Put Away The Phone And Be Here Now.

On a midweek day last winter I went into the lodge for lunch. Nearby were six men, obviously friends enjoying a day skiing together. During their entire lunch five of them were on cell phones, and the sixth had no one to talk to.

On the ride up on a six-pack bubble chair lift one of passengers took a call from work and loudly carried on a conversation for the entire trip up the mountain.

I was skiing with a group, and one of the skiers spent nearly half the day recording himself using a selfie-stick.

It was saddening but all too familiar; people were skiing in a beautiful mountainous area but unable to unplug and enjoy their surroundings.

One of the most pleasurable elements of skiing is attending to nature through all our senses. On the mountain, I can smell the aroma of pine and hear water in streams hidden beneath the snow. If I was plugged into a device, I’d miss one of my favorite sounds, ice kernels spraying off the tails of my skis in spring snow.

Skiing is often about sharing the fun with others. It may be conversations with strangers on a lift or sharing the joy of a great run with friends. Being on the phone or looking at the LCD screen on the safety bar (yes, this is coming) isolates us from others.

Recreation and being in nature are about replenishment. They’re about forgetting everything and being present in the moment. They’re about being mindful and aware. With all the confusion, chaos and distraction in the world we need to take full advantage of skiing’s restorative potential.

On the ride up chairlifts I’ve spotted hawks, owls and voles. Early one morning, I was the sole skier on a trail sharing it briefly with a coyote. Rugged terrain with rock outcroppings, snow and frost covered trees and unique weather events like cloud inversions might be go unnoticed if my eyes are on a screen.

Being outdoors on a mountain in the winter is an incredible gift, and skiing is a remarkably sensual experience. We need to be fully present in order to benefit from all they have to offer. So turn off the phone and listen, look, feel and enjoy.

7 Comments

  1. Jon Weisberg says:

    Terrific piece on being present in nature and on skis. We’re seniors. Many of us are aware of our limited shelf life. Being fully engaged in the moment allows us to get more life out of our remaining years. Thanks for the reminder, Don.

  2. great idea in theory …………. but still you need the phone for a dozen reasons

  3. Larry, Jon and Don are all correct. While the phone can be an important and possibly life saving tool the point is to “unplug” and revel in and absorb the moment.

  4. Edward Cocca says:

    Great article Don. The creator did a masterful piece of artistry for our enjoyment. We skiers/riders get special vibes enjoying it that others are missing.
    Think snow,
    Ed
    Scottsdale, AZ

  5. Paul Remillard says:

    PERFECT!!!!! My sentiments exactly. Its all about connecting your senses to the mountain experience I totally agree.

  6. Some days I like to listen to music while skiing or out in nature. What works for you is great but it does not mean that your way is the best way or the only way. Kind of sounds like you are hating other people in the name of nature…but perhaps loving others’ freedom is preferable.

  7. The “power of the present moment.” We miss out on so much when we are not immersed in the moment. In addition to setting aside the ever present social media, training and awareness is needed to change some thought processes that interfere with staying in the present moment. Whether on medicare or a teen athlete, those nagging thoughts affect our ability to perform and appreciate the moment. While each of us may learn to enjoy one turn at a time, there will still always be those around us attached to messaging, or whatever. More to be pitied than condemned!

    Winter Park plans to address the “power of the present moment” as part of its new Women’s Ski Camps.

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