I have recently been looking at things from different angles, as my age awkwardly thrusts me between the stupidity of my youth and the routine of my adulthood. But within this time of my antiquity, I feel as though I have developed a new sense of clarity. It’s one of the sole benefits of being caught between the now and then of the generations. You have the eager curiosity that pushes you to believe in anything, but also have a sharp slap on the back that snaps you into questioning everything.
As we get older, we gain many new perspectives. With this, the adolescent veil of naïveté becomes less opaque, until it disappears all together. In this time, we have the confusing instances in which we begin to see things more clearly, with an ability to see things for what they are, rather than what they seem.
At first, we discover reality close to home. We understand our parents’ stress and can appreciate a morning of talking world news over a cup of coffee. We relate to their mistakes and recognize their successes. We begin to see our parents as what they are: people.
Although it takes time to reach the mindset in which we can separate the self-generated ideologies we have assigned to those who impress us, it is a coming-of-age milestone that will undoubtedly be faced. Seeing those close to us for who they truly are is to be expected, but it is a different process to see the ‘person’ that lives within our favorite people.
The current times of the ski industry showcase this notion perfectly. A large wave of the skiers who we grew up with have come to a sort of crest within the last few years. Some have crashed to shore and trickled back into the bigger picture, while others have still fought to be the high water mark for the decades.
The stars in my realm of skiing, in some instances, have become less bright. Their fluorescent highlights have lost their gleam and the spotlight that they have basked in for so long has begun to flicker. Much like the solar system, you can see the flickers of their effect still today, even if their last light radiated years ago.
But I say, let them fade.
Sure, the limelight is something that some people fall into and others have to sprint to catch. It is selective in who it is bestowed upon and it changes the view we have of that person forever. Of course we are eternally grateful for the achievements of those who came before, but shouldn’t we respect their successes and let them live their life any way they choose?
I don’t think it’s fair to hold today’s ‘older’ skiers to the words and the actions expressed by their 15 year old selves. Whether we miss their skills or their sayings, we have to appreciate their contributions for what they are, without continuing the game of what-ifs.
I applaud yesterday’s skiers who are dedicating themselves to new projects. Regardless of whether or not this keeps them in the realm of skiing, they’re still out there hustling. Some have gone down philanthropic paths, others have become engrossed in media, and some are raising the skiers of tomorrow. Is this to say they are any less successful?
Skiing isn’t something that is easy to leave, by any means. Knowing this, we should have more of an appreciation for those who are trying something new. Rather than litter their blogs or updates with questions about next year’s contest circuit or winter predictions, we should celebrate how people from our community are going on to infiltrate the rest of society with their wisdom, knowledge and drive.
Of course there will be the ones who never leave. The invitations to sit at the head table of the best out, are never something that is revoked. The kings of the court may reside until they are swept away on an icy breeze, while others may choose to pass down the crown. The great thing about these faces, lies in their variety. They all hold something unique and embody a trait that we can learn from.
I take some pride in seeing the new ventures of ‘old’ skiers. It is welcoming to see the internal core of a skier being able to shed his exoskeleton of skis and coats. I cherish seeing their rebirth and the new contributions that they bring to the table. Not only do they better any room they enter, but they also enrich the lives of the fans who adore them.
Instead of questioning their logic, let’s start by investigating their new quests. If you’ve spent so many years appreciating a certain brand of gear because of one skier’s representation of it, then don’t you think it may be worth seeing what they now are engrossed in? If you had faith in their outerwear selections, then maybe you should consider supporting their new endeavors.
Next time you wonder, “Where are they? What are they up to?” take a step back. Will skiing die without them? No. Is skiing better because of them? Yes. Are they sitting on a beach somewhere drinking from a coconut? Who cares. The best thing you can do is investigate. Look them up. Education yourself on their passions and how they spend their time, and maybe you will be ignited with a passion that had been lying dormant under the surface. If skiing is a family, then we support our own, clicked-in or not.
When you stop and see where years of skiers are today, you’ll notice that there still seems to be a bit of light flickering. It will always resonate like a comforting glow. And should it dissipate, we shouldn’t be so quick to complain. Much like in science, there’s a good chance that their energy has just taken on a new form, with no chance of slowing down.
Cheers to the ones who came before, regardless of what they now deem a priority. At one point, they were responsible for lighting the fire under a child that ultimately got them on skis–for that, we thank them.