I am currently on a plane heading back to the PNW to enjoy a heavy onslaught of high wind and torrential rain, which I feel like I should be used to after living in Oregon for almost six months now. What makes it hard is going back “home” after spending five glorious days in Utah living it up at 11,000′ and skiing over 4,000 acres of unbelievable terrain blanketed in over a foot of fresh snow; there really is nothing better.
Growing up, my family traveled to Alta almost every year to enjoy “the world’s greatest snow” for a week, sometimes two, at a time. My grandfather loved Alta almost as much as Mad River, and so we began to celebrate his birthday in Utah with the whole Jondro/Hopf clan tagging along. I absolutely loved it! It became a tradition to rent out a house at the base of Alta and spend all of our time skiing, building forts, eating too much, playing cards, and jumping from the hot tub into the snow and back again. The weeks always went by too fast, and we were always sad to leave the beautiful place that had become a haven to us.
I always knew that I was lucky. That I am lucky. My love in life is skiing, and to have a family that supports you no matter what and shares your passion is a blessing. To grow up with the opportunities that I have had has been incredible, and I don’t think I have fully realized it until this last trip.
It’s hard to realize how lucky you are and to appreciate what you have when you are surrounded by the tiny, tight-knit community known as the ski-racing world. Ever since the age of five, almost every one of my friends have been a ski racer. No matter how good they were, they knew what it was like to travel the world for training and races. It started to seem normal to me, jetting off to Europe or South America to find the best conditions and work hard to get your skiing to the next level. Everyone around me was doing it, and a lot were even going further and faster. Not only did I take my journeys for granted, but I wanted more; I was jealous. Looking back at what I had and remembering how ungrateful I was makes me feel extremely foolish and spoiled.
By definition, spoiled means to impair, damage or harm the character or nature of someone by unwise treatment and excessive indulgence. Knowing this, I am spoiled (or was). I was given so much with so little effort on my part, and I didn’t appreciate it. I let myself become accustomed to the luxury that surrounded me, and grew to expect year-round skiing and international journeys; I forgot what it was to be a normal person, someone who doesn’t travel the world in search of the best snow and terrain.
It’s time for me to start seeing my life for what it really is and stop with the pity parties. I may have hit some bumps along the road and live with limitations that I deem overwhelming, but I am still so lucky to have gone where I have gone and seen the sights I have seen. I will continue to travel the world, but I will forever work towards taking full advantage of my situations despite old excuses or unfortunate circumstances.