By: Brad McNally
Many sports are seasonal, and snowboarding is one that is forced to be due to weather conditions in most places. To most people, this means that the end of the snowboarding season can be a sad time and it might feel like a long wait until you can get out on the powder again. This can also make those last trips to the mountain slightly bittersweet, as it won’t be long before spring is here and you are thinking about next season.
This is exactly why snowboarding can be a lesson in Zen Buddhism: the belief that reclaiming the present and being here in the moment is important. By remembering this, you can fully enjoy the last days on your board enjoying the moment instead of dreading the oncoming summer. Although there are places to travel and snowboard year round, many people don’t live near these and need to follow the seasonal path.
Being present in the moment is hard to do, especially with everything else that goes on in our daily lives, but often being out on the mountain with a snowboard can help clear your head and calm you down. It’s hard to imagine that speeding down a mountain can be calming, but it is.
Another way that snowboarding can be a lesson is that things change. If you don’t make it to the resort often, chances are that the major trails are the same, but there are always minor changes going on around you. The terrain park may be moved slightly downhill, and ramps may be rearranged. Areas are closed and opened depending on powder base, and the making of snow means that there may be a trail where there wasn’t one before. These changes can be aggravating, but by staying in the moment, you can enjoy the ride for what it is, not what it could be or used to be.
There is a saying that buddhism isn’t about “...getting rid of the things in this world, but accepting that they pass away.” This can not only be thought of as the slopes change over time, but as the season draws to a close as well. This comes back to your own perspective on the slope. You can step off the lift and strap yourself in, look down, and know that this snow will be gone in a few weeks. Instead of being upset by this fact, you learn to appreciate the time you do have on your snowboard. For those that only get to the mountain once or twice a year, this is especially true, because it isn’t a common event. Before you start thinking that it will all be over soon and your board will be up on its snowboard rack back in your garage, remember that you are in the middle of a great experience. Be present in the moment. Enjoy it!