Founder of the flow
Hall Of Fame Member
- Jul 17, 2017
This past winter I met four skiers whose perspective about skiing will pull me through the off-season.
At a showing of the new Warren Miller Film, Bob Dunn was in the audience. Bob was the owner of Boston Hills in Andover Massachusetts from the early 60’s to the late 1980’s. He also operated Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire during that time and was a ski writer for the Boston Globe.
Bob was surrounded by family at the event, and reminiscing about Boston Hills and how he experimented with grassing skiing and a dry slope for summer skiing.
When I asked him what skiing has meant to him, his answer was simple and direct.
“Skiing is about family and adventure.”
His response made me reflect on how my life has been shaped through adventures on skis with my family and how my parents made it happen for us.
At the Women’s World Cup in Killington, Vermont I was waiting by my car at the end of the day, when I noticed a couple of guys scrambling for ski gear in the back of their Subaru. They were gearing up for a few afternoon runs. All of their gear was brand new and they clothing was logoed up so I assumed they were pros of some sort. So I took a step closer and discovered I was staring at Jim Ryan and Marcus Caston from the new Warren Miller film.
Like a star struck kid, I said, “Hey are you Marcus?”
“I am,” he replied.
“Wow, I’m a huge fan, I follow you on Instagram and love your stuff.” I said
Cool, thanks, what’s your name?” he replied.
“I’m Dan,” I said. And then I asked, “Hey can I ask you why you started Return of the Turn?”
And he stated, “I got sick of all the big air, tricks and straight lines. The essence of skiing is turning, right?”
“I couldn’t agree more.” I said. “I’m from the turning generation, it’s in my blood.”
“Ya that’s right.” he said. Nice to meet you Marcus, keep up the good work and I shook his hand.
“The essence of skiing is turning,” what a statement. It made me think of all of the silly debates on how best to turn and how that clouds the reason for essence of the sport.
Turning is fun, exciting and is part the adventure that Bob Dunn was speaking about.
A few weeks later I was at the Lake Louise at the FIS World Cup Super G Race. Mikaela Shiffrin had just won.
In her interview she stated, “The magic of the day was not having any expectations.”
She hadn’t trained the discipline in months and it was her first Super G race of the season. She simply showed up with the expectation to compete.
She then said, “She felt one with her equipment that day and her skis were just an extension of her legs and feet.”
Wow, I let that settle in for a bit. What a way to experience the essence of skiing and being in them moment.
Then this spring I had the honor of meeting the queen of moguls Hilary Engisch- Klein who recently was inducted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame. In the 1980’s Skiing Magazine called her the best female skier alive. In 1982 she won 8 out of 11 FIS World Cup competitions plus 5 World Pro Mogul Tour.
A wife, mother of 3 daughters and a cancer survivor, she founded “Kids on Top” foundation for children with serious illness with the goal of having kids have fun, laugh, and find adventure. Activities include of coarse skiing among others.
She summed up her ski career to me saying, “It was a sweet time in life. The skills I learned traveling and competing prepared me for life. My foundation provides access to the mountains and when a child smiles, I’m reminded of the sweetness.”
What a powerful reminder of the importance of being in service and providing smiles and memories to children and families.
When I reflect back on the interactions Bob, Mikaela, Marcus and Hilary, this winter, their comments were deep, rich and connected to mind, body and spirit.
My take away is this; families seeking winter adventure go skiing and snowboarding and discover the simple pleasure of turning. Some can discover this free of expectations, creating an oneness with themselves others and their surroundings, and that becomes a sweet time in life.