Flight and Flow

Finding the right state of mind on the ski hill

PHOTO: Ryan Creary

I shift my weight from my left ski to the outside edge of my right ski. The tip of my pole touches the snow uphill. The morning air moves into my lungs. I push forward into my boots and lean in to the mountain, carving the turn before releasing my uphill edge into the next. Somewhere between moving my weight, hips, and shoulders across the hill, linking the energy of my turns, I experience the flow.

Where there is flow there is flight. Across a jump, down a bump line, over a corduroy roller, or down a pillow line, I can tap into this feeling anywhere on the mountain. Human’s weren’t made to fly, but skiing gives us a similar sensation. Gliding down a rail or an open powder run, skiing is a dance with gravity.

The air around my face breaks, the adrenaline settles, and I find the chairlift. I skip through the single’s line and continue the cycle of solo morning hot laps. Today doesn’t have any new snow, just steep corduroy rollers. I get to the top, and push off the lift.
Below me is an open, rolling run—all to myself. With speed, I catch the fall line and descend into large arc turns. I move across the rollers, absorbing their shapes. Linking the rhythm of my turns, the wind flashes my cheeks.

I find my friends in the terrain park on the next lap. We assemble at the top of the park and visualize our lines. I begin my lap with two swooping turns to gain speed before reaching the white lip. Time slows. The tips of my skis lead the way off the jump. I bend my knees and take off, rotate slowly, and reach for my ski. I look for my landing. The world around me is a blur. There it is again—the feeling of flow moving through my core. And in this tiny moment, I am free. Only for a heartbeat, and then I land.

I make the transition from jumps to rails. I hit a small hip, my skis leave the snow, and I meet a rail. Like a magnet, my edges find their grip, metal on metal. I hear the rail clank and click as I drop down two kinks and look to the end. I twist my hips in juncture to the rail to land backwards. I continue my lap through the park and welcome the state of flow.