This weekend I completed my first ski decent of one of the 14ers in Colorado. I did a trip report that contains a bunch of pictures and a log of the days events, but what I want to talk about now is the emotions I felt when I completed the trip. First let me start by saying if you've never hiked a 14er, and you get a chance you should. Even the easiest of the mountains is challengeing, and you'll get to see some awesome views when you get to the top. It's this challenge that brings me back to these mountains over and over, not only looking for the summit, but looking for the summit in the winter.
For the last few years, I've been really wanting to start backcountry skiing. There was always some anxiety about the dangers of backcountry skiing, but living in fear just isn't how I roll. For one reason or another, I hadn't taken the steps to really start getting out from under the lift. That all changed a few months ago when I took a weekend avalanche course and got my first taste of the freedom of backcountry skiing. There were no ropes to tell me where I could and couldn't go, no lift lines, no >$100 lift tickets...it was grand I tell ya! Since then I've done a few trips with my buddy Jeremiah, and one with a buddy I met at the avy class.
Next on my list was to hike/skin up a 14er and ski down. This steps up the game quite a bit, as the snow conditions are tricky, the decent is tricky, and there is a long hard hike before you get to ski down. We hit the trail head by 4am and were back at the truck by 11:30. We got some great views in, got to watch the sun come up while at >13k feet, and got some sweet turns in on the way back down. It was a great day, and the since of accomplishment I felt is something I'll be riding high on until the next decent.
Just about 6 months ago to the day, I went through a breakup that I took very hard. It really made me question what I was doing with my life. Had I just wasted 5 years of my life? What had I done wrong? I had a lot of doubt about the things I was doing, and what my end game for this life is. At first I decided to just put my head down and try to move on without being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I worked out 5 days a week, and I tried to stay busy in the evenings. This mostly worked, but I had lost some motivation to do the things I love. I didn't want to ride the mighty Katoom, or pedal my single speed until my legs were numb. All I wanted to do was stair at the ceiling.
Slowly but surely, I started to come around. I met an awesome woman, I started checking off ski resorts I wanted to go to, I started messing with shit at home in the evenings, I got on a great workout schedule with a buddy, and I started really working hard on my tele skiing. Over the last few months, I've had a ton of fun, and I'm now in the best shape I've been in, in some time. I'm eating healthy, and I'm really feeling good about things. I guess the culmination of that was this weekend when I got up at 1am to go climb a mountain so I could watch the sunrise and ski down. It feels good enough to tell people about it, so there you go.