Middle-aged Spread: Yin and Yang
By Sam Masters
Any student of skiing is naturally drawn to the Chinese philosophers of the Shang Dynasty (1400 BC) and the origins of Yin and Yang. This symbol is surely the most succinct expression of the human condition; of the turbulent nature of our own psyche. Until now its relevance to snowsports has been less than explicit. Read on to discover how Yin and Yang binds and unites every aspect your ski day…
Yin: You’re not as good as you were last year.
Yang: You’re better than you were this morning. Skiing is all about the zone; focus on getting into it. Cut the distractions, get warmed up and hook in. Don’t just visualize Ted Ligety: be Ted Ligety.
Yin: Winter begins at the first powder day. Everything previous is just froth.
Yang: Winter begins when you fit your snow tyres. Some people say February is too early; but I like to be prepared. Schadenfreude is a difficult concept for non-German speakers to comprehend but is, perhaps, best encapsulated by the feeling of driving past an expensive European SUV whose owner (their new Bognar suit covered in mud) is failing to fit chains to their low-profile tyres.
Yin: You have to buy new footbeds every time you buy a new ski boot. Why is this? I might be fatter, balder and more inclined to shout at the TV but my feet are still the same svelte units they were 20 years ago.
Yang: That feeling on the third run of the season when you realize that your new boots are snug not snide, lush not loose, righteous not reprehensible. A comfortable boot is the foundation of the sport and, more importantly, you need not be one of those chumps forced to remove their boots for crucial apres-ski table-top dancing.
Yin: The powder day lift queue. Admittedly this is much less of a problem at the Chill resorts.
Yang: Powdie turns when you get to the top.
Yin: The mountains are a long way away. Only if you are foolish enough to live in a an urban centre. Every Chill resort has some permanent fixtures who seem to live in the machine shed and get more powder days than the staff. It is a central function of town planning to minimize the commute – a concept you should apply to mountain access.
Yang: The mountains are relatively close. As long as you don’t live in Perth.
Yin: The higher the elevation the further you are from fresh produce (except for Himalayan thar and frito kea).
Yang: Yet the better any food tastes. Luke warm beer, doughy pizza with canned olives and cheddar? If you’re hungry, cold and stoked enough that meal will deserve three Michelin stars.
Yin: You blew out the sidewall of your ski on a rock.
Yang: It’s time to buy new skis. Who am I kidding – it’s always time to buy new skis or a new bike. Life is short, and there are plenty of pastimes that reward dabbling. Skiing is not one of them.
Yin: That video of you ripping the powder looks about 25% lamer than it felt.
Yang: Your bar conversation is about 50% radder than your actual skiing.