Why do you ski? And how would you feel if could no longer ski?
I don't want to steer the conversation in any one direction, so I'm going to leave my response until we hit page 2 of reponses.
Skiing for me is freedom of mind and body, living utterly and completely in the moment. Few activities in life these days allow you to do this. We focus so much on the future and the past that we forget how important it is to live in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer.
If I couldn't ski, I would probably snowboard.
Skiing for me is one part exercise, one part socializing, and one part enjoying the winter outdoors. I don't hit the slopes as often due to work, life and injury, so it's become more quality vs quantity lately. It's been years since I've been the "first chair to last chair" skier.
When I hang up my boards, I can get my speed fix elsewhere, like snowmobiles, and my exercise via snow shoes for example. As long as I am healthy and able to carve railroad tracks, I plan to ski till I qualify for the senior discount lift tickets and then some.
Because it's the most fun thing evah for me. Sliding around on snow at moderate to high speed with two sticks on your feet while enjoying incredible scenery and sometimes incredible people. Mild sense of danger and speed get the adrenaline going (at least for someone of my ability) and did I mention the people and scenery. And even when I ski by myself the wonderment of it all hits me at the core sometimes.
Originally I skied because I lived in a 4 season climate and my family business was slow in the winter. You either snowmobiled or skied. Its what we did.
As I grew in the sport I realized that skiing fed my spirit in a special way..........I ski because I breathe
If I couldn't ski, I can imagine that I'd find something else to feed me.
Post a troll would be proud to start.
Because of the FEELING.
Smooth curving movements, acceleration, deacceleration, bouncing, upon a soft smooth substance feeling its softness playing with gravity, can be pleasant neuronal sensations to creature bodies.
Consider how popular amusement park rides be! But with skate boarding, surfing, snowboarding, kayaking, and skiing instead of being locked down on some seat as on a rollercoaster, one is free as a bird to navigate interestingly and fascinatingly using ones full body in movement guiding where one chooses.
And if that isn't convincing, even better consider the fresh powder experience with cold smoke billowing up as one launches down with gravity through each turn while floating crystaline snowflakes catch colorful prismic rays against the sun!
Aside from all the physical stuff already mentioned, continuity and nostalgia. Skis are a time machine to people, places, and experiences past, present, and future. I can be 4 or 50 at any moment in my memory on skis. Just checked out a vid of an old friend's son winning his regional HS SL race. Cool to see the third generation on the hill. Have a couple of other old friends getting together for a session later this month, and got a vid in the mail of friends playing on light telemark gear near my old hometown in Japan and another clip from an old friend in Europe. And then there's tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing the work and fun crew at the local hill. Our little guy will start next season, and I'm hoping to get 'grandpa's' 215 Fisher Alu's out from MI as a center of a ski and ski picture wall covering 4 decades... of course leaving room for what's to come!
There are so many reasons both physical and spiritual. But ultimately, it is because skiing provides the most powerful connection I have to the unbridled joy of my childhood - when skiing meant everything. While other kids were putting pictures of their favorite heart throbs on their walls, I was dissecting the latest issues of SKIING and SKI magazines. The largest wall in my bedroom was plastered with full page ads for Fischer Presidents, Rossignol Stratos, VR 17's, Head Comps, Lange Comps, Marker Rotomat and Look Nevada bindings and so many other objects of wishful boy fantasies.
And now, now 50 years after I first strapped on a pair of skis at age six, I still feel like that kid. And now, as then, I feel more alive at the end of a day on skis than after a day of doing anything else. I bet my 87 year old uncle who brought me into the ski world, and still hits the hill hard, would agree.
Can't say why, exactly-- but it's one of the things in life I enjoy most. That's the truth.
I'd guess it has something to do with a combination of being outside, being active, the thrill of going fast and getting air, the sensations of making both high and low effort turns, the surfiness of planing over powder, the challenge of finding and keeping a line out of near infinite possibilities, the friendships and spending time with buddies, showing off, getting shown up, trying new things.
Oh, and the beer...
It's hard to not sound cliche and corny when answering this question. But, I'll give a go. I ski because it's the one thing in life that I am undeniably passionate towards. I guess it started before I can remember. I was a ski baby growing up and both of my parents were ski instructors, so I lived on the hill, surrounded by ski wannabees. I love everything about it - the exhilaration of laying down railroad tracks, getting nice a nice face full of fresh, the camaraderie when skiing with others, the scenery, and the feeling of windburn and fatigue after a long, but short day of skiing. A non-skier asked me the same question once and I gave a similar answer. It still doesn't give skiing any justice.
If I could no longer ski...I don't know what I would do. I don't know why I would no longer be able to ski, unless it is a career ending injury. But, to answer the question, I suppose I could pick up snowboarding!
All of the above, but in one word, for the THRILLS, which is independent of your skill level.
When I can't ski anymore, which at my age may not be not so far off the distant horizon, wrap me in a blanket, put me in a rocking chair next to a sunny mid-mtn chairlift with a view. Then give me a box of chocolates to hand out to skiers/boarders as they approach the lift.
I ski because my wife told me I had to embrace the Michigan Winter three years ago. Now I am addicted. I love Colorado and will never, ever miss a trip out west in the Winter. As stated above, it is a combination of exercise, family bonding, freedom, fun and time where work cannot find me. I love it and will ski until I am not safe. There is inherent joy in pushing myself on steep terrain and in bumps.
It's fun athletics is number one but above hits a major point. It clears your mind of everything except making that run.