Do you remember that day? When you started from scratch with something new? The day where you were thinking "Is this really the best decision of my life?!"
On Monday the 7th of January I started with the Section 8 Snowsport Leadership Program at Mount Washington Alpine Resort and believe me I asked that question to myself a bunch of times that week!
In my last blog I described why I am taking the challenge to become a Ski Hero in one season. A Ski Hero who would become a level 2 ski instructor, jump a 360 and do a backflip, all in my first season on skis. And in that blog I outlined the financial struggle that was making it hard to realize my dream.
In addition to my internship with Section 8 I was able to get a job working for Mount Washington in the Season Passes office. Without a doubt the mountain was the best place to begin a career in this industry. Mount Washington is small enough to get to know all the staff and the workings of the mountain, plus it has the advantage of awesome snow and natural beauty. So I began helping to prepare the mountain for the winter season. The Season Pass job gave me more than just a wage; it showed me that the level of preparation needed to operate a mountain for the winter season involved more than I ever imagined. Believe me, it's more than just pushing the green button to start the lifts when the first snow falls.
So then I had two jobs and I was earning money! However it wasn't enough to cover the cost of my journey so I spent my free hours emailing potential sponsors to convince them to sponsor my project. It turns out that doing this takes heaps of patience, something that I don't have at all. But I do have perseverance and now I'm one of the most inexperienced sponsored skiers in the world! The Zero to Ski Hero journey is supported by brands as Elan Skis, GoPro, Gloryfy, Dream.do and heaps more.
"Bloody nervous doesn’t even come close to describing it"
Day one of the 12 week Section 8 course found me standing on top of the Hawk lift. It felt like my feet were encased in concrete blocks and my skis had a mind of their own. Bloody nervous doesn’t even come close to describing it!
The other skiers in my group noticed that I was unusually quiet and lacked my normal chitchats with everyone. I felt the pressure. Not only the pressure to reach my goal to become a Ski Hero in one season but also the pressure of the promises I made to family, friends and sponsors.
The first week of the course was intense in its own right but especially so because good old Mount Washington decided to have a huge powder dump! The challenge was both physical but also mental. Especially when I was on skis for the first time in my life while looking at snowboarders jumping around on the slopes and having fun. I was having enough trouble trying to control my skis and stay upright! Physically, emotionally and mentally it was exhausting; I've never found my bed so early in the evening!
After five years of providing snowboard lessons it was a shock to realize how intense and intimidating it is to be a beginner on the slopes! A new sport takes so much energy, then there's the control of your skis you need to worry about, then everyone is passing you so fast on the mountain!
At one point after an awkward fall involving a face full of powder and a runaway ski, I looked to my instructor Tobin Leopkey for advice. He smiled and replied by saying "Erik, it's all part of the toughening process".
This week I realized that this journey will be long, hard and tough but I am pretty sure that the reward at the end of this season will be completely awesome!
Bring it! www.facebook.com/cleveradventuring