I spent the past few days snowboarding in Courmayeur, which was awesome. It’s a passion that I get to indulge in too infrequently.
I did quite a lot of thinking whilst in the mountains, and I realised that snowboarding can teach you an amazing amount about life and business. What a great excuse to hit the slopes if you ever needed one – “It’s part of my business education”. Maybe that should even make your trip tax deductible…
Enough daydreaming though, here are 11 lessons snowboarding can teach you. I’ve phrased a question with each to provoke your thinking about how the same lesson might apply to whatever you’re currently doing.
1 – Be in the moment.
Enjoy what’s going on right now. There’s nothing like cutting a fresh track through a steep field of powder to put everything else out of your brain and make the world slow down.
Are you busy thinking about what’s coming next, or taking in every second of now?
2 – There is always someone better than you.
Whether you like it or not, it’s true. Do strive to get better, but if you’re happy, then ignore everyone else. There’s also always someone behind you on the progression curve. Be nice to them and remember what it felt like.
Are you worried about what everyone else is doing, or are you concentrating on the best thing for you?
3 – If you aren’t crashing, you aren’t trying.
Taking some spills is inevitable if you’re pushing yourself to get better. If you don’t lose it a few times you’re probably missing out on being able to do much more than you thought.
Are you holding so much back that you never slip up?
4 – Talking about snowboarding is fun
But only actually riding gives you something to talk about.
Are you doing enough to have great true stories to tell in the bar, or will you have to exaggerate and embellish?
5 – You are not your equipment
There’s no need to have a £1000 snowboard to have fun on the mountain. It’s about the experience, not the gear. Conversely though, things get difficult without the right equipment. Riding in falling snow without goggles is pretty much impossible, and you’re not going to have any fun if your coat doesn’t keep you warm.
Are you spending your money on the things which help, or the shiny thing with the seductive marketing?
6 – It’s more fun in a group
A day with your best friends on a small hill in poor conditions can still be amazing. Your team will help you out when you’re stuck, and wait if you crash. Not got your snowboarding gang yet? Get to the resort and talk to people there, don’t waste your time trying to find the one person in your town that might be interested.
Are you hanging out with the right people? Are you out there where the action is?
7 – Seeing other people progress rocks
The look on a beginners face when they link their first turns in control and without eating snow is priceless. You can literally see the possibilities and experiences open up before them.
Who are you helping along the way?
8 – Fresh tracks are the most fun
The feeling of being the first one down a pillowy soft field of freshly fallen powder is like nothing else on earth. These sort of runs are rare (which makes them special) but you can increase your chances of experiencing them by:
- Spending a lot of time in ski resorts – the longer you’re there the better chance of a huge snowfall
- Using tracks and lifts that others have laid to get you to the good stuff.
- Being up early and in line for the first chair, not nursing your apres ski hangover.
- Are you doing something original?
- Are you putting in the effort to the right things?
- Who can give you a head start?
- What’s your equivalent of getting distracted by the bar?
9 – Fast isn’t everything
Snowboard racing isn’t very popular. It’s all about having a good time, not being the first to the bottom.
Are you racing for a reason? What are you missing along the way?
10 – Having lessons makes sense
It is possible to learn without a good instructor, but from personal experience I know it takes a lot longer, is a lot more painful and expensive to get to the same place than if you do hire one. It’s definitely worth it.
Are you learning from the right people? Are you investing in your own development?
11 – Look at the Gaps, not the trees.
This is my favourite. It’s so simple, but makes such a difference. When snowboarding, your direction of travel is closely correlated to where you look. If you’re trying to ride through a forested slope, look at the gaps and you’ll hit the gaps. Look at the trees and…
Are you looking at the opportunities (gaps) or the risks and obstacles (trees)?
What do you think? What do you love about snowboarding that I haven’t mentioned? Can you relate to the questions?