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Liquid dreamin’

Paul E. AnnaAspen, CO Colorado

This is the time of year that many folks in the Roaring Fork Valley exchange their snow sliders for wave riders as they head to the beaches of California, Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii and even Bali for some surfing. And, while there may be marked differences in techniques, the vibe between skiing and surfing makes them very simpatico.It only makes sense, as both sports are based on liquid. We all know that the powder we crave in winter has its genesis in the storms that sweep over the ocean, collecting moisture and transporting it above the coasts and the deserts before dumping it on our mountains. Those same storms are responsible for whipping up the waves, the long sets, the lines, that surfers seek. A frozen surface is still a liquid surface, and in skiing you are riding a byproduct of what surfers live for.Even more important, skiing and surfing are both about being outdoors and in nature. Think back to the snowy days of January (yes, there were a few) when you were totally blinded by the wind-whipped snow. You were cold, and you could see only white as you skied by little more than the feel in your feet down a hill with a fresh coat of snow. But you felt alive. You felt like you were in it.Being in the water is much the same thing. You sit on your board, waiting for the swell to lift you as you watch the sunshine on the water and the rainbows arc across the sky, as the rain feeds the waterfalls that tumble down the cliffs, into the ever greener valleys just beyond the rims of the white sandy beaches … OK, maybe it’s not exactly the same thing. But you get the idea, being in the water and being in the mountains both give you a sense that you are at one with nature. Or least a pretty close observer.And both sports are also about finding new challenges. Skiers are constantly seeking out new runs or terrain to get a thrill. In the water, things are somewhat similar. Not only is it about the size of a wave, though a big wave can raise the adrenaline rush much like a steeper slope, but also it is also about the topography of where you’re surfing. A steep beach break may challenge some while a sloping left off a reef break can be just enough over a rider’s head to get them pumped. Conversely, tree skiing may do it for some skiers where others seek out the bumps or dumps to get their kicks.Yes, while skiing and surfing are clearly different sports, they are certainly close cousins. Close enough that if you like one, you’re almost assured to like the other as well.So this summer give it a try. Catch a wave. You’ll be sitting on top of the world.


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