One of the first loves of my life is being outdoors. Being fortunate enough to have this instilled in me at a very young age inspired me to pass this on to my sons. Growing up in Southern California, and then North Lake Tahoe, NV, exposed me to a diverse combination of outdoor experiences, from surfing and camping to backpacking, skiing and boating. After university, I spend 5 years working in the TV industry. When the opportunity to leave the suburbs of Los Angeles came along, without hesitation, I jumped at the opportunity.
Flash forward 3 decades, and here I am. I've built a company around creating videos and marketing materials mostly for global enterprises in high tech, healthcare and manufacturing. Nevertheless, I get a smattering of opportunities to shoot outdoor recreation, but not too often.
This is a milestone year for me personally in several ways, one of which is a commitment to living a richer, fuller experiential live. By doing so, I try to give more, which is the best reward for living. Through my work, I am able to do deeply discounted (pro bono) work for a a variety of non-profits. Primarily Cocoon House, a local organization working to end youth homelessness.
This year, my son Forest decided he wanted to give skiing a try. Forest doesn't walk, but he get's around pretty good in a wheelchair. He called Outdoors for All, a Northwest organization committed to enriching lives of people with disabilities through outdoor recreation. He signed up for a 7 week winter session up at Stevens Pass Ski Resort. to learn to ski. So when he asked me if I'd take him to the sessions this winter, I was thrilled. Having gotten burned out a bit on skiing, I took this as an opportunity to make the most of it and volunteer to help out.
What didn't occur to me was the amount of training one needs to do such a thing. What an endeavor it is to get people outdoors, let alone people with disabilities. Thus started my adventure as a volunteer assistant ski instructor for this amazing organization.
Two weekends, 4 days, re-learning how to ski. Then learning how to teach skiing, then how to teach skiing to a person with a disability. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Teaching skiing in a very technical lifelong passion that many people spend hundreds of hours doing, leaning to be the best.
For me, this was intense, small group intimate training that was very thorough. I've skied for over 30 years and when someone watches you ski down a hill and asks "What do you feel when you ski?" how do you answer the question? This took a bit of work to answer the question. Not only was it deep self-evaluation of a physical activity, but I had to look deep down inside my soul and ask, why am I doing this? Why at this time in my life? Me, a guy who usually does things on his terms. I've run a business for over 25 years. I lead a team of employees, I'm a father of two sons and husband. Why am I offering myself up for critical analysis of something I do without much thought? Nevertheless, the training was great. I learned a lot. The people were great and I got to ski for a cause.
I deliberately, choose not to have this a father and son, learn to ski adventure per se. Part of my commitment to myself and Forest is to empower him to be self sufficient and do things on his own. So although we go up together, I don't train with him, I get to assist as an instructor for a couple of other participants. Afterwards, Forest and I get to share our on hill experiences and have a great drive home.
I'll be posting some videos and updates from my experience for the session. Stay tuned. Here's a taste from the 2nd session on January 21, 2018.