Stuck on Fantasy Island
Quarantine Week 6? 7? Let me guess: You’ve found yourself fantasizing about snow and skiing, even while wondering when it might actually turn to spring, so you can start fantasizing about biking or hiking or jumping in a lake…preferably without a face mask. When I see pictures of people skinning up remote mountains alone or with their quarantine partners, it makes me smile, but it also makes my heart ache just a little. It feels like when, as a kid, I’d see the Paramount Pictures intro before a movie, and lust after that insane snowy pitch, wondering what it’d be like to ski it; or while driving down to Mammoth Mtn along Hwy 395, I’d look out the car window at all those steep snowy mountains that stretched into eternity, out of reach.
This longing for the mountains and skiing has gone to a new level with the uncertainty of so many things, like, when will we get back on snow? Where? And most of all, when can we be back together with our people? If you’ve got kids at home, you know this is tough on them. Some are missing spring sports, and proms and even graduations, but most of all they are missing each other. They have every right to be a little or a lot surly, and to take refuge in Netflix, Nintendo and Instagram.
To go from being fully programmed five days per week or more, to having every day stretch out in front of you, with no mile markers or speed limits, is like being on the first day of an endless summer vacation. That sounds great until you realize it is a summer vacation without friends, or travel or a job.
But kids are doing what they do best. They are adapting because, as we hear so often, we’re all in this together. Boredom breeds creativity, and when combined with desperation, well, that’s where transformation begins.
Kids I’ve never before seen running, are now taking regular jogs…even with their parents. Most strikingly, they are working out when nobody’s watching or telling them to work out. This type of motivation is like the difference between doing bad sit-ups or pushups with the goal of putting up a good number, vs doing them properly with the goal of getting strong.
We’re so used to training “for” something, be it a season or an event or a test. This quarantine training, with no real finish line, is different. If ever there was a time to embrace the process, it’s now, when there’s nothing BUT the process. The fun factor comes with sharing the ways everyone is getting it done. I recently did a story for Ski Racing about the impressive ways kids are staying active and even upping their training. This is a follow up because the hits keep coming from across the country and beyond. Here’s a smattering of quarantiners in training:
Equal opportunity props to Isaac Mozen in CA for doing Mom squats
and Dad squats (though dad seems significantly more at ease),
In Montana, Raiya McCutcheon demonstrates proper form for the ever-popular dog squats.
Stratton Mountain School senior Will Koch demonstrates how a simple table can be more punishing than any personal trainer:
Pro tip from one dad, when faced with ordering up an $80 bag of sand from a fitness equipment supplier: $5 bags of sand from Home Depot fit quite well inside one of the many duffel bags laying around home with nothing to do right now.
Building the Gym
In our corner of NH, the kids made a garage squat rack with plumbing fixtures and lumber. Until proper weights could be procured, spare wheels filled in.
Around the corner from our corner, Colter Lingelbach Pierce repurposed a variety of old gear stashed around the family property at Pierce’s Inn.
Ski Racing’s featured MacGyver, Calum Langmuir, managed to build his entire gym in Scotland from scratch, including the wooden bar and homemade concrete weights. Here, he shares how he did it. Thanks Calum!
Keep the creativity going and share it around. Since we’re in this together, we might as well get stronger together too. And, in the meantime, think happy mountain thoughts!