there are people lining up behind me - I don't have time to think about freaking out, only to act. I focus on getting down that chute then riding the heck out of the powder before anyone else can. For those few precious minutes I am completely in the moment, whooping with delight the whole way down. At the bottom I turn and look back up to the peak I have just come from and feel an immense sense of achievement. Today, I overcame that fear!
This story is a neat metaphor for how I want to live my life - I want to live in the moment, face my fears and achieve my full potential at everything I do. Participating in actions sports has taught me valuable life lessons and is one of the reasons I feel as strong and healthy as I do today.
Taking up mountain biking and snowboarding in my 20s has been a huge challenge. Physically I have had to become much fitter, and much more aware of how my brain and body work together. Mentally, I have had to learn how to de-stress, how to overcome my internal dialogue and really focus what is important (I can either worry about money and life choices and world peace in my head OR bomb a technical section of trail well - not both!). Socially, it has helped me connect to new communities that value healthy minds and bodies and worship the great outdoors over the almighty dollar.
I support women’s involvement in actions sports because every girl, lass and lady out there deserves to be all that they can be.
Ladies, what has participating in action sports taught you? How would you persuade other women to get involved?