A letter to a concerned mother.
In light of recent and extremely popular adventure films, I thought it would be a good time to give you an update. I know you’re already my biggest fan on social media, so you generally know what I’ve been up to. Your frequent comments and thumbs-up prove it. Thanks for that! I also know that you’ve seen these movies I’m referring to. I know because you called me after you watched them to make sure I was okay. For the record, and for those who don’t know, these movies involve rock climbers who don’t use ropes. They scale massive walls with no protective equipment. Well, Mom, I want to reiterate that when I told you “I went climbing last weekend,” it did not involve a 3,000-foot cliff face and enough adrenaline to revive a dead elephant.
I know you worry about me. Yes, there was that one photo of me not using a rope. “Where is your harness stuff?” you demanded. “Don’t be like that!” That, Mom, is what they call “bouldering,” and I rarely get more than 10 feet off the ground. I fell farther than that from the tree in our back yard when I was 12.
Then there’s the skiing. Indeed, I love it. Deep powder fields, hot laps at Bridger Bowl, touring on the weekend with friends. But those videos you sent me of Red Bull–sponsored skiers launching 50-foot cliffs and narrowly outrunning avalanches—I promise you, they were not me. The only cliff I “huck,” as we call it, is a rock-hard protein bar I find in the bottom of my backpack at the end of the season.
I will admit, there is reason to be apprehensive. After all, the mountains can be dangerous and unpredictable. However, for me, a lot of the fun comes with managing and mitigating risk. With climbing, I geek out on safety gear and look forward to using it. As for skiing and snowboarding, I always wear a helmet—it’s actually cooler nowadays—and when I’m out in the backcountry, my friends and I spend hours analyzing the snow conditions, looking for reasons we should not ski a certain slope, instead of the other way around.
Moral of the story: the people you see doing outdoor sports are way more badass than me. I’m actually kind of a wuss and probably not as brave, talented, and cool as you think I am. But I hope you’ll still be my number-one fan.