Saturday, November 24, 2012

Getting Into the Flow State

Flow State is Warren Miller's latest ski flick.  His 63rd, to be exact.  As part of Bretton Woods' Homecoming Weekend, we joined a lodge full of enthusiasts for a viewing last night.  What is it about a Warren Miller show that keep even people like me, who don't watch many movies, coming back for more year after year?

The winning formula seems pretty simple: bring some world-class skiers and riders to the most exotic snow destinations on the planet, and let them show off their super-human alpine moves.  Throw in some epic powder, and a few grand-scale crashes just to show how fallible even the most experienced skiers and riders are.  Much of the footage, of course, is taken from helicopters, where the cameraman can take us along on this grand adventure with a close-up of the skier launching him or herself off the lip of a monumental couloir, then zoom out to see how very steep and high this terrain is.  I can feel the nervous anticipation before she takes off, and then the exhilaration of arcing those perfect turns all the way to the bottom.

The skiers and riders are Olympians and pioneers of the sport, the superstars of the snow world, but their stories make me feel, at least for a little while, like that dream skier life isn't so far from reality.  Each interview with an athlete tells us his or her story, and themes of  love of the mountains, love of snow, and love of being outside emerge again and again.  The camaraderie of the sport, the passion we all share, makes me feel as though those monumental runs down epic slopes aren't that far out of reach - I can certainly identify with that rush of adrenaline, that feeling of being "in the zone" when all the conditions are just perfect, when the sun is shining and the snow is soft and abundant, and all the pistons are firing at once to make for that idyllic run: heart pounding, breathing hard and legs burning, but thrilled at the rush of floating down the mountain.   The sentiment "everything else falls away when I'm skiing" is echoed time and again.

This year's film also showcased some young rippers, two 11-year old boys who convinced their parents to let them skip school on a powder day. Although my snow bunnies aren't quite old enough to stay out for a movie premier, I can appreciate the joy these boys felt at doing what they loved, and I was inspired by their passion. They weren't complaining that "there's nothing to do" and they weren't sitting in front of some kind of electronic screen.  Knowing from personal experience that sense of freedom skiing gives me, and seeing kids taking on that passion and making it their own, makes me so excited for the snow days ahead in my little rippers' futures.  

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