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Peace, Freedom, and Enlightenment at Telluride | Denver, Colorado
by David Huebner
Snow flakes sparkle in the light streaming through the gladed trees of Log Pile. Lines appear in every opening and shot, small powder bumps leading fall line and off fall line, and like water, I bounce and flow through each trough, around each trunk, over each stump, and through every brief stash of untouched powder. I'm the river, flowing over and around each bump as if it were a stone in my streambed. Now and then I drop even lower and my hand brushes the mountain, a pat on the back, thanks for the ride.

I moved to Telluride to escape the city life which seems to trap more than it liberates, seems to kill more than it produces. I also moved there because I have recently discovered that my only true path is the trail, the slope, the ridge, the talus, the meadow. I love the mountain rhythm, the beat of the empty ridges, and windswept summits, the religion of powder skiing, the flow of skiing through the trees. I moved to Telluride to continue my search for Flow, for that ultimate feeling of intimacy with the environment, for true skiing freedom. Telemark skiing and sweet trees are what I found

The Plunge lays before me, choppy powder, after 20 inches new, I let 'em run, long tele turns, now and then my rear knee drags in the powder. I reach the steeper section, and continue the long turns, hugging the right side of the run, and towards the bottom launch big alpine air turns off the edge into deep blown in powder, catching snow in the face and at my waist. I reach the bottom flat before lower Bushwacker, and my turn transitions are seemless, just walking on the clouds.

Pure Flow is a feeling I try to achieve when I'm skiing, a communication between me and the mountain. To feel as if I'm skiing a line with the mountain, as if it is guiding me along, showing me where to turn, how fast to go. I feel no resistance, no harsh impact, no aggressive turns, just floating gliding, flying, flowing. It's like I'm one with the mountain, not a skier skiing the mountain, but just another aspect of the terrain.

There's a good eight inches of fresh in the trees, a couple quick turns through the untracked tight trunks and branches, and then a line opens up, varying between fall line and off fall line, small bumps covering in untracked powder, my speed picks up, and I make fast floating turns, around trees, over bumps, off stumps, without ever feeling an edge really bite in, without ever feeling impact, without ever feeling resistance from the mountain. I stop and smile, laugh a little bit, because I just found a true line, a line that made the mountain smile as big as I smile, that pleased the mountain, found a line that flowed with the mountain, scratching the kitten's back.

I used to think I wanted to be good enough on my alpine skis to compete in free skiing competitions, but I've now realized how completely against the idea I am. Competeing on skis is just about the last thing I want to do. Since I began tele skiing a year ago early December, I've found true flow with the mountain, and I need nothing more. Life has nothing more to offer me than pure flow. I have no desire to be among the attitude ridden, rock star sponsored skiers out there on tour. I just want to find a nice line, and figure out how the mountain wants me to ski it, how to best fit myself into the mountain environment, how to find the technique of least resistance.

I just skied another euphoric Log Pile run, now I'm standing on the cat track above the middle section of West Drain. I take off onto a traverse, bouncing like a pinball from one odd mogul to another, rolling, swerving, absorbing, basically out of control, flying through the trees, a chute opens below me, and I keep going until another secondary tighter chute appears, I drop in. Tele jump turns in packed powder, trees all around, watching for twigs, even some fresh snow lying around days after the last storm, out of the chute and into a tight glade, more fun turns, then onto a bump line traversing out to the next cat track above the lower section of the West Drain. I go for more of the same, taking a high line, cutting through the trees until a chute opens up below, single fall line bumps, lovin' it, technical, then angling right again on a bit of a traverse, into another chute, bumps, trees, and the occaisional log poking through. In the actual drain now, low angle bump line, with junk poking through everywhere, blast out of the exit onto the groomed and back to the lift for another lap. Another lap of the hidden lines, the hidden poetry of the mountain, the soul waiting to be discovered.

This life used to be a dream I never fathomed would come true. I strived to improve my alpine skiing 20 days a year, strived to find flow with the mountain, dreamed of being in competitions, dreamed of being the best, and now, now I'm a tele skier, communicating with the mountain, living within the mountain rhythm, and skiing every single day of the week, 122 last season, starting off with 50 straight, and I could give a flying heck about being "the best". Flow is my life, my soul, and everyday I'm absolutely blown away by the intense feeling of communicating with the mountain, feeling the mountain, flowing with the mountain.

I just love wild places.


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