What Do You Think About When You Are Skiing?


Do you think about politics and pandemics while you're skiing? A pint of beer for après. Or when the mountains are calling are you too busy thinking about how you're skiing or snowboarding to answer them?...

We had been charging full throttle down boilerplate pistes when Gav remarked how he'd been telling himself to keep his weight forward on the balls of his feet to get a good edge. I told him that I never stop telling myself to keep my weight forward along with bending knees, rolling ankles, head up and any other thought that might make me ski better.

Every now and then, a claxon interrupts in my brain with a loud alert about the terrain: Look out. Ice! Bump!  Also, warning, warning, snaking ski schools and out of control twats on blades.

Gav said, actually the same. Of course, it's different off piste. Terrain, weather, snow conditions, avalanche dangers and route finding are obviously major thoughts when backcountry. Plus do we have beers at home?

It's why skiing (or snowboarding) is such a great escapism sport, when you can truly get away from life's troubles. I can honestly say that politics and pandemics never occur to me while dropping in through the trees. Just keep turning and don't hit a tree or get swiped by an overhanging branch and, damn, don't let my goggles get scratched, is about all I can manage to think about. But it's when it comes to cruising groomed pistes, that I'm dishing out criticism in my head like an army drill sergeant if I feel I'm slacking.

I've been trying to think of any sport that is a similar mental workout. Bouldering certainly empties the mind of cluttering thoughts that get in the way of climbing up an indoor wall with no ropes. But it's more problem solving, figuring out the handholds and trying not to fall. Doing a tough fitness class, also, empties the mind of daily strife, but it's filling it with pleas from your body to go easy and 'please let these burpees stop'.

Running, for me, is the complete opposite, an opportunity to think with no interruptions and great for problem solving. During a 10k run I can sort out any issue that's worrying me, do a shopping list, redecorate the living room or even write blogs for STYLE ALTITUDE in my head.

The only time I can shut up my brain's relentless ski instructions is when I sing to myself. This is if I'm in a (for me) scary situation that's maybe a steep drop in and so I distract myself in order to relax with one song, the same one every time: 'She flies like a bird in the sky aye-aye'. Don't ask me why that song, it's not like I was ever a fan of Honeybus!

So what are you thinking (or singing) while skiing or snowboarding? Send us an email and we'll add it to the blog: style@stylealtitude.com.