fear and skiing

Last Friday we rose early, bundled up in our winter gear, and drove the two hours over to Crystal Mountain Ski Resort . This little winter paradise is stuck in the Mt. Rainier national park and on a clear day you have great views of the summit. We got a little nervous on the drive up when we saw signs that the Chinook Pass was closed for the winter.  Not knowing where exactly our turn off was, we were worried that we'd meet a road block before we got to the slopes, especially since we saw exactly zero cars on the road with us. Fortunately Crystal Mountain blvd was right where the Chinook Pass closed. It's still so foreign to me living somewhere that entire highways shut down during the winter months, but it makes you feel like a real Pacific Northwesterner to cross the mountain roads.
Unfortunately it was raining when we got out of the car but we plowed on, rented our skis and poles and hopped on the lifts and headed up an intermediate blue slope. It's been a while since I'd been skiing and I was feeling not so confident. In fact I was feeling downright fearful. I got off the lift and stood at the edge of the run and thought, "well, guess I'm going to live up here now."
I don't know when that happened, or why that happened. I know how to ski! Blue runs are my jam!  I remember going skiing when I was younger and loving the speed, the challenge, proving that I could do harder slopes. I guess it's a part of growing up, and it's a part I really don't like. This deeper awareness that bad things do happen, that there are things in this world to be afraid of, that I have more to loose, that I can't do everything, that I might get hurt. You just don't have that sense when you're a kid.You're either fearless or oblivious.
So there I am, standing at the top of the slope trying to work up the nerve to make that first move, to frenchfrie and pizza my way down. I know by now that T.J. must be wondering where the heck I am. And in my head I can hear my dad's voice. He was the one who taught me to ski and encouraged me to try harder slopes, and celebrated my victories. He was also the one who talked me in to going on one more run at the end of the day, which usually ended up being one run too many. And I inevitably found myself in a similar position to where I stood now, at the top of a tricky turn wondering how I was going to get down without dying (I'm a little dramatic, so sue me). But dad would stand below me, shouting, "Why are you crying?! Come on down! You can't stay up there forever! You can do it! Let's goooo!"  

So as a "grown up" I hear that now, in my head and also from T.J. my new cheerleader. But this time I didn't cry, thank you very much, and even though my legs were shaking, I made the first cut and slowly carefully made my way down. Then I tackled the moguls (that was a fun surprise...I feel like there should have been a sign) and when I finally reached T.J. patiently worrying about waiting for me at the bottom, I declared that it was green runs for me the rest of the day.
But all that aside, we had a really great day out in the snow. We rode the lifts together, then T.J. would hop on the next one to go higher up the mountain, and we'd meet back at the bottom. We wore ourselves out until the rain and fog made it impossible to see and we headed to the lodge for lunch. After a couple beers and a lot of actual french fries we opted not to go back out on the slopes. At the car we peeled off soaking wet layers, then headed home to take late afternoon naps by the fire. The perfect end to our winter excursion. 

And even though I was a bit of a chicken, I want to go back and do it again because I got back a little bit of that confidence I had as more reckless kid. And I realized something about my fear and I don't just mean fear of wiping out on the slopes, but real fear that I struggle with. Fear of the unknown, of the future, of feeling out of control, of getting hurt. I realized it all boils down to a lack of faith. God commands us, DO NOT FEAR! Easier said than done right?  But even though my dad isn't always standing at the bottom of the slope telling me I can do it, my heavenly Father is always with me, telling me I can trust Him. And I don't want to let my fear drown out that voice, and I don't want to miss out on the abundant life He has planned for us.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 
2 Timothy 1:7

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 
Joshua 1:9


  1. It's usually my kids dragging me to hard runs and I am like, nope, find a friend! But it's so fun to try most of the time. Even if I like to stick with the bunny slopes!

  2. You sure do better than me! I went on a beginners slope and stood there for 15 minutes, willing myself to push off. Little kids were speeding past me!! I made it to the bottom without falling, took off my rented skis and have never gone back. That was about 40 years ago. Now, I don't care to ever see snow in person. I'm glad you had a good time and got your confidence back! Great photo of you and T.J.!!

  3. Well you've skied with me, so we won't discuss that : ) One thing I've learned is that the more we step out of our comfort zone, the braver we become. And the more we cocoon ourselves in safe places the more fearful we become. Also, sometimes the world equates bravery with danger, but danger is danger and God gives us sense to recognize this, so it's good to pay attention to that. You are brave my sweet girl. In a million ways. Keep being brave.

  4. I LOVE this post. I struggle with fear in a lot of areas in my life. Esp with being adventurous. My dad is a cheerleader too, and now my husband is and has really help me grown. Clinging to God's word DAILY haha, and trying to breathe and conquer my way through it.

  5. Way to combat your fears!!!! I've never been skiing but I KNOW I would be terrified!!!!

  6. I'm glad you pushed forward. I miss skiing with you and in particular skiing in France and Austria. You are a good skier and a sweet daughter. Miss you all the time. Play hard, have fun but be careful. XOXOXOX Dad

  7. Hi Shannon! I'm a blog friend of your mom's and I enjoyed reading some of your posts. Looks like you're enjoying your new adventures as a newlywed! I tried skiing several years ago and I spent more time on the ground than standing up. Hey, at least, I tried! :)

  8. I skied for many years, despite the fact that I was a late beginner. (30's) I did okay, although I always felt like I was standing at the edge of my comfort zone.
    We skied with a group one year, and they were far better than me. That was the year, they all skied away from me and I had a bad fall. You know, the kind where the toboggan brings you and your skis down the mountain? I wrecked my knee, and despite that returned to skiing the following year.
    This year I had cervical spine surgery and my doctor got me off the hook. No more skiing.
    I'm closing in on 60 and I am so relieved!
    However, all that being said, if you enjoy it, and want to teach your kids when they are young, then keep going. Take lessons to help you learn and gain confidence. It's a great family sport.


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