Powder Lover’s Paradise

My family just returned from a snowboarding trip to British Columbia. The wonderful thing about British Columbia is the vast amount of fresh snow that falls on the mountains, making it a powder lover’s paradise.

I learned the love of powder skiing as a college student when I would often visit my older brother who spent a few years after college living in the mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, as a self-proclaimed “ski bum.” He would take me to all the great stashes of powder and into the trees, developing a love for the mountains and powder that has stuck with me.

Over the past few years, we have become a bit more adventurous in our snowboarding, venturing into the backcountry, where you can still find fresh powder even after the rest of the mountain has been tracked up by other skiers.

While I love these adventures, I struggle constantly with fear as we fly through the trees. You do best in these situations when you are loose and flexible, but I often find myself tensing up, getting stiff and awkward trying to get down the mountain. Sometimes I even start sliding down on my butt just to get through the snow. There are some days I just want it to be over.

Don’t Go Alone

As much as I learned to love the mountains as a teenager with my big brother, I also acquired a healthy dose of fear. It was during those years that I made the mistake of venturing solo into some tree runs.

While people ski solo all the time, it is generally recommended that if you go into the trees or backcountry, you do so with a buddy in case there’s an accident. Well, being 18 and naive, I headed into the trees alone.

That day, I ended up face-first on top of a tree well. What’s a tree well? In areas where there are large amounts of snow, the area surrounding big conifer trees becomes a death trap.

The snow past the edges of branches becomes packed down and hard while the stuff right next to the tree and underneath the branches -- the tree well -- stays soft and fluffy and deep. You fall in head first and you can suffocate quickly.

Luckily, even though I fell on a tree well, I landed sprawled out on top of it and did not sink into the snow. However, if I had moved, I would’ve sunk head first into the snow and could’ve easily suffocated. It didn’t take me long to realize the danger I was in.

The sun was setting and I was in the woods, all alone. I screamed “HELP” louder than I ever thought possible and by the grace of God, a skier heard my cries and came to my rescue. They risked walking into waist deep snow to unhook my board and pull me to safety. Lesson learned. Don’t go alone.

Focus on What You Want to Grow

Fast-forward to today. I still struggle with fear from that incident. It’s a repetitive cycle of fun powder skiing, my mind going to tree wells, and becoming paralyzed by fear.

So, this year, when my hubby, Mr. Wags, decided to book a day on a helicopter, offering the best powder of our lives, I knew I couldn’t say no. Yet inside I was panicking.

In preparation for our adventure, he had me watch a video about tree well dangers. While in some ways this exacerbated my fear, I clung to the simple recommendation from the guide in the video:

You stay away from the tree wells by not looking at them.

Look through the trees, visualize your path and GO!

Brilliant! In this moment, I realized that powder skiing was no different than life.

What we focus on grows.
What we shine our light on shines harder.

Our day was amazing. We experienced a day that let all of us check off another item on our bucket lists. We bonded as a family and I didn’t die. I stayed clear in my head, I thanked God for the brilliant adventure I was on and I envisioned myself safely flying down the fresh powder and through the trees. And you know what, that’s exactly what happened!

When I have experiences like this, away from work and especially in nature, it often gives me lightbulb moments. As I finished our day, sun setting, helicopter landing, I realized that my experience in the trees on that mountain in British Columbia could be mirrored into so many parts of our lives.

What we shine our light on grows and becomes reality. Whether it’s a tree well, or something about our loved one that annoys us, or negative thoughts we have about ourselves. You focus on that and that is what you will see and experience.

Healthy Habits Grow When we Focus on the Good

That’s why I love Food for Fuel. In these first few weeks of the New Year, we repeatedly see ads about getting rid of those unwanted pounds and fat, staying away from the bad foods and losing bad habits.

We focus on the negatives and we all know where that leads us! In Food for Fuel, we focus on what we want to be reality: enjoying the beauty of the foods available to us, what we CAN eat and enjoy and how we want to feel – full of energy and health.

So today, visualize yourself sailing right through old barriers and habits and into a life that includes a healthy relationship with the beautiful food that is available to us in our abundant country.

What do you need to shift your focus to today? Let me know in the comments below.