I packed up my ski gear and left the house at 7am. It's clear and 40º outside. Not ideal conditions to load up ski gear along the Wasatch front, it hasn't snowed in 2 weeks, at least. Perfect for running.
I begin my tour up the long and mellow approach. It's warm in all of this gear. After 45 minutes I turn around and look back down the drainage I've ascended. I gaze at the opposing south-facing hillside. It's completely dry. "shit… I should have gone running." I try to focus on what I'm doing and stay present in striding uphill with a lot of gear. I want to ditch my pack and poles. I want the freedom to move my ankles more than my plastic boots are allowing. My climbing skins are now heavy and soaked from absorbing the sun-scorched snow that's turning crystals quickly into water. I lean on my poles and hang my head. A consistent bead of sweat drips onto my skis. I want to go run. I start to feel frustrated and nearly claustrophobic. – I stand up, breathe and push upward.
It clicks. I start to develop a rhythm with breath and stride. I drift into a meditative state and notice that I'm subconsciously grinning and enjoying the effort. It's not much different from my mental state when running, but it is different as I'm considering route, snow pack, slope angle and all the other aspects of ski touring that involve being quite present. I'm no longer thinking of running, but suffering and enduring.
After my ski tour, I thought back to all of the days that I put skiing aside to go running. Days when the air was crisp, snow was light and sky was blue. I was present on the run. Stride for stride. Smiling the whole time. Stomping footprints in the 8" of fresh fallen snow. Perfect for skiing.