I’ve been talking about getting new skis for a long time now but stepping off the curb to make such a big purchase has been hard. I’m not convinced new equipment will improve things and I’m one of those folks that secretly laugh at the perfectly outfitted person who can barely get off the lift. My skiing has improved though and since it’s one of the few sports where I can still keep up with my kids the investment seems worthy.
So off I went last week to the experts to get their advice. When I told them how old my skis were they laughed. The youngest guy in the bunch (a Shaun White look-a-like) told me using them is like using a brick-sized cell phone with an antenna on top. You need the iPhone of ski’s he said. That’s “way better” for your bad knee.
They measured my height, weight, and how deep my pocket was and sent me off with a pair of demos to try. Someone from their shop would be up at the local resort and could adjust or swap them for another pair if needed. I left more confident than when I’d arrived.
First run down the mountain I could feel the difference right away. They were more flexible, less catchy, and easier to carve with—all good things when you’re skiing. The trouble was they were fast—so fast I was worried. I’m no Lindsay Vonn. I can’t turn on a dime and when the one I’d found earlier in the day flew out of my jacket pocket I knew I needed to talk to the experts again.
I went to their tent and found Kent—the quintessential Colorado ski bum. Equal parts philosopher and ski technician he knows everything there is to know. If he hasn’t been in a Warren Miller movie yet he will be one day.
“How do you like the skis?” he asked.
“They feel great but they’re so fast they’re scaring the daylights out of me.”
“We tune them to be fast,” he said.
“Well you’ve tuned my skis for years now and they’ve never been that fast,” I shot back. “Is it the new technology?” I asked.
“Really?” I said questioning his diagnosis.
“These skis are more forgiving than your old ones so you can get away with cutting corners. But follow through is everything. You’ve got to start your turns from in here,” he says pointing at my heart, “and commit to them.”
I left shaking my head. Okay what-ever mountain man! I thought. That’s a way too Zen-like thought for even me.
I got on the lift laughing at the idea but then as I watched some of the skiers who knew what they were doing I could see Kent was right. I wasn’t following through on my turns. Thanks to a technological advantage I didn’t have to. No wonder I felt more like I was bobsledding than skiing. I was giving gravity the advantage by not following through when I turned.
By the top of the lift it occurred to me I do this in other areas of my life as well. Technology has made cutting corners easy. Things like sending an email/text instead of making a call, reading news bullets rather than a story, a magazine instead of a book, or a Bible verse instead of a chapter—the list of shortcuts is long. Yet they’re all designed to accomplish the same thing—do the bare minimum to stay connected to the world rather than fully engage it.
Some would argue there’s nothing wrong with this and I’d have to agree. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with taking advantage of every technological advance available to you but it begs the question—is what’s available what’s best? Do more gadgets and apps improve your life or leave you feeling like you’re just flying through it?
It’s a simple debate. One I didn’t anticipate shopping for skis would spark. But heading into the New Year I like the illustration it gave me. The “Temptation” skis I demo’d are aptly named because the big temptation everyone faces in the age of technology is cutting corners—doing less with more rather than more with more. However, in 2013 that’s not how I want to live. I want to finish my turns. I want to go where my heart says go fully committed to making real contact not just skimming the surface.
I think Kent would approve and I know God would. With every advantage at His disposal God always finishes what He starts. He follows through on His promises. There are no shortcuts in His world and in light of this, why wouldn’t I my life to be the same? Why wouldn’t you? More really can be more, not less!
“So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” 2 Corinthians 8:11