It’s all about the climb

Ivy Kaplan

As a Nordic skier, a common question I get asked is “what’s so appealing about skiing up hills?” Sure, they seem like a lot of fun to ride down, but why challenge that concept and do the opposite?

I have to admit, I probably ponder this question daily as I begin my workout and the first hill comes into sight. However, after some self-reflection and  experience climbing up hundreds of hills, I finally figured it out.

I start off, knowing the hills are there waiting for me. As much as I try and forget, it’s hard to ignore them and the physical and mental challenges they pose.

Then I reach the base. From the bottom they seem impossible and blown out of proportion. I usually start questioning myself and my self-confidence begins to fade.

Finally the climb begins. I start breathing harder, swear to myself inside my head uncontrollably, but eventually get into a rhythm and begin to tackle the terrain.

Then comes the final push. The horizon approaches and it becomes all the only thing I  can think about. I muster up all the strength I have left and slowly but surely, reach the summit. Upon making it I’m flooded with positivity and instant gratification.

Although hills, like any other challenge we commonly face in life can seem ominous, the sense of achievement that comes when they’re over is incomparable to anything else.

In one of the last ski races I had, just as I began climbing a hill, I wiped-out. As I had just lost a lot of speed and momentum, I immediately started questioning myself. Of course, this is the exact opposite of what I should have done.

It’s easy to see a daunting problem come at us and want to run away or psych ourselves out. What’s hard is facing the problem head on and taking control of the situation.

In the end, that’s why I do Nordic. It gives me the opportunity to gain a sense of accomplishment in overcoming challenges and boosts my self esteem, no matter how big or small the hill.

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