Joel Reichenberger: Lofty goals left unachieved | SteamboatToday.com

Joel Reichenberger: Lofty goals left unachieved

— I’ve done everything but return my rental skis, and, in the end, I didn’t come close to achieving the skiing goals I laid out for myself when the season started.

I said I’d ski 50 days.

I fell 14 short.

I vowed to show up early to ski the fresh powder.

I made it a few times but slept in more than I care to admit.

I said I’d ski “once, sometime, somewhere” in the backcountry.

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Nope – I didn’t duck a single rope, ride a single snowmobile to ski or climb up anything snowy.

That accounts for three of the goals I set five months ago.

The fourth, though, makes up for all of that.

My last goal was to improve, and there I found rousing success.

It was a great season for me.

Tips from a few of Steamboat Ski Area’s best ski instructors certainly helped. By working on different stories, I was lucky enough to tag along with instructors who combined to have more than 100 years of ski experience.

My best and worst moments often came on the same days.

A plenty capable friend came to visit in January and really helped me tackle areas I’d never touched before. It was great, but that series of adventures eventually led me to the top of a large boulder about halfway down from the top of the Pony Express chairlift.

My buddy was pretty sure he wanted me to take a picture of him jumping it, which meant I had to go first.

It really wasn’t that tall – maybe 6 feet. Kerry Lofy and those who have hucked Hell’s Wall surely would laugh.

I tried, landed and immediately somersaulted forward, out of my skis. I was injury-free and in position to take a photo of my friend’s slightly more successful jump, but I never had the illusion I could jump anything successfully.

I have big plans for next year. Maybe the backcountry adventure will be a little more real, and maybe I can get those 50 days.

I want to try to Telemark, maybe snowboard. I’d love to get to the point where a dash through trees doesn’t feel like a gut-wrenching death wish.

But for now, I’m on to more goals. Hopefully, the work I did for this week’s Outdoors page about Fruita is only the beginning of a summer of mountain biking.

My only remotely serious trail ride last summer ended about the same way my jump off a rock did, though I was covered in Mount Werner mud, not Mount Werner snow.

So maybe I’ve learned it’s not all that wise to set specific, out-of-reach goals. Instead, I’ll apply my lessons of ski season. I want to get a lot better, have real rides on something other than the Yampa River Core Trail and, by the end of the summer, feel the same success about mountain biking that I do today about skiing.