In January 2015 I went to a Men’s Retreat in Montana that involved snow skiing and snowmobiling. But, before I get to far, I want to share a little background information. I love water, water sports, beaches and warm weather. Winter sports, or anything involving going outside when it’s below 80°(F) is not usually very interesting to me. When the coaching company I was working with presented the Men’s Retreat, I politely declined. Going to Montana, in the WINTER, to play in the snow did NOT sound interesting or appealing to me at all.
A couple days before the retreat was to start I was having a phone conversation with the head of the coaching company and she asked if I was going to the retreat. I shared my thoughts about activities that involved cold and snow. She explained that as a coach and leader in the company, she felt it was important for me to attend. After some discussion, I signed up to go. Arrangements were made and off I went to Montana, in January, in the snow, in the cold.
On our first night there everyone was asked to introduce themselves to the group, share where they were from and state their intention for the retreat (for more information about setting intentions, read my post about “Creating or Responding to the Moments in Your Life”. When my turn came I stood up and shared my information and then shared my background thoughts and feelings about being in Montana, in the WINTER, in the COLD. My intention for the retreat was to have FUN, even though it was winter, cold and I would be outside. My intention for the retreat had be set!
The attendees were divided into two groups. The group I was assigned to would be going snow skiing on the first day. We would all meet in the morning, head into town (we were staying in a lodge just outside of town), eat breakfast, then come back to the lodge and head out with our group.
We got up in the morning, loaded into various vehicles and headed to town for breakfast. It has snowed a few inches overnight and I’m not sure what the temperature was, but I’m sure it was something like -100°. One of the other people in the car with me, looked over at me as I was bundled in anything and everything I could, and ask “Ed, how are you doing with the cold this morning?” I smiled and told them when they saw me on the ski slopes I would be smiling and having a great time, as in my mind I would be slalom skiing on a warm beach. Which of course drew chuckles from everyone in the car.
We had breakfast, headed back to the lodge, gathered out stuff and headed out with our group for the day. We were told to NOT bundle up too heavily for the car ride, as it would help us stay warmer once we got to the slope and outside. I prayed for a car with a really good heater. We loaded up and headed off for the ski area.
We arrived at the ski area, and proceeded to put on our gear to stay warm in for the day. Next we headed to the ski rental building to pickup our ski gear for the day. It was just across the parking lot and up a slight hill. No big deal on a nice warm day, but given it was at least -150° outside at this point, the walk was slow and long. As we finally entered the rental building, all I could think was “what have I done to myself? My fingers and toes are numb, I’m frozen to the bone and I’ve only made it to the rental building, please God help me survive the day!”. Knowing my pre-declared love for the snow and cold, someone else in the group saw me and asked how I was dealing with the cold so far. I smiled and told them that very shortly they would see me smiling and slaloming down the hill, but that in my mind I would be doing it on a warm beach, so it would all be fantastic! Quietly to myself I reminded myself to focus again on that exact thought to get through this day.
We got our boots, skis and poles and headed off to the base lift, to start our trek up the mountain. It was just getting light out, although the sun wasn’t anywhere to be seen. As our chair lift rose above the trees, the wind and the OMG cold hit even harder. I wondered for a moment how I was going to pull this off, surely I’d be frozen solid, to the chair before we reached the top. Someone from our group, in the chair in front of my looked back and yelled “So Ed, how are you doing with the cold now?”. I smiled and yelled back, I’m skiing on the beach baby and it is fantastic! We reached the top of this lift and as I was getting off the lift and skiing over to the group, a couple of them were pointing to a sign and pretty much everyone was looking back and forth, between me and the sign. I stopped and steadied myself so I could read the sign. It was the name of the first ski run, to the other lifts and slopes, it’s name was “Miami Beach”.
So, I started the day skiing on Miami Beach, just like I had envisioned and created in my mind. It was a blast, I warmed up and stayed warm the rest of the day, after all, I started each run down the hill skiing on Miami Beach, in the winter, in Montana! How perfect was that!