By Hannah Beane
“Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul. Weather to all who can read it.” – Martha Graham
We live in a ski town. Whether you like it or not, it’s hard to get away from the talk about the lack or abundance of snow falling from the sky. It is well-known that ski towns across the west rely on the snow for their economic livelihood. But, for many people, the importance of snow goes beyond the economic realm. For many people snow has an importance to their well-being physically and mentally.
Dolores LaChapelle, a famous skier and mountaineer said,
“Powder snow skiing is not fun. It is life, fully lived, life lived in a blaze of reality. What we experience in powder is the original human self, which lies deeply inside each of us, still undamaged in spite of what our present culture tries to do to us. Once experienced, this kind of living is recognized as the only way to live — fully aware of the earth and the sky and the gods and you, the mortal, playing among them.”
In this quote, LaChapelle, explores snow’s effect on people. Even though she is talking about down-hill skiing, I believe that no matter how you interact with snow, it can have a powerful effect on our mentality. As a skier of all sorts and a general explorer of the out-of-doors, I find snow as tool, which magically transforms well-known landscapes anew. Not only can snow be a transformer of landscapes but also a facilitator of movement.
Often, people who participate in outdoor sports, such as skiing, biking and climbing, talk about trying to find a flow. Flow can be a mental release when we no longer are enveloped in the thinking of an action. Instead, we let go and let our movement happen naturally. Snow, as a fluid material itself, is a natural fit to finding movement and flow.
When we come back inside and out of the snow check out Dolores La Chapelle’s book: Deep Powder Snow: Forty-Years of Ecstatic Skiing, Avalanches, and Earth Wisdom