Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Two Passions Birthed--One From the Other

Racing as a kid
The first sport that I ever truly fell in love with was downhill skiing.  My dad is the Wisconsin Clark County Forestry and Parks Administrator, and one of the county "parks" is a little ski hill called Bruce Mound Winter Sports Area.  (County owned ski areas an incredible rarity nowadays.) When I was a little kid, our whole family would go inner tubing out at Bruce Mound.  I would look across the rope tow to the "Bunny Hill," were all the beginning skiers were.  I wished I could be over there skiing instead of tubing.  I would bug my dad about it, asking when I would be able to ski.  "When you're older," was the standard response.

One day at the age of 9, older finally came.  All it took was one run, and I was hooked! We skied hard that whole day, and despite having gashed my head open and thereby creating a scar that I still carry, I knew I had discovered the greatest thing on earth. 

Tail Grab Iron Cross, 05-06 Season
From that day on, I was seriously addicted. All the way through middle school, high school, and into college my thought processes and decision making revolved around skiing and how things would impact my skiing. Sure, I made some sacrifices for the things that are really important in life (church, etc.), but skiing was always right near the top of my priority list.

Mountain biking came onto my personal radar as a way to do something interesting during the off season, and initially was only my third athletic priority.  Mountainboarding had provided my off-season adrenaline fix for about two years, and it took a year and a half of splitting my time between biking and boarding for mountain biking to truly dominate.  Still, it was only an off-season activity, and not my main athletic focus.

Big Mtn. Backcountry, Whitefish, Montana
When I graduated high school, I decided to make my dream of living in the Rocky Mountains a reality.  Northwest Montana was calling my name, and I moved there to attend Bible College... and ski powder.  Man, was that the year to live there, too! By the end of the season, Whitefish locals were simply referring to it as "The best year ever." I logged 54 days of skiing that season, with the vast majority of them being knee deep (or deeper). there is nothing that rivals that kind of powder skiing.

Powder in Wisconsin
The move to Montana was pivotal in my mountain biking as well.  I bought a FS rig, decided to take my riding more seriously, and you can see the effects of that decision all over this blog.

Why don't I ski anymore?  Simply put: I met a Georgia peach, and realized that I would trade skiing (hopefully only temporarily) for a lifetime companion. Having now lived in Georgia for about 15 months, and due to a 12 month per year riding season, mountain biking has come to dominate my athletic passions.

So Greg Rides Trails... and sometimes they're covered with snow!


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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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Mountain biking, plain and simple. Trail reviews, ride reports, and philosophical musings induced by delirium from grinding up way too many vertical feet.

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