"Let life enchant you again." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Simplicity
February 23, 2016

The Hidden Joy Of Skiing

I love skiing for several reasons, perhaps most of all because ski holidays are relatively simple actives that involve making very few choices.

I’ve just come back from my third ski trip of this, my third season skiing in Japan. I skied quite a bit in my late teens and early twenties, then, for no particular reason, stopped. It wasn’t until I moved to Japan a few years ago, that the urge to ski came back, partly because some of the best ski fields in the world are only a short train ride away from Tokyo.

Skiing can be fun in a lot of different ways. Skiing can be a very social activity. Or, it can be very a individual challenge, just you and the mountain. Skiing represents a series of technical challenges to ovcerome and skills to be acquired. Or, it can be a free expression of your personality, a dance on snow. Skiing can filled with daring, risk and adventure. Or, it can be a fairly controlled, easy going way to enjoy the outdoors.

But lately I’ve come to realise there’s a particular reason why ski holidays are so deeply satisfying.

Skiing As A Streamlined Set Of Choices

Waking up in the morning, on a ski trip, you are facing with a surprisingly small number of choices. What are you going to do today? Well, ski, of course! What will you wear? Most people pack a very limited range of clothes, one parka, one pair of ski trousers, one pair of boots, a few options in undergarments, that’s it. You get dressed, have breakfast and the rest of the day is pretty much sorted.

Of course, you do then make hundreds of small choices in the day, which run to ski, where to turn, where to stop, where to have lunch. But, these all live in a silo of choices that are skiing related. Most of them are, once you’ve been skiing for a while, very easy, instinctive choices to make. These decisions don’t require a lot of thought, a lot of self-reflection, a lot of “how we do we feel about this” kind deliberation.

Even when skiing gets tough, because fatigue has set in, accidents have happened, or weather conditions are making things difficult or even dangerous, the choices still exist within a fairly limited range of options.

This streamlined set of choices, the limited scope within which you make decisions is actually what makes ski holidays feel so liberating and relaxing. Who you are and what you are here to do have already been defined. So, you just go off and have fun.

Now, to bring a little more of that fun and freedom into everyday life.

Chairlift In Snow - Tsugaike Kogen

leonie 8 years ago

I think a lot about the paradox of choice. How more options are necessarily better, they often lead to poor choice, or no choice because there’s simply too many choices!

I like the fun and freedom within a set of defined constraints. I don’t ski, however I’m sure there’s other ways I can apply the fun & freedom factor in my daily life 🙂

leonie 8 years ago

Oops. I meant AREN’T

“How more options AREN’T necessarily better, they often lead to poor choice, or no choice because there’s simply too many choices!”


fernando 8 years ago

Leonie – yes, I’ve been thinking a lot in the past year about living a designed life. The design metaphor implies making choices that direct the possible future choices. BY making it like this, it can’t be like that. It’s a restriction, but a liberating one.

Skiing got me thinking hard about this, because the trips are so clearly defined, yet I feel so free and creative on them. Though I think the same dynamic applies talking a photo walk, or working in the studio. I’m wondering (aloud) how far we can push this!

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