Unfinished Business

Like a projector bulb breaking in a movie theatre, COVID-19 was a deeply frustrating interruption to the plot of winter. On snow we prepare for unexpected interruptions like dry spells, injuries, and persistent weak layers. But this… this feels like a sucker punch.

A rough way I measure the radness of a season is by counting the number of nights spent in a tent on snow. In recent seasons my stats were already low due to a chronic knee injury, so I had high hopes for 2020 as the comeback season. But my stats kept falling:

2017 ~20

2018 ~6

2019 = 1

2020 = 0

If I take the broader view I can see beautiful experiences the COVID-19 interruption brought into life. Many of us have found newness, slower speeds, and simple pleasures.

But there’s still a spring skiing shaped hole left in my heart.

I never sprayed a friend on a slush puddle. I never applied sunscreen at noon hoping to get away with it and still get scorched. I never woke up at 2 AM to chase sunrise as the days grew longer.

I refuse to end on cliches of making lemonade, counting blessings, or to give unsolicited advice for a home bodyweight workout. I’m writing to grieve the loss of a favorite part of a ski season.

I’m sad it left. And that sadness is okay.

Author: Reuben Krabbe

My first day on skis was spent primarily spent wedged between my fathers 210cm straight skis, on a rope tow bunny hill at the base of Wintergreen. A small ski hill near Calgary Alberta. I distinctly remember being both excited and apprehensive, about this mysterious uncomfortable sport. I still remember looking from the pancake flat bunny hill to the top of the 300 foot tall ‘mountain’ and promising myself: I will never go up there. Years later, skiing and photography continue to break perceived limits and ceilings of ability or opportunity I’ve expected to reach. From creating a single photograph that has now been viewed by millions of people, to meeting the remarkable residents of Nikolski Alaska, -a town of 18 residents at the world’s edge-, the only constant I’ve learned to expect is uncertainty, adventure, and great friendships.