Marolt: If you are serious about skiing, don’t count on me
If you enjoy counting how many days you ski every year, please don’t stop on my account. There might be good reasons to do so. For some it’s motivation. For others it feels like a way to screw Aspen Skiing Co. out of the 1,200 bucks they handed over for a pass. It doesn’t have to make sense. If it floats your tips, keep it up.
If you sat down and told me the reasons that you count, I wouldn’t hold it against you. I would listen with an open mind, hoping to learn something. I expect that same courtesy in return as I endeavor to tell you why I don’t count my ski days.
What you think of people who keep track of their good deeds or those who count presents they receive gives you a good idea of what I think about ski-day counting. No more detail is needed, but I will provide some anyway.
For starters, it is a force of habit. I can hardly help not keeping track of the number of days my pass is punched. I didn’t see any reason to do it when I was a kid, and I still don’t. I tried to start several seasons counting but got distracted by Christmas. I know that in this computer age you can ask a lift attendant how many times your pass has been scanned, but that makes me feel like a self-absorbed putz. I mean, really, I’m going to count my days as long as you do it for me?
Another reason I don’t count the days I ski is that I’m too lazy. Ski days are my time off from deadlines and keeping track of stuff. My goal on the slopes is to make a few good turns, clear my mind and work up a sweat. Counting eventually creates pressure — I have to get a hundred days. I have to do more than I did last year. I have to go every day of the third week in February for the fourth straight winter. There’s no end to the possibilities of streaks and personal bests you can wear yourself out over without anybody caring, if they even notice.
In my mind, only people who are in a pickle count days. If I were in prison, I would count days. My senior year in high school, I counted days. I count the days from about Feb. 1 until the tax deadline in April. Every month when I write the check, I count the days until my mortgage is paid off. Call it guilt by association: Why would I lump skiing in with all this other fun stuff?
On top of everything else, counting feels like keeping score for no reason. In my mind, there are already too many people counting how much money they have, how many square feet their lifestyle mansions take up, how many weeks of timesharing they own, how big their companies in the city are, how many minutes it takes them to run/ski/bike/walk backward up to the top of Aspen Mountain, how many people came to their polo party, etc., etc. It’s too much undeclared competition by people who would never admit to competing for the imaginary blue ribbon in self-declared general human superiority. We don’t need more of that on this dirt clod hurtling through space.
Finally, I don’t see what counting the number of days somebody skis proves about anything, least of all skiing. It doesn’t mean you had more fun. It doesn’t mean you are better at skiing. It actually doesn’t even mean you skied more. I believe there are people who stop at Buttermilk on their way into work and ride one lift up to the Cliffhouse to ski one run down and call that ridiculous 20-minute ordeal a day of skiing. Counting obviously drives people crazy! Do you want to go crazy?
Look at it this way: Life is fun, right? How satisfying is it to count the number of days you have lived? Most quit counting the years after about 50 have become melted wax on the frosting. Every day you count becomes a marker that replaces a memory. It’s not my goal to be the guy in the nursing home when they’re taking my final pulse, bragging, “I skied one day last winter, and I’m almost 112.” I want to go out talking about the brilliant blue sky and how soft the snow was that last trip down the mountain.
Roger Marolt counts on getting out when he can. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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