By: Shaun Gillis
They pop into your head almost every 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Thoughts of the shape, texture, curves and the lines oh the lines. We can all remember seeing our first mountain in magazines or in real life. I can remember the first mountain that I touched I was nervous and excited. As a young lad I jumped in all guns blazing not really knowing how to move, coordinate my hips, legs, arms and the stamina I did not have. The mountain said
“that’s okay it’s like that for the first time”
When you approach a mountain you have to find out a little about her before you dive right in. You have to warm her up with terrain knowledge taking your time to take a look at the run you are about to do. When you decide to make your move you can’t be too aggressive and you don’t want to lollygag and miss your opportunity. Sometimes straight up is the quickest route and sometimes the long way is the safest. One of the most important things is having friends there so if the mountain doesn’t like you can have an escape word; “oh shit” is a good one. Even with the code word never get out of your friends sight those mountains can be tricky. You will gather to share stories of mountain that you have ridden and new techniques that you have learned along the way.
Then we go through a period of not caring what the mountain looks like and how much snow has fallen recently. Not respecting ourselves or the mountain. Then we have a friend taken by a mountain and we sit back. Think about all the wonderful mountains we have done with this lost friend, hell we even tag teamed a couple of those peaks.
Much as other things in life the more that we touch mountains the more relaxed we become. We then meet mountains that challenge us and make us improve our knowledge and force us to be able to lead or follow when the case is needed. With each new mountain a new lesson is gained, for some mountains some of the lessons will work and for others, those tricks just don’t seem to be getting the job done. So we learn to adapt our lessons to suite our current mountain needs. Each mountain has similar traits to other mountains, but don’t treat a mountain just like any other mountain or she will slap the shit out of you.
There is nothing quite like being the first to touch a mountain to take her first D card is an honor and you should respect her in the morning. Even when a mountain has been touched like the town bicycle she sometimes has a break gets refreshed puts powder in your face every turn and that feels like the first time all over again.
With mountains no matter how much respect you give them, no matter how much time you put into them, no matter how prepared you are for her, no matter how special this day should be you never know what she is thinking as long as there is snow on the slope or a twinkle in her eye you can never be too careful. You could be balls deep having the time of your life and she could change her mind mid stride. So don’t forget about foreplay look at the weather, wind direction, how the snow looks, feels, what does the air feel like, any recent slide activity, cut a cornice and know your pick up line nothing worse than ruining a mountain experience with a poor line choice. Sometime the search is diffucult but there is always that sweet spot that will make for a great climax for you and your mountain.