The Labor of Love

By Charlie Reetz

Everyone who skis and snowboards expects to have the most fun possible right on their first run. It continues until you’ve tired yourself out and you go to après to have even more fun. What some may forget or overlook is the process and preparation of shredding the gnar. Such things as driving 4 hours north from the city or constructing the perfect jump fall under this procedure. It is what’s known as “The Labor of Love.”

In my career of snowboarding there have been many things I’ve had to do before enjoying a day on and off the hill. For example, if my friends and I wanted to ski or shred urban rails it would take time to build a setup before attempting the tricks we plan to throw down. In the backcountry, skiers and riders will hike uphill, through the woods and into the bitter cold to get to that perfect untouched line. Families who are all jittery about getting to the mountain must prepare in good health, which may include a hearty breakfast and making sure everyone has their equipment. Snowmaking, Grooming, Park Crew, Ski Patrol and many other team members are out there before most of us to make sure we have the most fun possible by assuring the best quality conditions. It is something we are programmed to do in order to get the full experience. We even pride ourselves as East Coast Skiers because we look for the best things even when Mother Nature hits us with -20 degree weather.

It can’t always be perfect out there. In my own personal case I’ve had a day where I was having so much fun but by the end I broke my collarbone on a rail in the park. I actually kept on snowboarding until I realized that I couldn’t raise my arm above my shoulder. Eventually I had surgery with 9 bolts and a titanium rod put in. I was out for a month and a half. I was performing small physical therapy exercises before the end of the season and was able to comfortably ride a few more days before April. During my time off I exercised and told myself I’d be stronger and better for next season. I believe that kind of determination lives in all of us because if everything were to be perfect we might get bored.

Work hard so that you can get the full experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s skiing or not, it applies to everything in life. You do what you want because you love it and you want more. The rewards can be tremendous whether you’ve finally landed that trick or you’ve just taught yourself how to ski downhill without falling. That’s why it’s called “The Labor of Love” because if you’re not doing what you love, then why do it?