A few weeks agoI took a trip to Mammoth Mountain in the California Sierra Nevadas to do some skiing with friends.
The mountain was enduring a dry year, but my arrival brought about 40 inches of new snow. (I told everyone I brought the snow with me and I wasn’t kidding.) If you ski or board, you know this is a cause for celebration indeed.
As hardy as this winter has been on the East Coast, we rarely see a 3-ft dump of powder. And while we have plenty of decent sized ski areas, they cannot compare to the vastness and challenge of the West.
Today I want to tell you about what just might be the greatest ski run I’ve ever taken…
Again, picture three feet of new snow blanketing everything in sight. And the very top of a large mountain — 11,000 feet above sea level. To access our drop-in point (it’s an open mountain side, not a trail), we had to do a little climbing. Standing on the literal edge of the mountain, you see the snow cornice — the crusty lip of snow formed by the wind that you have to jump over and clear to begin your very steep descent — and your mind starts whirring.
Just as when you stand on the edge of anything for a moment, as you begin to contemplate, the adrenaline kicks into gear. I heard the crews blasting for avalanches in this area earlier in the morning. I’m not worried, but the thought flashes through my mind as I JUMP in and point my skis down the mountain.
The sensation is different than any I’ve ever felt before. I am floating on top of the snow, and as I head down the ocean of powder carries me. I am not so much skiing as I am surfing a wave. There are no people in front of me, only vastness and snow. I just float float float for 1000 vertical feet or so, feeling alive to my core in ways I cannot describe with words.
I am on the leading edge of this mountain. I am on the leading edge of my life.
I stop and look up the hill, watching my friend Warren (pictured above) have his turn in the bliss.
When he arrives we take a moment to bask in our good fortune. But of course, fortune had nothing to do with any of this. In truth we were reveling in the series of powerful decisions that lead us to this transcendent experience on the side of a mountain.
While this particular run was fantastic, there’s an even better one waiting for me in my future. Don’t know where or when. None of that matters, really. Just details. What matters to me is that I am clear on how much I love living on the leading edge of life. Surfing new waves. Learning new things about myself. Experiencing breakthrough after breakthrough. Taking thoughts and ideas to new places and then watching them POP! into manifestation.
Some people prefer the ski lodge with a hot drink and a book. Nothing wrong with that. There only right way to live is YOUR way…
But I like to live at the top of the mountain, staring over that cornice, feeling the exhilaration, fun, and challenge that life offers to us all pulsing through me.
The leading edge.