The First Time

Falling into the abyss of the unfamiliar

Listen on Spotify (for the first time):


I did a Tough Mudder about a year ago. During the pregame hype session, the MC opened with this question:

When’s the last time you did something for the first time?

The obvious answer, for me, on that day was “run through a muddy obstacle course.” However, it also got me thinking about how rarely I break routine.

How often does my default to familiarity cause me to get stuck in a rut of monotony?

Growing up, my Dad, my brother, and I would watch the latest Warren Miller ski movie to elevate our stoke for the upcoming season.

Mr. Miller always posed a classic call to action that never failed to fire me up:

If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.

It highlighted the sacred scarcity of ski season:
The season only runs for a few months.
I’ll only be able to ski a few days in the season.
Of those days, only a few will have pristine conditions.

So, whether it’s leveling up to a Double Black, trying a new trick, or traveling to a dream mountain, when I have the opportunity… SEND IT.

If I don’t, then I’ll be thinking all summer & fall about how I didn’t pull the trigger. Then, when the chance finally does come around again, I’ll have weaker knees and more responsibilities.

So, this weekend, I heeded the call of Mr. Miller as I tried ski touring for the first time. This is a version of the sport where you strap on skis to climb up the mountain before skiing down.

“It’s the climb.” - Miley Cyrus

Despite lifts being invented in 1908, there’s some psychos who decide to bypass this luxury in order to “earn their turns.”

My friend, Jake Decker, is one of those psychos. And yet, his passion for the activity inspired me to join him on this expedition.

I’m here to report: it was equal parts challenging & fulfilling.

The challenge:
The ascent required muscle groups I didn’t know existed.
Navigating the steep switchbacks led to multiple stumbles.
The storm that rolled in during our second ascent made for an unexpected change in scenery.

The fulfillment:
It induced a never-before-experienced mixture of intensity and serenity.
I felt immense freedom knowing we could traverse anywhere we wanted on the mountain.
I felt the best kind of small, as I peered up at the peaks, seeing nothing but trees, absent other human souls for as far as the eye could see.

I shutter at the idea that I almost bypassed this opportunity for fear of uncertainty.

Don’t get me wrong, as I trekked into the unknown, I housed a sanctuary full of butterflies in my stomach.

But, much like skydiving, falling into the abyss of the unfamiliar is half the fun. That sense of opening to uncertainty is what makes me feel alive.

Letting go of the ground
Choosing to fly…
“When’s the last time you did something for the first time?”


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