(post I had started to write as a draft but neglected) Last edit January 1, 2015, so that is what I will post it as.
The moment I felt excited for a backcountry ski trip opportunity I knew that life had changed. No, I knew from the moment that I first got excited about camping. Or hiking. That was back in May, when I first found out about online hiking groups due to a lack of expertise myself. I agonized the entire summer about taking rides from strangers and online anonymous groups-then, in the best decision of my life, I (haha) trusted my life to strangers on a camping trip. Before that I had only done about five hikes and never with any load, and instead of feeling daunted, I felt giddily excited.
After realizing I didn’t belong to these slopes, I started to feel horrible on the lifts. There were so many realizations I wanted to tell my parents, but we weren’t in a good enough relationship to say those things. I didn’t want to tell them I felt like I had wasted hundreds of dollars and stunted my growth by staying on the hills that I had paid for, the ones that were lacking this year and had also the year before, too. I hoped that I could realize it was not about the money I spent, but the repercussions my realizations had for my future. If we had really gotten lost during that first camping trip or been unnecessarily scared by some other dangerous animals due to a human flaw, the important part would have been that we were still safe and still emerged with the same knowledge that camping was worth it. Sure, it sucked that it cost so much to engage in any snow sport, but I couldn’t forget that no spending is worth it when your skill level can’t make use of it.
The wild was just not wild enough anymore. I still remember what the dominate feeling of being in whistler was/skiing/cabin camping: being in the wild. Sure, snowboarding and camping were cool, but they were not inherently cool; that’s why snowboarding is cooler than skateboarding. Snow is cool, not the board alone. Irregularity and natural patterns are endlessly fascinating; I could stand outside for much longer than I could in a meticulously planned landscape.
Something had changed, and it was this: I had always loved playing amongst man made features, whether climbing jungle gyms in creative ways or biking over concrete features, but now I did not think those were enough.