Motivation Bank

I think I’ve always been a fairly motivated person – at least when it comes to pursuing my passions – but I’m starting to think I have a threshold of motivation available. I think the threshold can fluctuate up or down, but if I exceed the threshold, it could result in a full on breakdown of all motivation until I’ve laid in bed staring at my phone for an hour before calling it a day and thinking I’ll just start over tomorrow.

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Still got it… sometimes. (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

In 2012 I was at the inaugural SheJumps Alpine Finishing School. I met a professional skier named Sandra Lahnsteiner out of Austria. Like me, she was in her 30s and in a long stable relationship. We talked about being skiers and having kids and she expressed that she is a passionate person and knows that her passion would move from skiing to being a mom as soon as she had kids. I agreed that the scenario was likely and we both held off on having kids for years to keep skiing until in 2015, I had the triplets. Now I had 3 babies to test the theory with – would I be able to balance 2 passions?

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Some pretty cute guys to be passionate about! 

My kids are 3 now and they are as fun as ever and this is the first time I’m finding my passions collide. I love spring skiing and adventuring but as a working mom, I already have a limited time with my kids… and there are 3 of them! They are already a bit shortchanged in the individual attention department. I recently read this article by John John Florence and felt very inspired to keep my passion for skiing strong in hopes they may find the same passion for the outdoors.

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Pretty easy to be passionate about places like this! (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

The ski season started slow this year, but it was great for toddler skiing. Consequentially, I skied about 2/3rds as much as usual. I barely skied any backcountry, but I did have a few high quality days. I recently went to the Eastern Sierra which is skiing really well about 9000 feet – I’d love to get a few more days down there, but missing full days and nights with my kids not only takes a toll on them and my husband, it takes a toll on me!

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Steep, aesthetic lines call me every spring in the Eastern Sierra – definitely harder to get away! (photo by Greg Marsden)

I also have had the goal of skiing Mt. Rainier for a while now and just haven’t been able to make it happen. I thought it might line up this year, but the partners I had lined up had to change plans and admittedly, with other adulting to do and not wanting to leave my kids again, I happily accepted the delay. Maybe next year.

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Nothing new here, just fun spring skiing at Mammoth.

I have a tendency to think even if I do one new thing a year, it’s been a successful year. I don’t feel I have anything to hang my hat on yet this year, but I did manage to ski a few new lines – unknown couloir on Mt. Dana, a few lines on Emerald Bay I had yet to ski, and a lot of new things at Revelstoke – which should be a whole other blog post.

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Backcountry pond skim telemark turn on glacial blue water – also new! (photo by First Tracks Productions)

Maybe 3 toddlers and working full time is my motivation threshold. Maybe it’s enough to just be in a holding pattern for these next few years. And then, I have a good day, where I still have motivation left in the bank at the end of the day… and that is where the plotting and planning begins. With some good parenting and a lot of luck, maybe 3 planning partners will be in my future.

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BCD, get out the map, let’s plan an adventure! 

 

 

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About last season…

It was a good one! I was able to ski a lot… it felt like this magic window of time where Mother Nature delivered an epic winter and my kids weren’t quite old enough to want to hit the magic carpet every day. Here’s a quick edit I put together with some of the highlights!

 

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Turns all Year 2017?

Did you know it snowed a lot in 2017? Records were broken and the snowpack loomed into July. Mammoth had one of their latest closing dates ever, closing August 6th. Back in 2010-2011, I completed 12 months of skiing at least one time per month – referred to as “turns all year” in the ski community. However, I don’t think these 12 months fell in 1 calendar year… well, because humans are obsessed with numbers, I thought I might try to go for a calendar year. It just seemed too easy!

June 20, 2017 – Skied Shasta, Hotlum ridge from the summit, see previous post.

July 12, 2017 – visited Mammoth Mountain with my husband for our 9 year anniversary day date. Skied 8-noon, followed by some food and beers at the June Lake Brewery and adjacent Ohanas 395 Food Truck (best place ever). And some fly fishing. Possibly my favorite anniversary trip ever. I hope it keeps getting better!

August 21, 2017 – hiked and skied Lassen Peak during the solar eclipse. The sun was only about 90% obscured, but the there was a fun crew up there, a nip in the air when it happened and about 3,000 vert of decent summer skiing with a good crew!

September 9, 2017 – My new ski buddy from the Lassen adventure and I headed out to Ebbett’s Pass and shralped some turns and even fit in a pond skim knocking off the usually difficult month of September.

It’s October 1 and I just have to find a few turns and then I’m in the clear to get 2017 with turns all year. What a silly, meaningless exercise, but it’s great to have goals and nearly impossible to not have fun while doing something you love.

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Big Winter, Long Season, Still Going!

It’s been 80 degrees and sunny for what seems like months in Tahoe. Hard to believe we had a massive winter and are having an equally massive summer – if you can quantify summer by number of sunny 80 degree days in a row. If you haven’t been up here, come and jump in the lake, because despite runoff still cranking, it’s surprisingly temperate!

Lake is nice! Air is nice! Water ski season is in full swing!

Anyway, I really can’t let a ski season go by without skiing Shasta. I don’t know what it is about that mountain, but I love it! So, when a young friend of mine with only a bit of backcountry skiing experience called me up and asked me to take her up Shasta, I jumped at the opportunity!

We rallied up from Tahoe on a Thursday afternoon after borrowing everything we needed for her and arrived about 1 mile from the Brewer Creek Trailhead at 9 PM. We had to pop by Burney Falls because it is amazing! Worth the $8 entrance, don’t drive by this California State Park again!

Burney falls will blow your mind! The water is so cold, the air temperature drops 10 degrees when you approach it!

We woke up around 3 AM and starting hiking around 3:30 – a bit of a rough start in the dark… always surreal and dreamlike, but soon enough, we were on snow and Michael was skinning for the first time! 10 hours later, we were at the summit of Mt. Shasta! It was a long, hard, and hot hike, but Michael impressed the hell out of me!

Sun is rising, a ways to go!

Standing at 14,179′! First time on the summit since becoming a mom to triplets!

Michael slashing a turn on some grade A California corn!

Despite skiing about 2 hours later than I had planned, the snow was great as we chose a slightly more North facing line on the Hotlum ridge! Having skied Shasta about 10 times, it was a new line for me and that was really cool! It was also the first time I summitted Shasta since having the triplets. Last year we had to turn around due to hellacious head winds and post-holing 12″ at 13,300′. It was an amazing ski down though!

A great day on Shasta should always end with a jump in the McCloud River – turns out you can jump right into the Lower Falls!

All in all, I skied 3 x 14ers during the winter of 2016-2017. I had set out to ski 4 news ones, but only got 2. Shasta rounded it out so I skied 1 for each boy and I can’t be dissapointed with that! Next year I’ll try to get Williamson and Tyndall, but for now, back to summer!

The boys are such a fun age right now! Here is Beacan enjoying a surf with me!

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Tahoe Problems

Wow, what a season in the Sierra Nevada – it started snowing in January and really didn’t stop until March 6th. I skied my first groomer of 2017 in mid-March, that tells you something! A season like this has left me conflicted so many times. Ski powder or hang out with the triplets, ski powder or work, ski powder at the resort or in the backcountry… as a friend put it… Tahoe people problems.

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We got a lot of snow this year! 

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The triplets love playing in the snow too, but I wonder if they think this winter is normal

Yesterday I skied “the Cross” on Mt. Tallac – the South Shore’s gem of a mountain. There are so many lines on the Cross right now. I had gone in with the idea of skiing “the elevator” but seeing a few tracks in it, led me to a line that looked just as steep instead that was untracked. It didn’t go that well for me and I started a reasonable amount of slough and took me down for a few seconds. I was able to ski out of it, but I was shaken up a bit. It made me question my decision making ability and whether or not I should be in the mountains in precarious situations or home with my little guys. The answer is probably both, but I need to be happy with the decisions I make and also try to learn from them. I read this quote today, which made me feel a bit better:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Teddy Roosevelt

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When the mountain kicks your ass, it’s best to laugh it off. Exiting “the Cross” (Photo by First Tracks Productions)

I’ve had some victories and I need to remember those. I skied Halls of the Gods for the first time a line that’s been on my list forever and the conditions were pretty great. I skied Mt. Tom, hiking over 7,000 vertical in under 7 hours and skiing great snow all the way down. I skied the Eagle chute above Emerald Bay in powder. And I finally skied the Bear Scratch. In between some of these tick list lines, I had a lot of fun days skiing powder at the resorts and a lot of great backcountry runs with friends. There is still many days left in the season and if I keep putting this type of pressure on myself, I’m going to get burned out. I’m already starting to feel it. I love skiing and I can’t stop thinking about it. I was the same way with soccer and I’m the same way with triplets. In an ideal world, I’d be paid to ski until 2pm every day and then hang out with the triplets the rest of the day, but I’m not sure what kind of person that would make me. Would I then be immune to the struggles of all people, certainly. Let’s be honest, I have it pretty good!

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I got an AT set up this year which I’ve skied a handful of times, here I am skiing out of Halls of the Gods for the first time ever. Good to add a line to the tick list. 

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The summit of Mount Tom – skied from 12,800 down the Elderberry headwall to car at 5,600. Good to know I still had it in me. I missed my boys being gone just 2 days though.

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Luckily the skiing has been good close to home. Here my buddy Domi drops into one of the Emerald Bay chutes

After my little scare yesterday and my continued perception that I’m under performing in the mountains, I’m excited to spend a few weeks focusing on skiing with the triplets, skiing at the resort while it’s open, not comparing myself to some of the slayers on Instagram, and maybe getting out of the Tahoe bubble for a bit. I can always get back to objective skiing in late April or May – or in years to come. In saying this, I cringed a bit, knowing this is a once in 25 year season, but I need to accept that I am enough, I’ve done enough, and my decisions may not always be right, but they are better than making no decision at all.

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Skiing with Declan a few weeks ago! The boys have been skiing about 5 times each and last time was the best time yet! 

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Taking advantage of a warm week in March to hit the beach with my 4 favorite guys. 

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Season Recap via Video

 

About half way through the season, I had the goal of documenting my first real ski season as a triplet mom. I had an old GoPro that had likely crashed one too many times, so by the time I acquired a new one, it was late March. I still was able to collect a bit of footage and compile it into this Triplet Skier Mom Edit! I hope you enjoy it!

Kt Miller interviewed me for this story on Teton Gravity Research. It has more updates than I’m providing here!

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Desk Dreaming

After my morning routine with the triplets, I arrived at work at 8:30 and went through my emails and to do list for the day. I paused for a minute to dream of a generic great adventure, standing high above the world on a peak with amazing vistas, I inhaled the crisp clean air, imagining the challenges I overcame to get there. I snapped back to reality with a work related phone call and then decided to check Facebook where I saw that Matilda Rapaport had died after being caught in an avalanche in South America, undoubtedly the same type of adventure I yearned for. I cried – right there in my office chair. Paralyzed, I thought maybe I should take a break and walk my dog, but I decided to write this. I didn’t personally know Matilda, but she became the kind of person you thought you knew because we had a lot of mutual friends and I followed her on Instagram. I knew she was 30, just married. Though our lives are totally different, I can remember when I was 29 and recently married and all the great things that have happened since. I’m sad because she seemed like the kind of person that would’ve loved what the next chapter of life would bring. Last year, I had a similar reaction to the passing of Liz Daley, another beautiful soul who I may have only met once, but felt connected to. I don’t know why these deaths are so sobering. I feel I’ve gained a sense of risk adversity were I would not ski terrain in snow conditions where avalanches could occur – I mean, I won’t even bike scary things since having the triplets. As females, we’re also reassured in avalanche courses that we are more risk averse – statistics show it. But statistics do not mean it will never happen. I’m sad today for the years these women, who were smart, adventurous, loving, and fun, won’t get to spend on our planet, because we need more people like them now, more than ever. Sending love to Matilda’s friends and family.

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