Four rides…

Last week, I had the opportunity to do a snowmobile/snowboard tour with Maki Snowmobile Tours and it was one of the most spectacular things I have done in my life. Six riders, five snowmobiles, four snowboard rides, three powder boards, two Go-Pros, one great day. An excellent, raw and authentic day with so many great lessons and reminders about life. Four that immediately come to mind:

Effort – there was nothing easy about this day. Each spot we snowboarded down came with a fair degree of effort. Manouvering a snowmobile is hard work and we were quickly primed for it. Whether we were steering, jumping from side to side or just holding on for dear life, the snowmobile journey was as exciting as the snowboard ride down. And without this effort, I am convinced that the ride would not have been as interesting, refreshing, “worth it”. Accept that effort sharpens up, makes us better, gives us a feeling of satisfaction and importantly, respect, both ours and others. As Bruce Lee (and many others) once said, “Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”

Less is more – was the mantra of Mies Van Der Rohe, one of the fathers of modernist architecture. And less is really more. We spend our whole lives craving and searching for more, when in reality, we need to crave and search for less. But let’s crave this without the fanfare, the show, the “holier-than-thou” attitudes; remember, less is more. Observing Kazu and his team of guides, they exemplified this. From their modest lunch on the mountain, the way they packed away their rubbish in their backpacks, the way they behaved and their brevity of words, this was minimalism at its finest.

Calmness – and the whole set-up brought forth a degree of calmness. Every step we took, every metre we travelled, every sight we took in, was calm, peaceful, quiet, a true “sound of silence”. While there was purpose in everything we did, there was no urgency, no desperation, no asking “what is next?” We were in the moment, without realising it. So we took it all in, we lived, we noticed, we were calm.

Do the right thing – Our day took us around a beautiful countryside, with nicely shaped hills, beautiful snow-laden forests and overwhelming views. I asked Kazu whether this was his land and he told me it belonged to the local town of Maki. He described it as a dying town, – a large number of older residents, low birth rates, too few jobs and an insufficient tax base to provide the necessary services required by the community. So the local town “chief” allowed them use of the land to see if they could promote some business and activity and prolong Maki’s longevity. Kazu felt this was a way to help, to do the right thing for a town that had given him many opportunities, adventures and joy. It does not take much to do the right thing.

As for the snowmobiling and snowboarding, epic! But I would give myself a 7/10 and 5/10 respectively. Not my best showing but guaranteed there will be a next time.

  • Picture: Kazu and the Maki Snowmobile Tours team.

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