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Confession time: I have a habit of making sweeping statements about things I’ll never do, and then watching myself eat my words later — and like it.
Maybe you do that, too? Please tell me you do that.
Here’s some examples: There was a time that I said I would never, under any circumstance, move to Alaska. Ha.
And then there was way back in the winter of 2007, when right after Christmas, I moved cross-country from Washington D.C. to Washington State with my then-boyfriend, now-husband Luke. We stopped in Boise to see my parents who had moved there a few years prior. I had never skied before in my life. My dad wanted to go skiing. I said, fine, sounds fun. And off we went.
Now, my first mistake was having absolutely no correct gear of any kind. I’m sure I was wearing just some janky old socks. I was also in jeans and a lightweight ski jacket that came to my waist. I think I had on a scarf and some kind of borrowed hat. Gloves? Probably. I dont remember.
But I do remember that I was COLD. I also remember my now-husband telling me that he would teach me how to stop as we went do the hill from the first lift. I was not given any instructions on getting on and off the lift.
Now, if you’ve ever skied before, you know what’s about to happen. If you haven’t, let me just tell you that lifts are kind of scary if you have no idea what you’re doing. They arent hard to get off, but you do need to know how. Put your tips up, when the lift comes over the place where you get off, put them down on the ground and stand and ski forward as the lift continues to move. If it’s your first time, maybe shout “can you slow it down?” at the liftee and he or she will be a pal and help you out.
I did none of these things. Instead, I stood up, immediately fell over hard onto the ice under the lift and almost got nailed in the head. I was shook-up, for sure — a little scared. And in no mood to learn how to stop on my skis on the way down. And yet, there I was. Also? For all of my husband’s wonderful qualities, which include extreme confidence, he was not a very experienced skier and had absolutely no business teaching someone brand new to skis how to stop on the way down or otherwise. That’s all changed these days, of course, but at the time — it was a big no.
And so I spent my very first trip downhill on skis very angry, worried that I would soon be sailing over the big drop on the side and/or stuck in a snow bank where I had fallen. And please remember I was in jeans. JEANS. No base layer. Just jeans. We have discussed this many times, friends. Jeans are not good for winter adventures.
Anyway, all of this resulted in me getting to the bottom, informing him that I would not be skiing with him anymore, and spending the rest of the day riding the little conveyer belt magic carpet up a tiny hill and trying to teach myself how to stop on the way down.
I also decided I had no interest in skiing ever again. Ever. Not when we lived in Washington State. Not any time. Ever.
And when, 9 years later, we moved to Alaska? Nope. No plans to ski. We even filmed an episode of the reality TV show living Alaska, and in it I said I would not be skiing. Join me as we listen to the audio of that moment, now broadcast countless times across the nation.
[Living Alaska episode audio]
All of that to fast-forward to this week’s outside time, when I was itching to clip on my cross country skis in the tiny little bit of fresh snow gifted to me overnight, and step into the woods. I cross country ski for my outdoor time, gliding through the ungroomed trails, as often as the snow allows. And I downhill ski frequently during normal winters, although not this year thanks to my surgery in September.
Does it bother me that I have to eat my words like that? A little. And I could let obstinance keep me from having a good time or doing hard things. But instead I try to use my “I’ll never” statements as outdoor inspirations. I try to examine the why behind them. Is it because I don’t think I’ll be good at it or it will be boring? Then I try to find a way to try it and hunt for the good. Is it because I think, based on other experiences, it’s something I really won’t like? Then that’s fine — sometimes there are good reasons to not try things. I’m comfortable saying that I won’t be sky-diving, and that’s not going to change. It’s totally OK to have things you just don’t like.
But everything else? I’m fine eating my words, honestly. If making sweeping statements is what ultimately puts doing a certain thing in my brain, fine. And being a fool for a great skiing session instead of obstinately sitting out the fun doesn’t bother me at all.
Meanwhile, we’re continuing to celebrate our first birthday here at Humans Outside and our new winter 2021 Get Out Gear Guide. This week we’re highlighting the Cairn gear subscription box that every month sends you up to $50 worth of stuff from top brands. It’s filled a need for us every time I’ve ordered one — and I always order it as a gift for Luke. Of course, it’s not too late to do that now for Valentine’s Day. And we’re giving away a two-month subscription as a way to highlight that Gear Guide and celebrate our first birthday. You can find a link to the giveaway in the show notes — it’s open for entries until Feb. 11 — and go to getcairn.com to see more about subscriptions. That’s getcairn.com
Next week’s outdoor diary is going to be extra fun because I’ve got a little bit of a change in scenery coming to share with you. I’m really excited about that. And if you want to see what we’re up to, hit up Humans Outside on Facebook and Instagram. You can share your outdoor time there, too, by tagging #humansoutside365. I definitely want to see it. And until next time, we’ll see you out there.