more than two decades of ski writing, ski teaching, and ski publishing by Lito Tejada-Flores
A ski life is full of great days, great turns, great ski trips to far-away mountains, and of course, great skiing friends. Bob Chamberlain is one of my oldest and best skiing friends.
Bob is a student of mathematics and philosophy, a photographer in the Cartier Bresson tradition who has always kept his camera trained toward mountains and mountain people, and a lifelong powder hound. We've spent a lot of time together, on the slopes and off. A few years ago, after a particularly stimulating dinner where the talk revolved, as always, around skiing, I went home and wrote this poem for Bob and his wife Karen.
The path, initially at least,
seems clear, the skier at first
skis dotted lines—turns,
traverses, schusses—& finally learns
something called technique, only then
can one discover snow & begin
to carve out real runs from this white
& yielding medium: there isn’t any right
or wrong in such descents
& for a while skiing makes sense.
But with enough time, with no
more fear & a calm mind, the snow
itself begins to change: more & more
ice resembles powder. As before
we return to abstractions & find
the mountain has its own lines,
planes, shapes & curves: go back
to skiing dotted lines—a black
on white pattern of movement & form,
pure form—a new world is born.
But we’re still not there, behind
even this intersection of mountain & mind
we sense something always simpler, skiing
not as metaphor but synonym of being.