Sean Chastain

High up in the mountains, with nothing but cold smoke and the breeze in your face as you fly down the mountain on your board—that is experiencing the natural world in all its beauty and majesty. There is no better way to get closer to the creator and his amazing creation than boarding in the Rocky Mountains, but that’s just what I think. Riding consists only of you, blue sky, white powder, and stately pine trees surrounded by jagged mountains laced with snow. A place where one can forget about all their troubles for a while and become a part of nature itself. In essence, it is timely escape from the craziness and worries of civilization. Nothing else matters, worldly cares seem to fade away. Although nature in itself is pure, unadulterated, and unaltered by humans, boarding allows man a glimpse into its ageless wonder, beauty, peace and tranquility, along with the ever changing mighty force of nature. Unfortunately, once man enters into nature, it no longer remains pristine and unaltered by human intervention. However, in order to enjoy this amazing creation and the forces of nature, man must enter its pristine beauty and experience the sights, the sounds, the smells, the taste, and the feeling that it offers. Consequently, not only is it important to fear the forces of nature, but equally important to minimize the disruption of the natural beauty as little as possible from human intervention so that it can be enjoyed by all in the future generations.

On top of the world, the Great Divide, the rugged Rocky Mountains laced with snow spirals toward the bright blue expanse of the Colorado skies. If you have never been up snowboarding in Colorado’s mountains, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. There are majestic beauties that most never see let alone experience unless they begin their boarding adventure at the top of the peaks of the Rockies. The best part of boarding down the steep slopes and the best thing nature has to offer a boarder, is the cold smoke as Coloradoans call it– to out-of-state visitors it’s the whitest, softest, fluffiest powder known. It doesn’t hold all the moisture like California snow, but it is a light, dry snow, due to the lack of humidity in Colorado. Being high up on top of a mountain, you feel as if the world is yours and nothing else can touch you. Everywhere you look there are stately pine trees, jagged mountains, and powdery white snow covering every inch of everything you can see and touch. The beauty is indescribable as the boarder embeds himself into the deep powder with a rhythm and flow that feels as one with nature.

On the chair lift up to the top of the mountain, one can take in all the beauty and smells that nature has to offer. High on the top of the mountain everything is pure, as if nothing has touched or blemished the ancient landscape. Crisp, clean, Colorado mountain air has a clarity and freshness like none other. It seems to heighten the awareness of all of your senses. As you take in a deep breath before you start down the mountain, this cool, crisp refreshing sense hits you and just makes you feel at peace, and alive and ready for anything. However, to get the full effect of the peace and tranquility that nature so graciously and abundantly offers, it is best to board down the back bowls or areas that collect a lot of snow. Back in the bowls in the most remote areas is the freshest and smoothest powder that boarders live to go through. As the snow gently falls on the serene landscape, not a sound is heard, but the snow board carving through the unadulterated white landscape. Your thoughts are clear and free from outside noise. It is here where you can hear your innermost thoughts without uttering a word. Your soul speaks to you and you can actually hear the still quiet voice of the divine creator. Is this a part of what heaven may be like? I can only imagine.

Beauty and tranquility are an integral part of nature, but so are the constantly changing mighty forces of nature that wreak havoc on the surroundings and on any invaders of the pristine surroundings. Sometimes, it is inconceivable to imagine that a place of beauty and tranquility can become a raging avalanche that wipes out everything in its path or a snow blinding storm with a negative temperature that would freeze the hardiest soul. Obviously, humans have no control over the forces that are in place in this world and we as humans are at the mercy of these laws of nature. Consequently, humans must respect and fear nature. It is a force that requires us to reckon with it and we will not win if it puts its full fury upon us. Therefore, we must obey the laws of nature and adhere to the boundaries. Consequently the boundaries that one may experience in the snow park are there not only for protection, but also to protect the environment. As a boarder starts down a slope, there are obvious signs and inconspicuous ropes to keep human invasion to a minimum, but also to protect visitors, warning them not to go out of the marked trails. Although the boundaries may prevent a boarder from getting the full experience of nature, it is worth the inconvenience to preserve the natural beauty, peace and tranquility for years to come.

Pure unadulterated nature is becoming rarer in our heavily populated state, but what would life be without the opportunity to see nature in all its beauty and experience the tranquility and peace that only nature offers. If nature can’t be seen, experienced, or enjoyed, living in this amazing world would seem pointless. However, this beautiful creation known as the planet earth is the only known planet with life and it needs to be protected for generations to come. Our children and grandchildren and so on should have the opportunity to experience the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains so that they to can board high up in the mountains, with nothing but cold smoke and the breeze in their face as they fly down the mountain on their snow board! May they carry the good stewardship of protecting this earth like the generations before them. This experience and beauty must never be taken for granted so we can all experience nature’s full effect, for it is truly a breathtaking gift from our creator.