Goethe Would Rip on a Snowboard

Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Far from sharing exhortations of obscure 18th-century German scholars, this column was conceived as a venue for profiling the often unique, sometimes downright-mad things Yukoners do to be active, stay fit and, generally, get stoked.

But I hope it will be more than that: just as importantly, I want it to be about what a person might do – what they could do.

I want it to embody that delicious moment when a person suddenly becomes aware of a genuine possibility they hadn’t considered before and thinks to themself, I could do that, before saying aloud with conviction, “Let’s do it!”

As we get older, it’s natural that we sometimes tend to stick to what we know. We find ourselves being defined by margins that get narrower with each passing year – kind of like those Russian dolls that get progressively smaller and hold a little less space, a little less potential, as each new doll emerges.

Let’s Do it! will be written in the spirit of resisting that trend – of putting that little doll into a bigger one that re-defines and expands it in some way and then taking those dolls and tucking them into an even bigger one and …

Don’t get me wrong: I’m far from qualified to offer advice on how anyone should live their life (that snickering you hear is my wife). No delusions of grandeur here. But I hope in the coming weeks to introduce readers to possibilities for active pursuits, adventure and maybe even, by accident, some personal growth (no promises – it’s your trip).

“Let’s Do it!” is a phrase pregnant with possibility.

It holds the anticipation that something fun, possibly adrenalin-inducing is about to happen. It’s spoken by snowboarding buddies after a long hike up a backcountry peak when we’re strapped to our boards, casting our gaze outward and contemplating the powdery descent that lies ahead.

Teammates shout it when urging each other to pick up their game. Sometimes it’s uttered days or even weeks before the actual event takes place: “Hey, we should go and ride the Sam McGee Trail next weekend.”

“Let’s Do it!”

When you’re in a group, possibly with cold beverages in hand, the expression often builds momentum …

“And after the ride, maybe we should hit up my cabin in Tagish and make a meal?”

“Let’s do it!”

Trouble is, once momentum builds, it can be hard to rein in when prudence is really what’s called for … “And we should get a keg.”

Every now and then it’s good to take a step back and remind yourself of possibilities. And contrary to the myth that living in the North curtails your options, we know the possibilities here are endless and in most cases entirely accessible to anyone who summons the chutzpah to get off the couch and jump in.

Sure, mountain bike rides on Sam McGee Trail sometimes get turned back at the summit by snow, and a cabin can end up smelling like stale keg beer no matter how many times you clean it.

But the important thing is that every now and then you cast aside any misgivings, exclaim “Let’s do it!” and get in the arena. Sitting on the couch may be way easier, but it’s rarely as much fun.

Got a suggestion for an active pursuit that could be profiled in this column? Want to draw attention to your sporting or recreational organization? Are you staying fit in some unique way? Drop me a line and tell me about it at [email protected]

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