Swimming with the shark


Have you ever swam over a mile in a lap pool? You know the feeling at the start, to think there are over 80 more lenghs coming, the water is cold, this will take forever? But then, towards the end, it gets so easy, and the last lap usually turns out to be the most enjoyable one of your entire swim... Now imagine your 1mile+ swim with a

A love declaration


   I used to hate the winter. I still hate the cold. The one thing powerful enough to let me make friends with the winter was snowboarding, after 14 years of struggling with it. Snowboarding has changed my life in so many ways. Far beyond allowing me to sympathize with winter, it enabled me to find and be myself. At age 13 I felt

From Jaegermeister to the Nirvana. Zooms on life.


Originally, this was a text about „Cheating, Killing and Chocolate Mousse.“ There were some fundamental thoughts leading from roadkill to the group dynamics of war and the question wheather 2 married women put less guilt on their shoulders when they have a threesome with a stranger than if they´d take him home alone, individually. I

In between. Munich Purgatory.


  It´s June. I haven´t written a personal blog in a long time. Didn´t feel like it. Wrote for another blog too, one that I couldn´t pour my heart into. Doing something half-hearted can take a lot more energy than going all in and forcing yourself to be more shallow than you truely are comes at a price. It´s hard to pretend, even if it

See what I see, feel what I feel


It starts with the squishing sound that snow only makes when the temperatures are almost unbearably low, a sound I haven´t heard in Germany in a long time. Either because global warming has already hit us too hard or because I´m barely at home through those coldest times of the year. This squeeking melody my feet create while

Diary

Swimming with the shark

Posted on by Silvia Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

Have you ever swam over a mile in a lap pool? You know the feeling at the start, to think there are over 80 more lenghs coming, the water is cold, this will take forever? But then, towards the end, it gets so easy, and the last lap usually turns out to be the most enjoyable one of your entire swim…
Now imagine your 1mile+ swim with a hungry shark chasing you the entire time. That´s a professional snowboarding season. The shark is injury.
I still cannot believe the season is coming to its end, one more major FIS competition in Spain (serious shark danger) and 2 fun events in Breckenridge (less shark warning) before the last laps come up, the most enjoyable ones. Slush. Sunshine. Friends. Learning tricks. Maybe get some video shots. Hit exactly what you want to hit, no pressure to ride a shitty jump shaved out of solid ice at 8.30am in a storm because some person chose to put it on a contest schedule like that.
Even though I didnt get the individually best results of my life, it has so far been one of the best snowboard seasons of my life. Because the shark didn´t get me.
I managed to learn new tricks while keeping a distance, managed to do all events despite storms, snow, ice and fog, finished the TTR/WST season as overall 3rd (personal best so far), and only had to say „no“ once – at the World Champs in Quebec. Even though I was told by the German federation to have disappointed them, I see my „no“ as a win. The shark was too close. I felt it. Reacted on it. Stayed healthy. Won in the long run.
A German saying says to not „praise the day before night-time“, so I won´t write more about my personal swim with the shark before overcoming the last upcoming challenge in Spain….
But what I want to add is, that it didnt always feel like this. Sure it might be the shark that bit me multiple times, that made me realize it is always there. But more outstanding is the fact, that contests have changed. Everything has gotten bigger, crazier, more consequential. When courses are built perfect, the bigger-crazier-more-consequential-factor is something just visible and admirable to the spectators, but not much noticeable for the rider on the course. Most times though, courses aren´t perfect. Despite shitty jump/jib-constructions, the weather itself creates enough of a ever-changing component to make a perfect course horrible – with just a few centimeters of slow snow, some wind-gusts or a cold night turning the previous day´s happy slush into death-ice.
But the show must go on. And it will, no matter what.
It´s great that slopestyle gets more and more TV attention. But with TV come exact TV times, contest schedules get planned out to the minute and riders find themselves in the start gate knowing they drop in for this run relaying on their faith and luck instead of just skill and knowledge. When I started competing, we had „weather days“, days that allowed for the event to be pushed to a different day in case the weather didn´t cooperate. X Games with the tightest TV schedule of all has never had weather days since I know it, FIS world cup and Dew Tour are following. Many WST events used to have weather days, but only very few still keep them, such as Stylewars in Australia.
According to Kristi Leskinen´s study, a huge majority of injuries in snowboard/ski athletes happens in competitions, mostly because of „not-perfect-conditions“.
How many times do we get to an event and the course isn´t even completely built, then it´s built wrong, they fix it everyday until for contest day it´s halfways decent. So often you only get a hand full of runs on the actual final course before you are expected to do a mindblowing contest run when before all you may have done is sketchy straight airs.
Especially for us women it´s often like that. At the US Open this year, Kjersti, Sarka and I all three hadn´t even hit the last jump until the contest day. Mostly because the 2nd jump was so bad (Helene Olafsen tore her ACL landing without even crashing – because the landing was so flat!). Just last week at the Czech World Cup lots of girls hadn´t done anything but straight airs until contest day because of a sheer ice inrun and takoff. At the December Dew Tour on 2 out of 3 practice days we couldnt hit any jumps because of slow fresh snow and not enough speed. Cheryl Maas tried it anyways and blew out her knee. I don´t even want to start summing up all the injuries from the insane World Champs in Quebec, too many broken hands and arms, bruised heels and even a broken back. But the worst story of all is that one of skier Emilia Wint, who qualified with incredible runs for the Dew Tour final, which happened on a snowy day, with clearly not enough speed for the jumps. She did a podium-worthy finals run, somehow scraped together the speed – but a TV camera missed a shot, so she had to re-do her run, when she should have been done already.On her extra run, she tucked into the last jump but still didnt get the speed and blew out her knee. Her season ended right there.

She shouldn´t have jumped the last jump? In the middle of a run, therere less than 2 seconds to make that decision. She is one of the best skiers out there. She could have won the event. She wanted to win the event.
There is so much passion in such a moment, so much adrenaline, so much will and hope. You´re in the end of a run, in the end of your swim, so close to the shark, fearfully laughing in his face, you see the finish line and prepare for the short joy of the last lap.

I wished we could team up and feed the shark weather days instead of ACLs and bones. I also heard finishing courses before the first scheduled practice and individually testing them early by reliable people makes the shark friendlier. He likes steep, long landings and speed.

I like competing, but it shouldn´t feel like a strategic survival game. One day, that event will come around, where us girls can really ride to our full potential, do the tricks we know we are capable of, and not be only limited to those, that the semi-ok course allows us to do.

I´m off to Spain soon. Who knows. As unlikely as it is, maybe that´ll be that one event. There is so much passion. Will. Hope. You´re in the end of your season, the end of your swim, you see the finish line and prepare for the short joy of the last lap.

A love declaration

Posted on by Silvia Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

   I used to hate the winter. I still hate the cold. The one thing powerful enough to let me make friends with the winter was snowboarding, after 14 years of struggling with it.

Snowboarding has changed my life in so many ways. Far beyond allowing me to sympathize with winter, it enabled me to find and be myself.

At age 13 I felt trapped in an uptight ballett-horse-A-grade-student-piano-world, and caught myself phantasizing about having a skateboard more and more often. I admired the simplicity of skateboarding, to just go out and do it, and also the boys that did it. Buying a skateboard felt like doing something illegal in my up-til-then-world, and starting to skate with my at-the-time boyfriend resulted in the first real injuries of my life. When I tried snowboarding a year later the injuries even doubled (I was really not made for boardsports), but finally there was an outlet for all the wild energies that had been collecting inside me for 14 years, held back by the heavily curbed activities of classical ballett and metronome-controlled piano playing from sheets. I started to feel free.

Snowboarding is a ticket far away from the reality our society has created, far away from pressures and expectations that heavily rest on our shoulders, from the general negativity and fear spread by news all over the world. It brings us closer to our dreams, closer to who we really are, encouraged by a fairytale backdrop made of puffy white, garnished with the beauty of silence.

The calmness of the mountains first slows down everything that stressed you, then the beauty of the scenery lets you forget what worried you and in the end, the adrenaline of challenge will make you face your true self, will unite your body and soul,  will make everything one – you, nature, your dreams, love and future.

Besides the miracolous ability of letting you find your Zen without knowing how to meditate, the mountains also gives a choice between being invisible or in the middle of a big stage.

Hide behind clothes, facemask, goggles and hat if you like, be an invisible rope-cutting ninja finding his zen, or open up, enjoy the fact everybody on the mountain has a free moment, make new friends and get some limelight defying gravity in the park.

Loose cut outerwear, bandana and beanie combined with a mirrored lens erase any physical self-consciousness, a beer belly disappears for a day aswell as bad skin, no dude will hit on you because of your amazing boobs and ass. Lots of superficial bullshit gets cut out, if you dont get stuck on replacing boobs and ass with clothing labels and stickerjobs.

Snowboarding gives a great chance to meet real people in a centered state of mind.

I´m writing this little love declaration from Munich right now, seeing the last cheerfully coloured leaves of fall covered with the first heavy wet snow that came down yesterday night. I´m still not sure where I go next, Austria or straight to the US, still not sure who I will be next, an invisible ninja or a limelight dancer, but what I know for sure is that I am excited for the winter. Thank you snowboarding, for turning hate into love and for making me my true self.

 

 

From Jaegermeister to the Nirvana. Zooms on life.

Posted on by Silvia Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

Originally, this was a text about „Cheating, Killing and Chocolate Mousse.“

There were some fundamental thoughts leading from roadkill to the group dynamics of war and the question wheather 2 married women put less guilt on their shoulders when they have a threesome with a stranger than if they´d take him home alone, individually.

I ditched the text not only because I couldn´t answer the threesome question, but also because I realized that all those thoughts are like sand castles on a beach. Beautiful and fun to build, they fulfill you entirely in the process of their creation, while in the end, they are a decent amount of sand grains in a vulnerable,short state of beauty in a world of a bazillion of sand grains on a bazillion beaches.

The relation of us humans towards life is like the focus on a camera. You can zoom in and out, have a party night being ruined by a zit on your forehead or question yourself why we are on earth instead of going out.

Eventually we all find the average distance and everyday zoom range to the big picture that we feel most comfortable with.

The smaller the focus, the less complicated life seems to get. Unless you dive into nano structure physics or biochemistry maybe. The bigger the focus, the less important you might feel in a world of more than 7 billion people, but taking it further trying to find answers to questions that exceed everyday life and knock on the door of spiritualism, death and purpose, can give a new understanding of who you are within the full picture of what we know and –even bigger – believe.

We´re all little motors that keep life on earth running and progressing through the actions we take and the energies we put out. My personal motor is amongst other things run by passion and the attempt to strive for the best I can do. If something works out well, it gives me satisfaction to look back at it, and energy to face the next challenge.

The chocolate mousse text didn´t give me satisfaction and I´m still not sure if this one will.

In one of my favourite books, the Celestine Prophecy, it says how almost all of us humans, we spend our life just trying to make living as comfortable as possible. I agree.

We make money to afford living and as soon as we have more than what we need for bare survival, we invest it into making life more comfortable and enjoyable, with technical gadgets, nicer cars, prettier and warmer clothes and spare time activities that make our brains stop thinking unwantedly complicated and often fulfill us with the satisfaction of being good at something. Watching trashy TV might do it for one person the same way as expressing yourself on a violine for another. Aditionally, love is a key ingredient, if not the icing on the cake of comfort.

No matter if you reach that stage through materialistic things and/or expressing and following your passions, the package of some sort of success with comfort tends to make us happy and „Happiness“ is usually on the top of the list of what we want from life.

If the entire world achieved happiness, what would happen?

Probably we would keep creating things that make life even more comfortable and beautiful, such as surgically implanted chips that allow us to turn up heat or cold in our bodies by organic chemical reactions, even fluffier towels that change smell and colour depending on our moods, communication devices that let us talk to our pets and even more potent happiness creating drugs and drinks for our spare time that will keep our minds distracted from the questions that we´ll never be able to answer with knowledge.

Is that what life is in the end? A endless run up the mountain of comfort with the peak getting a little higher with every new invention?

As a side player we got the environment with uncontrollable nature catastrophies as well as the interaction of countries and their governments in the race towards flourishing economy and therefore prosperity raising the comfort and happiness of the cititzens from a different corner.

But after all that, what comes?

It´s easy to return the focus to minimum range, to say „after all, all I want is to be happy“, to think of where we personally are and what we do, to appreciate the small things and wonder what we do this afternoon and eat for dinner.

Who cares where all this big focus stuff goes. This is my life, my body, my friends, my home, my hobbies, my happiness. I am making the best out of it and then I die/get reincarnated/go to heaven/go to hell/I´m not here anymore.

Until then I just want to be happy.

Alright. Me too.

 

 

In between. Munich Purgatory.

Posted on by Silvia Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

  It´s June. I haven´t written a personal blog in a long time. Didn´t feel like it. Wrote for another blog too, one that I couldn´t pour my heart into. Doing something half-hearted can take a lot more energy than going all in and forcing yourself to be more shallow than you truely are comes at a price. It´s hard to pretend, even if it means the easier road, less work, less thinking, less risk.

I´m on the road back from Italy to Germany right now. 4 more hours of a drive. And suddenly, 6 months after my last personal blog, 2 months after my last half-hearted blog, I feel the urge to write something.

I decided not to think about what I want to write about. To just let it happen as the music just happens when I improvise on a piano. I don´t know what I´m playing then but in the end it creates a melody. This text has no goal which direction to go, no planning behind my fingers quickly moving on the keyboard. I`m making a song on a computer keyboard and by the simple judgement of the black and white letter contrasts on my screen I can see the music that´s nothing than littly crackling hits of black plastic squares on a silver surface.

June is a in-between-time. It´s not really the old season anymore, it´s not really the new season yet. Maybe it´s actually summer. Something that doesn´t happen often in snowboard life. But no – it´s not summer in Germany, and apparently also not in Italy . Ever since I got back to Europe, it´s raining and I´m wearing socks and hoodies. The happy barefoot-ness of Costa Rica is nothing but beautiful memories and scars on my still beat up feet. The Munich cold doesn´t motivate me to grab a wetsuit to go surf the river waves, i prefer to stick to my memories of floating in bikini-temperature-water with my friend Amber while philosophying about butt-tans and later cheating death in sometimes uncomfortably big waves.

So where am I ? I remember the South Park episode where they explained Purgatory as the state of being in a plane that doesn´t depart but also not go back to the gate. I´m in some kind of purgatory between two winterseasons in one year and a summer that isn´t real. This purgatory is Munich. It´s my home.

Munich won´t last long though – next on the trainride through life there will be two French stopovers, a little while somewhere in North America, months in New Zealand and sometimes somewhere warm not too far away from New Zealand in between. I´ll be working out the details in the next days, in my Munich purgatory of unreal summer and expected winter.

See what I see, feel what I feel

Posted on by Silvia Posted in Diary | Leave a comment

It starts with the squishing sound that snow only makes when the temperatures are almost unbearably low, a sound I haven´t heard in Germany in a long time. Either because global warming has already hit us too hard or because I´m barely at home through those coldest times of the year.
This squeeking melody my feet create while walking along the snowy path to the gym on a freezing but clear and sunny Breckenridge early jet-lag-morning, the sharp shaped grey clouds of warm breath in the cutting cold air and the warm cup of soft smelling herbal tea in my hands that all together create this morning scenario that will always give me a deep secure feeling that the world is a lot more than just ok.
Some people say snowboarding life isn´t “real life”. If snowboarding life isn´t real life, Breckenridge is my fairy tale castle and I am a ice princess.
The life you actually live is your reality. Snowboarding life is my real life. And on top I anyways chose a glittery ice castle world where coincidence doesn´t exist, where energy flows in, between and around everything, where smiles and eye contact with strangers are traffic signs on a different level of understanding and emotional sounds (that you couldn´t spell if you wanted to) say more than a thousand words.
Snowboarding life is a bizarre reality somewhere between being in “the truman show” and being a traveling circus, with a friends circle originating from all continents finding back together in constantly changing random countries, most regularly somewhere above 7000feet of altitude on chairlifts and T-bars aswell as in hot tubs and beer pubs of mountain towns most people never get to call home for longer than a week.
Since most events don´t last longer than a week,the traveling snowboard circus usually doesn´t have a common home for more than a week aswell – before all the members take off on different missions to different places until they´re reunited somewhere else in time and space. The Colorado pre season is an exemption to the fast life we usually live – most people stay a month or little less. It almost feels like more than just a personal reality. A sugary fairy tale come true where New Zealand, Norway and Canada are all neighbours and doing all 4 fives in a day is a good day at the office.
Being in the mountains far away from the normal everyday stress of today´s world gives free space to think. To feel. To dream. They are all so close together.
I chose to read the shitty “summit daily” horoscopes that I know are fitted to anyone anyday and pick the lines i like because it turns my fairy tale into a more beautiful story.
When you kick coincidence out of your life, it´s in your own powers to chose explanations why things are the way they are. Yesterday I didn´t miss the bus because I was too slow and got stuck talking to a friend online. No no no. I missed the bus because it was necessairy for me to start walking so I bump into an old friend who ended up giving me a ride.
Today I didn´t break my favourite watch because I made a mistake taking off for a cab3 and crashed, I broke it because I´ve been way too robotic in the last weeks and without constantly having the time on my wrist I will be more relaxed again.
And the people cutting you off while you´re waiting to hit a jump? They aren´t cutting you off because they´re rude and inpatient, they´re either supposed to slow you down or inspire you with a good trick.
Also the fact that tomorrow will be shitty weather doesn´t suck. It has to be shitty weather so we all finally take a day off again. We´ve been going with 110% for way too long.
And so on and on and on.
Once you start finding joy in explaining life in your own little fairy tale ways you will find yourself secretly smiling ten times more than before. Maybe thinking like that brings you a tiny step closer to insanity, but personally I think it´s well worth it for the sake of happiness.