On December 28, 2022

Reflections on another year in Killington

By Merisa Sherman

I have been and always shall be a ski bum. While throughout my life, the journey has varied greatly, the message has always been the same: there is no peace, no salvation, without the feeling of floating across the surface of the earth. This may appear in different forms, in varying forms and seasons or sometimes not even seem like movement at all. I am kinetic. There must be movement, a graceful and rhythmic movement to the story of my life.

Over the snow

To be lost in the rhythm of your turns as you float over the groomers, amongst the trees or through the powder — to me, this movement defines my ski bum journey. I ski by myself, for myself. I reach out with my legs and my heart, feeling for answers in the snow. And then I embrace the wintry surface, pulling my skis towards my center, my heart.

Over and over again, we repeat this rhythm, getting lost in the dance with the surface of the snow. Whether it is the rhythm of the turns or each stride while we skin, with each repetition of the movement we become one with the mountain, floating toward the peace and salvation, through the rhythm of our movements, we are flying.

Over the water

As a rower in college and a flat water canoeist all my life, I have found the peace of floating over the water. With each stroke, I can feel the water gliding under my canoe. As I release the paddle from the water, the canoe begins to lighten and it floats gracefully along the surface of the water. Any falter in the rhythm of the stroke forces the canoe to sit heavy on the lake. When we find the perfect ratio of pull to recovery, the canoe seems to magically lift off the surface of the water. There is a sense of elevated calm, of nirvana, of peace. The tension drains from the mind and we are lifted away from the heaviness.

Over the earth

With the mountain as my backyard, I have found a new peace in the rhythm of my footsteps. There are moments when I feel as light as a deer, gently tapping the balls of my feet onto the rocky surface, as I run and hike through the woods. I am still learning, but I recognize these moments. They are familiar to me from years of playing in snow covered woods. And when I can find myself floating through the woods, I know it is the rhythm of my steps that has taken me to this place of peace. Each stride, each step, pulling me closer to a something of which I know not, but know just the same. There is magic in the movement.

Internal peace through movement

Throughout time, philosophers have been fascinated with internal peace. For many, it is holding the body still, freeing the individual to focus on the patterns within the mind. But for me, this stillness makes me frantic, like a mouse caught in a cage. I race about, searching desperately for a pattern, a rhythm, a movement that will free my mind. I need a rhythm, a dance, a song to make my soul take flight. To be making turns through the powder, to be paddling across a lake, to be running through the woods. These are the things where I can float; these are the things that bring me peace. And I could not be more grateful to have found myself in a place where movement is part of life.

Everyone here embraces some form of the active lifestyle, whether that is skiing or snowboarding, paddling or fishing, shoveling or gardening, running or hiking — we all love our natural landscape here and celebrate it every day. From the moment I found Killington, I really could not have imagined myself living anywhere else.

Thank you to everyone who has been reading my column these past few years. I cannot express how grateful I am and I hope to deliver more stories, adventures and deep thoughts in the year to come.

May you find the spirit of the mountains in your soul and may you have more days on snow this next year than you did in 2022. Happy New Year!

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