On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, me and a group of friends met at 5:30 am to summit the Flagstaff mountain on skis. The Flagstaff mountain is right across the street from Alta. Alta and the Flagstaff mountain are located up Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. This area is popular backcountry ski destination in Utah because of its quick access to some of the most spectacular mountains views and snow.
On Labor Day my friends and family headed to San Onofre State Beach in California to do a little sunset surfing and have a bonfire on the beach. San Onofre Beach is 3 miles south of San Clemente, California. We set up on Old Man's beach and headed out to surf at Sunset. We paddled out to the waves. It was the golden hour so the light on the water was amazing. Surfing also teaches you some basics principles about life. Principles that can give you courage to do hard things and succeed.
One of my favorite places to hang out during the early ski preseason is at Alta Ski Resort up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The minute the first snow falls you'll find enthusiastic skiers and snowboarder exploring the different areas of the mountain. Seeing snowboarders is a little unusual but cool, because they are not allowed on the mountain once the resort openings. Alta is one of three resorts left who only allow skiers.
Today marks the 10th year anniversary of the day we lost my Grandpa, David James Nielsen. And he has been missed greatly. My Grandpa was one of my biggest believers. He taught me, "Burke, If you can see it, you can achieve it." These words have stuck with me and helped me do hards things as I pursue my dreams and goals in this life. My Grandpa was an awesome photographer. To honor him I take a camera around with me everywhere I go. He always told us, "A great photo is worth a thousand words." To honor my Grandpa today, I packed an American flag in my bag and ran with it to the top of a mountain summit that overlooks beautiful Mount Timpanogos in American Fork Canyon.
Over the past months I've been writing my thoughts and learnings down in this adventure blog. Tonight I won't recap a journey to the top of a mountain. I will talk about the real mountains of life. The mountains and trials of life that are so big they take your breathe away, cause you to pause, and dig deep to find a way to conquer them. On Wed, October 26, 2016, we lost Bridger Baxter—my cousin, a son, a brother, a uncle, and a child of God. It's always hard when you get news like this. It stops you in your tracks. It makes you pause and really think.
Each week I set out on an adventure, some adventures are small and others are big. My main goal is to get out and get in motion. Running helps me relieve stress, unleash creativity, enhance problem solving, and gain positive energy. Utah has become home to some of the best trail runners in the world. Most of the time, trail running in Utah starts at a parking lot with the goal to run up a mountain or along a mountain ridge.
Utah is home to the best snow on earth and the best backcountry skiing runs in the world. Since winter is knocking at the door and I can't wait to be back on the skis—this week's adventure post highlights a fun backcountry tour I did last winter with my friend Spencer Posey. Our tour was to the Toledo Chute. The Toledo chute is located across the street from Alta Ski Resort. This is a quick tour as long is you don't take the long loop like we did. More exercise right?
I never regret waking up for an run, but I regret every time I turn off my alarm and go back to bed. Set a goal to get up on your first alarm. It helps to be consistent by going to bed and getting up at a consistent time. If you do this—it will get easier and easier. It will become a habit. A habit that will have a positive impact on your life. This is easy when you're at home, but how do you continue the habit when you're traveling on business?
What would you do if you started to lose your eyesight and go blind? Would you give up on life and lay down. Would you complain that life isn't fair? Would you get angry? Or would you push forward until blindness became your strength, your way to inspire others to not give up when life gets tough? That's what David Brown did. He pushed through blindness to become the fastest blind sprinter in the world.
Reaching a mountain summit on skis isn't easy and there's power in the last steps before you reach it. You get a second wind and once you reach the summit, you feel complete satisfaction. The rush of the summit makes the journey worth it. All the hard work and motion forward to reach the summit brings with it a state of gratitude and thankfulness. You're reminded that difficult times (the climb) won't last forever. You're reminded that you can arrive at any summit, over any mountain by simply moving forward six inches at time.