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Five Positive Reminders for When Things do not go as Planned

Cross Country Skis on frosted grass

Discover the power of positivity in a year with little to no snow. While some may see a lack of snow as a disappointment, it is important to focus on the bright side. 

With over 35 years in the snow sports business, I have experienced many ups and downs with the weather. This year so far, with the across-the-nation snow drought, wins some sort of sad prize. I absolutely LOVE snow and all that a snow-filled day delivers. My business/vocation and avocation revolve around the ski business and skiing. I am immersed in all the ski touring, ski coaching, ski racing, the Birkie board, ski buying, and selling, and the list goes on. When life goes well, or at least when it is easier, I do not have to dig too deep to improve my thoughts and behaviors; I am happy and busy. As we know, unexpected business and life challenges trigger the need to re-examine how we approach adversity. With the holiday buying and winter vacation here and gone without snow fun and snow business, I must remember that struggles are gifts in disguise.

 

Five positive reminders when things do not go as planned:

1. Grab onto the positivity of others and do what you can. 

The last three Gear West Women's only programs I have organized with Cindy have brought smiles and a focused desire to learn. I was so pleasantly surprised! The early December Women Wine and Chocolate Ski event in Seeley, Wisconsin, was held on 2.5k of man-made snow. I thought things were bad then. (Ha!) We could not spread the clinic congestion to ski on the unusual snow on the north and south Birke trails off 00. We poured 150 or more bodies plus 15 coaches into the crowds already enjoying the Birke Start man-made loops and managed to ski and eat cookies without complaints. 

The Gear West Rossignol We Rise Women's event at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis, held a week later, faced its launch after 18 hours of nonstop rain! The event happened. Thankfully, the rain stopped a minute before the skiers arrived. Most of the women showed up, some with rainhats. The weather was warm, the snow slushy, yet there was much skiing to teach on 2k of snow.

My thoughts of holding the second clinic in the foggy mist and slush were depressing enough. Nope, ski clinics can face worse issues, no snow! Over the New Year's Eve weekend, Cindy and I held a ski clinic in the Hayward Area. During this time, not even a spec of snow was anywhere on the ground, and the man-made area was closed! Pole hiking, dryland drills, and Cara Battles’ PT talk about glute strengthening were the day's highlights. Again, the 46+ women who attended brought only enthusiasm and good cheer to the day.

Lessons learned? I expected the worst from the ladies, instead they gave me their best. It was I, who had to mentally reset to match their grace and enjoyment of the opportunities at hand.

2. The goal of fitness and enjoyment of outdoor beauty can be achieved if one wants it. 

Pole hiking. Rollerskiing. Biking. Running with poles. Outdoor strength with a picnic table. Much activity can be had, even on January 1, with a one-inch snowfall. Fun can be found through expanding and modifying your usual activities. Three hours of pole hiking through the leafless north woods in winter was new and presented its unique sparkle. Sit-ups, push-ups, hill bounding, and dips complete with mittens and hats. Friends can deliver rosiness to the cheeks. It is all a matter of attitude.

3. We cannot change the impossible, so quit trying. 

Always cut the self-pity. Instead, increase creativity, look for opportunities amidst setbacks, and build yourself into a person who focuses

on what they can improve. Moving forward with positivity is the only way to live. Be appreciative of the manufactured snow we have and the hardworking folks who are making it. Wishing the weather to be different is like hitting your head against a brick wall trying to figure out monthly sales tax. I must STOP IT! By spending my energy more wisely, I will be ahead of others who do not. More importantly, I will be happier.

4. Find new ways of training for the race that WILL happen. 

Do not give up. For skiing, do what you need to do to stay fit. Add dryland training, as I mentioned in #3. Ski your loops on the man-made snow and focus on drills. Subscribe to ski videos and improve your technique. Create

a workout so you will spend 90 minutes skiing on 2k man-made trails among a sea of high school teams without going crazy. Eat more nutritiously as it may give you some edge, and any edge on the training you cannot do helps. Focus on core body strength to reduce injuries. We have time to do what we might not have done if skiing on snow was plentiful. Make what you do work. Something good will happen, be ready for it.

5. Continue honing the balance of short-term enjoyment and long-term mental toughness. 

Appreciate our gifts, be it health, nature's beauty with or without snow, friends, or family to share activities. Or build the habit of reviewing your daily gratitude list. We must enjoy and make the best of each day, even if plans change unexpectedly.

 

Making my living in the ski business necessitates long-term discipline if the business is to survive all the variations of winter. It is not so fun to take the cash made in good years and store it away for bad years, struggles are unavoidable. Strategies to conquer adversity are a healthy long-term life approach. This snowless winter positively demonstrates and champions the safety net(s) one must consider for success. Just as strength training contributes to the resiliency of a person, especially should they face a fall. I am thankful that my past choices have made TODAY more positive.

~Jan

Owner of Gear West Ski and Bike

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