January 4, 2010

Ski Karma ~ Kelsi Coia.

Keep it mindful while shredding the gnar (aka powder)!

I was lucky enough to move to a ski town, Aspen, when I was a young child, and have skied and snowboarded ever since.

Snowboarding is one of my most favorite things to do. Like yoga, snowboarding (and skiing, and telemarking) continues to be fun, challenging (mentally and physically), inspiring, and humbling every time I ride.

And almost every day I snowboard is a great day…almost.

Unfortunately there are days when my Rocky Mountain High (wokka wokka) fizzles out, due to any number of possibilities: instances of inconsideration, on my behalf or others; accidents; or downright meanness.

I believe in Karma. And I believe in Ski Karma. And two days ago my bad Ski Karma caught up with me. As I boarded the lift to take another run on my favorite mountain, I planted my hands to hoist my shorter-than-average self onto the lift. Unfortunately the boy next to me decided to sit at that exact time and ended up smooshing my hand. And BAM! My hand popped twice (because of a break, I was sure) and I saw stars from the pain. He mumbled a sorry in his too-endearing-to-be-mad-at British accent as I winced and mumbled “No worries” back. I held squeezed my hand and bit my lower lip in order to keep from screaming and/ or crying and/or yelling obscenities at the poor chap who smooshed me. In my head, I kept repeating to myself, “He didn’t mean to… Remember, Kelsi, forgiveness, forgiveness, foregiveness.” By the time I made it down to the bottom, I was a sobby mess. Luckily I found a ski patroller (read: angel from heaven) who quickly made me an improvisational splint and sent me off to the doctor. I later found out I hadn’t broken my thumb, merely popped the knuckles and sprained it really bad (which shows how much of a pain tolerance I don’t have).

The whole incident got me thinking- since everything happens for a reason, and Karmic forces are always at play, what’s the meaning behind this hand squashing incident?

Obviously not all Karma is instant Karma (although sometimes I wish it was), so I am betting I’ve done something slope-side or otherwise to cause such a painful reminder that Karma is totally real. Then I started thinking about a list of things that might lead to bad Ski Karma (most, or all, of which I have definitely done at one point in my ski career). So I thought I would share it with you all, you mindful-life and elephant-reading enthusiasts, to see what you think and to possibly help shed light on actions that may not be exactly “mindful” while on the slopes.

1. Watch where you rest your rump. (Obviously this is a very sensitive point for me as I am writing this wearing my brand-spankin-new plastic-bionic-thumb-holding hand case). Getting on the lift can sometimes seem like a hurried action, where everyone must squeeze together and jump on at the same time. But it’s not. So let’s all take a breathe and take our time sitting down. There’s plenty of room for everyone.

2. Slow ski zones are for slow skiing, oddly enough. Near the bottom of all mountains, and on certain “beginner’s runs” there are often hot orange or day-glow green SLOW signs. They are there for a reason. And the reason is not to inspire ironic humor. There’s no need to be setting speed or time records in these areas. Chill out. Enjoy the scenery. Stop trying to knock over small children like bowling pins.

3. The lift line is not Nascar. I repeat, the lift line is not Nascar. That means, once you are in line, you’re IN LINE. Everyone gets up the mountain eventually, I promise. Things go much smoother if you hang tight and wait for your turn instead of knocking over small children like bowling pins (again) or skiing over everyone else’s skiis/snowboards to scooch to the front of the line.

4. Gondolas are not gossip booths. I just read Yoga Journal’s awesome article about gossiping. One of the biggest take-away points from the article, for me personally, was that we (or I) do it way too much. And unfortunately, sometimes gossiping ends up interfering with the rest of my life. The ski life or gondola easily lends itself to be a “chamber of secrets.” Snowboarding gives me some of the purest happiness I’ve ever experienced and there is no room for gossiping’s negative energy. There are few worse experiences than a perfect powder day interrupted by snarky words sputtered into a cell phone by someone sharing the gondola car with me. Yuck.

These are all mindful, respectful ways to avoid skiing karma. Enjoy the ride of your life!

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