Just Go Skiing with CBMR Athlete Mark Mikos
I am a skier. I do not have memories of learning how to ski. Like walking, I learned to ski before I could hold onto memories, and just like walking, skiing is just a basic part of life. If there is snow, you go skiing, and that will put a smile on your face. At times in my life I forgot that skiing is just like walking: just a part of life. I would try to make it something else, I’m not sure what, but I would overthink, over-train, and over-ski. This would lead to frustration and disappointment. Not that I don’t take skiing seriously anymore, but at times I would elevate skiing to such a high pedestal that I thought I had to ski beyond my abilities, which led to only 4 finishes in the first 7 years of competing in big mountain competitions (well over 20 starts).
Friends would often tell me that if I just skied like I normally do when we go out for a rip, I would have success. Honestly, the lack of finishes, the inability to put two runs together, and the knowledge that I could hang with the best but was not doing so, really got to me. Entering the 2015/2016 season I had thoughts that it would be my last season competing in big mountain competitions. For the 2015/2016 season, my mindset was to just go skiing. I wouldn’t stress about anything, I wouldn’t focus on what any other competitor would do, I wouldn’t overthink, over-train or over-ski.
My first competition of the season was at my home mountain of Crested Butte, Colorado. As I dropped into Headwall on day 1 and skied down the ridge between Headwall and Teo heading towards angle gully, my head was flooded with all the fun runs I had on this part of the mountain (one of my favorites). I was all smiles. I held onto those thoughts as I skied the rest of the run and during my run the following day. I just went skiing and I ended up in third place, tying my best result ever. I was ecstatic. I knew my head was in a good place and I felt confident I could stay there throughout the season. Ultimately, I did and I ended up ranked first in the world in the overall rankings for the Freeride World Qualifiers.
Now, it’s the 2016/2017 season and I will be competing on the Freeride World Tour. Just thinking about the FWT, I feel glimmers in my mind from my old self wanting to overthink, over-train, and over-ski, but I push those thoughts aside and focus instead on skiing and putting a smile on my face. When I step into the start gate, the competition will fade away leaving only the mountain and I. Then, I’ll just go skiing.