You know you’ve had one of those days you’ll remember forever when you wake up smiling, remembering the magic of the day before. To be honest, I hadn’t expected to be quite so ‘wowed’ as we headed off to explore the Vallee Blanc in Chamonix. Dare I say I even thought I was starting to lose my passion for the mountains. Skiing isn't the main passion of my football and horse obsessed family these days, so we’d been doing other family activities recently.
Thankfully I have a fabulous friend who IS passionate about arranging these adventures and gave me just the nudge I needed to get me out on my way.
When you move towards what seems exciting, that’s often where passion is restored. And passion is vital for the body, mind and soul.
So we set off on our adventure. We just had to get across the infamous ridge at the top first. The thing is, I did this tight ridge over 20 years ago, along with a fair amount of back-country skiing and even heli-boarding. I had very little fear. Yet I'd awoken the night before, listening to the wind howling and questioning if it was wise to go on such a self-gratifying, totally unnecessary, risk taking adventure. So what had changed? Was it age? Wise maternal instinct?
I liked Serge, our ski guide, immediately. He had that assuring 'I've done this a thousand times before' look about him. He quickly reassured me about my fear. He said he actually finds it really concerning when his clients have no fear, they're unpredictable and do too much crazy stuff. Umm yes I pondered, my younger self would have perhaps related.
We decided hence fear was a good thing in this particular instance. we agreed we'd call it 'wisdom'.
So under Serge's astute eye and blessings from the snow gods (who'd scattered non slippy flakes along the infamous ridge!) we went on to navigate the ridge with complete ease and enjoyed a rather magnificent powder run down the stunning mountain.
We stopped for lunch with ravenous hunger and big satisfied smiles. As we soaked up the sun on the terrace of the refuge overlooking the breathtaking glacier, our adventure took an edgy turn. The mountain silence was suddenly broken by a rescue helicopter hovering to search the sea of crevasses just a few metres beside the track we'd passed, just minutes before. A group of skiers stood waiting below where it seemed one of their group had unfortunately stumbled into a crevasse.
We were super thankful we'd hired our seasoned guide Serge at this point! He knew where those crevasses were like the back of his hand. We asked inquisitively, why on earth would you blatantly ski through a sea of crevasses as it appeared the group in trouble must have done? It seemed so obvious to take the safer route just 20 metres to the side.
Our discussion with the infinitely wise Serge continued..."Isn't life all relative?" he pronounced. He elaborated "To some, the safe route just wouldn’t be enough. They need more. More thrills. More excitement".
Just like we went looking for more with him for the day, when others staying on the pistes might look at us and think, why would they take the risk? Another ponder moment...
Life has to be enough to stretch you, because if we aren’t stretched, growing and reaching outside our comfort zone, then we stagnate - which is a deathly place to be in itself.
Little did we know the adventure was to heat up yet another notch.
We clipped in our skis and headed off from the refuge.
As the helicopter still hovered to finish it's rescue, two para-penters approached from above the slope. One floated past gracefully. The other however maybe mis-judged his distance. Within an instant he was flung up into the air by the changing wind flow from the helicopter and dropped with frightening speed into a crevasse.
The helicopter had to head off to the hospital and return rapidly to rescue the parapenter.
Serge decided it really was time to head down: "Just stick with me!" he advised. We decided that was pretty good advice and obediently followed his every track and word!
So how about you? Have you done anything that stretches you either physically or emotionally outside of your comfort zone this week, month or year? Do you have someone you trust on your team, to help guide you and keep you on track physically and emotionally, despite life's challenges?