Pushing Limits

Originally uploaded by Ben Mathes
I remember seeing these cliffs last year on my first day at Squaw Valley and being damn sure I'd never attempt them. I was probably good enough to ski down them without incident, but I assumed it just wasn't worth the risk. There were rocks that I could hit, and at high speeds!

Ask me 6 months ago if I could change something about myself, I would have told you I wanted to be less risk averse. I wanted my gut reactions to be "hell yes, let's do it!", but instead I would subtly be afraid. That reaction subtly shaped the way I thought: That little pit of fear you don't notice that leads to rationalizations like "I'm too tired to go out" when taking advantage of those opportunities is precisely what a full life is made of.

on top of Main Chute
Originally uploaded by Ben Mathes  
This year I went in on a house rental at Tahoe and bought a season pass at Squaw. The goal was simple: ski as much as possible. Along the way, however, I noticed myself getting subtly better, and runs that used to get a little adrenaline going would no longer instill fear. I would be far more alert, sure, but it was excitement and not wariness.

The photos you see here were taken today. I remember last year seeing the cliffs in this photo and telling myself I would surely never ski them.

I hiked up there and skied down them today, and it was actually pretty easy. Let's get out there and do stuff!