Thursday, February 12, 2015

When the weather is too awful to sail, go skiing!



Fabulous restaurants on the mountain, just a slight difference from distance sailing.

Skiers and Sailors - a lot in common?

Have you ever noticed that many sailors are also skiers?  I suppose it's the allure of water - whether liquid or solid phase - that takes us off into the wild blue/white yonder. Or is it the natural beauty of the earth around us? Or the wild fury of nature that we need to respect and negotiate? Or is it about the adventure? The need to survive either a pitching boat on a wild ocean or a pitched slope on a wild mountain, and thrive out there against the elements and the unknown, could be the impetus.


Gorgeous day. Let's go!
It's high up here!

Whatever it is that drives us, I personally have always felt that home to me was the place where the mountains come down to the sea. The Alps and the Rockies don't usually have a sea to come down to, but there is often a frozen lake at the base, collecting the overflow of earth's bounty. I love mountains. I love days when they look like flat paper cutouts in shades of purple against a darkened sky. I love when the sun peeks out from behind the clouds spotlighting the spot where God lives, because I know she does and I know when I climb up there I'll be much closer. I love when the peaks are dazzlingly lit up by glorious golden sun against an azure blue sky. I love when they stand menacing in the changing light before a storm, and how they disappear when the storm overtakes us. I love - and hate - the need to work my way down by braille when visibility creeps down to zero, when the world closes in around us and magnifies sound into the eerie cries of otherworldly creatures.  I love when you get to the place where you thought you were half way and realize that you're there, at the bottom, within arms reach of the gondola on one side and cocktails on the other. I know which one I go for first, how about you?

Yet skiing is not quite like crossing oceans, it's more like day sailing. It's only one day at a time, albeit you can cover a lot of mileage.  You still go out for a nice meal and sleep in a warm bed, most likely with a dose of painkillers/anti-inflammatories so you can get out and do it again.

Where did they all go?
No, distance sailing is not like that. If you get into a storm situation, you could be in it for days, even weeks. Your resilience needs to be way up there. Your need for self-reliance is acute. If you suffer from motion sickness, you just have to ride it out. And there's no ski patrol equivalent to always get you down the mountain - or across an ocean - if you cannot do it yourself. Of course, if you suffer from acrophobia, agoraphobia or any of the myriad other phobias, neither of these pursuits is likely to interest you.

Whatever the drive, I know that I love skiing and I adore sailing. I have a feeling that my body prefers sailing these days, but I won't pass the opportunity up either way. Dry or wet, white or blue, I'm a water sign (Cancer), through and through. Fortunately for me, I married a fish (Pisces) who likes both, too. Yipee, which way shall we go today?
Stunning natural scenery. 

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