Chasing a Sensation
This past year it seems as though happiness + the sensation of it has been a chase. The nature of these difficult times bogs us down like ankle weights, making “happiness” seem an impossible prize. For me, these challenges have been a gift. Granted, it’s been the kind of odd gift you get from your wacky grandparents or your crazy neighbor that you envision living in the back of your closet. Yet, you display it proudly, only realizing later the value it holds. It’s almost as if I’ve returned to a child-like state of consciousness. The little things – warm sun on my skin, a good song, a peaceful moment – are becoming some of the most important.
You can imagine my excitement, then, when a momentous job offer from Sierra-at-Tahoe came through amidst my year (our year) of challenges. After opening day excitement + getting into a working rhythm, my whole team had noses to the grindstone as the dynamic season of operating under restrictive guidelines came underway. While coming to work was still a joy (seriously, I never thought I’d be excited to go work at 5AM), the why of my work became more of an undertone than it was a beacon.
My interactions with my incredibly intelligent coworkers and our guests-turned-family seemed to become less fruitful + our conversation largely surrounded one thing, if you can guess it. The Sierra I knew growing up was fueled by high-fives + good vibes. Under the season’s restrictions + the musty dank smell of my heavily used facemask, it became hard to tell what was fueling us this year.
In the midst of a particularly busy Friday, I was hastily putting on my jacket to go meet someone outside of my office when a painting that I hadn’t yet noticed caught my eye. The wall decor is humble, really, boasting a ski resort scene from before my time. The snow is piled up on the railing in the foreground and behind it a group of brightly dressed folks with narrow skis load an old-school chairlift named “Sensation.” That word stopped my haste and had me frozen, staring deeply at a painting I hadn’t noticed for weeks. That word paired with the scene of skiing in the earlier, simplistic stages of the sport stirred me. Again, it was like I was being reawakened. What mattered most in my job snapped into a crystal-clear vision.
The Sensation of it all… the sensation of participating in a rebel-born industry, the sensation of freedom as you fly down the tree-lined slopes or successfully make your first carving turn, the sensation of being in tune with + at the mercy of Mother Nature, the sensation of being frozen but so content, patiently waiting for first chair while the snow silently falls around you, the sensation of cutting fresh corduroy with your edges under the shining mountain sun, the sensation of comradery as you watch from above the lines being drawn in the snow, the sensation of hearing the pure unadulterated joy coming from distant hoots and hollers, and the sensation of providing a space that celebrates the little things during a time of crisis… that’s the why, the pursuit, and the passion behind my work.
It’s hard not to get emotional about skiing + enjoying the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is my home and skiing was the first sport I ever tried. It doesn’t matter what mountain you come from (if you come from a mountain at all) or if you rock skis, boards, snow bikes or anything in between. The peace that comes from mountain sport is unmatched + something I think we’ve all been chasing feverously this season. I feel honored to have been selected to inspire people to chase their mountain high + the sensation of Play at Sierra-at-Tahoe.