Again and again ...

Again and again ...

It's funny how elusive grace is when it is not recognized as a fresh face. As I grow I find my senses fading--it takes that much more to impress and inspire me: bigger mountains, brighter colors, more powder, pretty faces. This simple truth is something I am not proud of. It is an aspect of Western life that I am working to vanquish in my personal life. I aspire to grow younger with each breath, to see the world with untrained eyes, to realize the elegance of even the simplest things. 

It is difficult to awake each morning without mechanically falling into the same pattern: sigh, stretch, think about the day's activities, eat, eat some more, stretch again, think, work out, eat again, bills, think about the night's activities, look ahead, ski, nap, draw, think, work out, eat, read, think, forget to observe and be aware and realize I forgot to realize, oh well, sleep. Though I cannot necessarily change the bustling motif, I can change the way I thread and walk within it.

As I visit the same places every year (this year was my fourth in New Zealand and my ninth in Chile), I attempt to discover new aspects: ski runs, hikes and walks, mountains, rocks, waters, skies and colors. It is hard to want to explore when I'm so exhausted every day after skiing relentlessly at over 10,000 feet. 

But I have found some mysterious elements, airy and bodiless. Features that require little physical energy and zest. The clarity and song of water. The scintillating blues and screams of the sky. The rolling and boundlessness of rocks. The sparkling fright of snow. Things I can only see unblinking and with piercing focus.

Then there is the tangible. This was my first year in Portillo to hike and ski off piste. Although there wasn't any new snow, light and fleecy as I crave, the corn was gorgeous and marvelously fun. Speed training in Portillo always seems to be challenging, and despite the overall lack of snow this year, the training was splendid.

The sunrises and sunsets were magnificently cheesy, the air was crystal crisp, and the water was bitter ice. I spent much more time down by the lake than I have in the past: kayaking, playing music, ice-bathing, and sun-soaking. 

"Just Bob" was fabricated in Portillo and premiered one night in the hotel bar. Stacey and I jammed on our guitars, Jan Hudec and Chelsea Marshall provided the beats, and Abby Ghent carried her diva voice to the racket. Though it was a rocking evening, there is certainly more to come from Just Bob. We are hoping to play a few times over the winter--we'll next meet up in Colorado for some jamming and perhaps another show. Nothing tickles me more than fashioning music with like-minded compadres.

Mostly the Chilean journey turned triumphant, but with the good intrudes the not-so. I had a slight mishap in downhill training one day and walked away (thankfully) with an annihilated left thumb's proximal phalynx. Youch.

I only missed the last two days of training, so my careful timing was nearly impeccable. My thumb is healing brilliantly now, and I'm back in the states for some off-snow training before heading to Colorado in November. Upon returning home from Chile I went under the knife for a bit of a fix. Now I'm back in Park City, Utah for some physical testing and a week of conditioning camp. I'm already getting antsy and feverish to start training in Colorado in two weeks, and then to race up in numbing Lake Louise at the end of November.

For now, I'll keep to the sticky gym and work my buns til they off themselves. I am toying on a video from Chile, but if you haven't yet seen the one I made from New Zealand you can find that here. Check in for an edit on Chile soon. You can find many silly pictures from my trip to Chile on my blog: http://www.laurenneross.com/blog.html

Until next time, there is always more to see never too distant... Perhaps I'll fathom new discoveries when I return to the old places this, next and all years to come.

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