They Watch From The Other Side

Post by blogger | April 14, 2008      

One of the many things that makes alpinism a razor to the spirit is indeed the sometimes nearness of tragedy. Recent deaths of pro skiers during movie filming and now during a ski competition bring this to the fore.

Colorado backcountry skiing.
Myself and a friend, Saturday at Marble.

Appropriate balance of risk and reward is always a worthy topic — as your blog comments of a few days ago show. Yet beyond that, when bad things happen in the mountains we need to examine all the beautiful blessings that continue in spite of tragedy. Certainly those who’ve passed would want that for us. Thus, to look at the bright side is tribute.

Case in point: On Saturday my wife and I headed up to the Colorado alpine for some backcountry skiing. It was the first clearing day after yet another big storm, and we didn’t know what to expect. Turned out some of the snow was transitional, but much was still beautiful fluff. At the top, someone said “welcome to the last day of winter.” So right they were. We had a fine run, under the smiling eyes of those no longer with us. A blessing, and more.

Backcountry skiing.
Above, blessed by Saturday’s powder. Each turn a prayer; each a request for the next, and an asking that others would receive the same. And every slice of fluff also a word of praise and thanks for the bountiful life we’ve been given.

Backcountry skiing.
Take a look at this “God’s eye” view of Iceland from the tiny door porthole at the rear of the European passenger jet we were on last week. Imagine you’re the Guy upstairs, looking down on those Icelandic mountains. You zoom in (because of course you have Superman vision), and yep, there is a skier down there. You smile because hearing prayers is your thing, and those are mighty fine turns.


9 Responses to “They Watch From The Other Side”

  1. BJ Sbarra April 14th, 2008 9:28 am

    Amen to that.

  2. Dongshow April 14th, 2008 10:02 am

    great post Lou

  3. Aaron April 14th, 2008 12:14 pm

    Every turn a prayer, nice one Lou…

    …and slightly funny based on the immediately prior post… 😉

  4. Geof April 14th, 2008 1:10 pm


    As always, well spoken. There is risk, no doubt, but no bigger blessing than to play in this wonderful playground… We got bumped this weekend on the East Face of Pikes, no access and too late in the day to climb… Maybe next weekend. Sometimes, on days like that, maybe someone is watching over us?

  5. GOD April 14th, 2008 5:38 pm


  6. Lou April 14th, 2008 5:43 pm

    LOL, but then, perhaps that’s the Man Himself…so shut my mouth?

  7. Dmandave April 15th, 2008 1:29 am

    Hey there Lou, I’m part of the group which awkwardly stopped for you to pass by us on your way down on Saturday. We all wish we had recognized you sooner so that we could have chatted a little instead of merely just exchanging a quick ‘thanks’. But alas we didn’t know you were the infamous L. Dawson until we saw that Wildsnow sticker on the back of your truck!
    Anywho this post surely puts mine to shame but if you’d ever like to check out our humble club forum here are the trip reports I threw together from the weekend we spent in Marble:

  8. Shannon April 15th, 2008 9:27 am

    Beautiful, thoughtful, inspiring.

  9. Ski Break Lover April 15th, 2008 9:53 am

    Great post! Had me captivated!
    Like the photo from the Jet, enough to make you apreciate the warm!

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Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

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