By Gina Bégin
Solo exploring: It’s what I do. One day I just got tired of waiting for adventure partners to join me outdoors, so I took matters into my own hands and headed out on a trail run by myself. It might not seem like a big deal to you but, growing up with a protective mom in an urban southern city, I felt very vulnerable, as if everyone was wondering what a girl was doing out in the elements by herself — and that I might fall down the mountain and no one would be able to find me for days. Hey, no one said fears are rational. Fast forward a few years and you’ll find that solo adventuring is now my norm. I do get a chance to hang out with friends from time to time, but I don’t allow my love of being outdoors to get squashed by not having a partner. The most common place you’ll see me by myself? On the ski hill. I simply can not stand idly by and let a season’s worth of pristine Snowbasin powder go untouched by my skis. It took some cautious first days to get used to skiing solo, but then I bucked up, got some confidence and thought to myself, “So what if people wonder why I’m here by myself? [By the way, they weren’t.] Skiing is the one thing I do for pure enjoyment. I’ll be darned if I let others stand in my way.”
But no one was standing in my way. In fact, if anyone took that role, it would have been me — at least me before I put my brave pants on. But once I did, I was liberated. The more I faced adventures head on, the more confidence surged, not only in my my ability to play outdoors alone, but in my personal endeavors. I found myself holding back less in life and charging forward more — and wondering why the heck I waited so long to lead my own life. I’ve also learned the beauty of “me” time. Take, for instance, this Christmas. As my family is over 2,500 miles away, I was spending the holiday without loved ones; however, I couldn’t quite fathom the idea of being alone, sulking in the shadow of a Christmas tree. So I put those brave pants on (read: ski pants) & made the short trek from bustling Salt Lake City to the peaceful quiet of the snowy valley where Snowbasin resides.
It was at this picturesque resort that I found an atmosphere of acceptance. Folks donning Santa hats and smiles were all around me: an outdoor family of sorts. No one judged me. I took the chance to talk to others on the lifts, or ride completely alone as it suited my mood. Whispering through trees or laying rails down on groomers, the adventure was my own. Add to that the brilliant sunshine on still untracked powder stashes and Snowbasin’s incredible red rock outcroppings and you’ll understand why I felt deliriously lucky to be in the midst of it all. Don’t sit home. Take charge. Adventure and a better you is waiting above the city, above the noise: a glistening slice of confidence that somehow transcends the ski boundaries and seeps into your daily life. It’s addicting, this solo exploring — and it’s empowering.