Dedication to the Sport

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Takes one to know one. Sid Kurtz, Dirtbag King

Takes one to know one. Sid Kurtz, Dirtbag King

I recently caught up with Sid Kurtz, reigning Crystal Mountain Dirtbag King, and asked him what it took to be a member of the royalty. He said, “It’s dedication to the sport, man.” To be a true dirtbag, according to Sid, you have to be here when it rains, when it doesn’t snow, when the conditions are firm, when everyone else finds fix-it projects around the house.

I love that.

It got me thinking about dedication to skiing. It takes all kinds. There are the dirtbag types–those that surf couches in exchange for shoveling snow. There are fathers teaching their sons to sky–like the man I rode the Forest Queen chairlift with on Sunday. His young son watched jibbers hitting the Sasquatch Park and told his dad he thought jumping was awesome. The dad reminded him that controlling his skis was the first step. Once he learned how to stop and turn, then he could try out the jumps. Later, the son asked if the “wire moved” on the lift. His dad explained in painstaking detail how the chairs detached from the cable when coming into the bull wheel in order to slow down. He explained it better than I could have.

Not every day is bluebird.

Not every day is bluebird.

Then there’s the weekend warriors that fill B Lot with their RVs. Campfires flicker in the wind, illuminating these temporary abodes. Every Friday night the RV lot fills with the same vehicles, spots are staked out and neighbors chosen. By Monday morning the RVers have returned to work and left B Lot empty.

So what does it mean to be dedicated to your sport? I’ve had the opportunity to interview athletes and adventurers for my upcoming book, and every one of them is dedicated to their sport. I’ve been noticing what it takes to be dedicated to skiing.

Dirtbag Royalty, like Sid, are obviously dedicated. RV families that book a slot every weekend are dedicated too. So is the dad that carefully explains the workings of a detachable quad to his son. As is the mom that parked in Employee Housing with her daughter, rode the shuttle, rented skis, and finally got on the lift nearly an hour later. The midweek pass holders with the slopes to themselves on weekdays are dedicated. The CMAC parent that laps the race course, taking video of her son every weekend knows what it means.

To be a snow sports enthusiast, you have to put in some effort. Anyone that chooses skiing as their sport, arriving dutifully to the slopes every Friday/Wednesday/Sunday or whatever day of the week, regardless of the weather, knows what I’m talking about.

Skiing isn’t easy. Neither is snowboarding (although some might argue with me on that). It takes a little effort to get out on the slopes. But it’s worth it. The effort and dedication are worth it.

What do you think? What does dedication to the sport mean to you?

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7 responses »

  1. All this true, but to be truely dedicated to THE SPORT its gotta be about more than just yourself, how you feel when you ride. The truely dedicated are perma-stoked – and they share that with everyone, all the time. It can be easy with like-minded riders, but its a special bro that shares our vibe with the gapers without laughing at them, the worried moms with little kids, and even the office guys who think sport is something you watch on TV. Our sport is way too exclusive, and we need more of this kind of rider.

  2. You said it best with “To be a snow sports enthusiast, you have to put in some effort.” Terrible road conditions, all sorts of random expenses, the occasional long lift line, bruises and breaks, unstable snowpacks—the list goes on. And for what? Those first few turns of the season when all the noise in your life is muted and it’s just you and the mountain.

    Dedication to snow sports seems too easy sometimes.

  3. Love the dirtbaggers! I’ve been a dirtbagger in years past (although not willing to ski in the rain much anymore; who am I kidding, scratch the “much”). And it does take effort, even today, maybe especially today, when I don’t make it up nearly as much as I used to and out of the habit. More than once I’ve bemoaned the alarm going off way before dark on a weekend morning and making the long drive to Crystal from north Seattle. But of course it’s always worth it.

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