So what do Zen and Snowboarding have in common, I hear you ask?! Well perhaps nothing, and I am not sure I am especially qualified to talk about either! But the idea of Zen Snowboarding struck me, like a moment of enlightenment, on a trip to Chamonix a few years ago. Yet here I am still trying to define it! Like any moment of realisation it is sometimes difficult to put that idea forth coherently and really grasp it so that it makes a difference to ones-self.
I think the basic idea is to let go of ones-self while riding, to stop thinking about what you are doing and rather just do it. This doesn't mean that your mind stops working, of course not, but it means that you don't think about every movement, rather there is a flow directly from your mind to your body. In a sense you bypass your ego, emotions, and become one with yourself.
These thoughts struck me because often when I am riding I find myself getting very caught up in myself. Thinking too much and allowing my, often negative, emotions to hold sway over my riding. What I am getting at here is the Japanese Samurai idea, they were into their Zen, of no-mind!
This of course is often easier said than done! You can't expect to just strap into a board, having never ridden it before, disengage your thoughts, and expect some mysterious force to guide you down the mountain unscathed! The idea of no-mind requires detailed learning and practice of your art, only once you have reached a certain level of skill can you disengage you thoughts and let everything just flow!
There are going to be many aspects to this website as it develops in the future. What I hope to do here is provide you with a different way of looking at things so that as I journey into the Art of Zen Snowboarding, others will find some of the vaguely philosphical ideas, concepts, tips and exercises developed here, helpful and beneficial in developing there ownn snowboarding and life. What is to be presented here is my own enquiry into Zen and Snowboarding, and as such should be a door-way for your own investigations.
Bruce Lee said "Take what is useful disgard what is not."
The aim here is also to develop a slightly more spiritual aspect to snowboarding, something that is often lost. The mountains have always been an awe inspiring and spiritual place, and I believe an awareness of this can only make for a better experience when out on the slopes.
Essentially Zen Snowboarding is a freeride philosphy. This is the background that I come from and the area of snowboarding that I find most stimulating. What I write here will be from this perspective but I am sure it can easily be adapted to freestyle. The aim is essentially to be one with the mountain enviroment through which you are riding. To be able to adapt effortlessly to your changing surroundings and to be able to get the most out of the mountain. This does require a high amount of technical ability but also to be at one with youself.