amma chap

Inspired in part by so many of you, such as PY soloing the massive pilgrimage of Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon,  my own Beloved Ananda has hired a coach (not me!!! well, kinda it’s me…save that for later) to train her for a Sprint Triathlon here in Durango this April…in preparation for another one in August.  This will be Ananda’s first ever triathlon and the first competitive event she’s contested since the January, 2007 “Snow or No Snowshoe Race” in Kinlani whereupon she podium’d without even realizing she was pregnant with Dewachen!   “That’s why i felt so sick on the drive up to the race,” recalled Ananda several weeks after the event.  How Dewachen’s little foetus was able to hang on literally for dear life while Ananda thumped and grinded her way through a 10k Snowshoe Race at nearly 9,000′  is yet another inkling of Dewa’s Rinpoche sprinklings…speaking of which…see that snow covered hill over Ananda’s  left shoulder?  That is Chapman Hill, perhaps this nations most highly productive ski area for champion skiers.  Just this week, Durango sent 7 14-15 year-olds to the Jr. Olympics in Freestyle thanks to their night skiing practice on this little hill.  i took Dewa there this afternoon…come with me…oh, and yes, Ananda is looking pretty dang lean already, eh?   You GO, new MOMMA!!

to me,  Chapman Hill ain’t a ski hill; it’s an altar…


This is what Chapman Hill looked like when we arrived at the Hill during “Daddy and Dewa Time”…Conditions are growing a bit ‘marginal’ even by our Southwest standards, so i knew i had to jump on this great, warm afternoon/early evening to get my daughter over to the same Hill i grew up skiing on…and many, many other Champions throughout the decades.   Not too many Turtle Island towns have ski hills right within their city streets…avid skiers will immediately recognize three different snow markings which shows the versatility of skiing disciplines of the average Durango kid…from photo left to right:  the Jumps and Rails are for Slopestyle, the mogul alley with jump is for Mogul Freestyle, and the swirly cat-scratch marks on the far right are ruts where the Alpine Slalom racers place their gates beneath the lights each night.  you can see the Rope Tow on the far right.   out of view, far left:   Chapman Hill used to sport 3 Nordic Jumping sites upon which i grew up on and eventually made the Jr. National Nordic Combined Team.  The jumps, now sadly dilapidated, stir my soul each time i look up at their disheveled remnants…During the spring of years past, Chapman Hill used to be the absolutely vicious start of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic Mountain Bike Race…this Memorial Day (which is always the weekend for the Iron Horse), they are bringing back the famed Mountain Bike Race along with the super world famous Iron Horse Bicycle Road Race.  i’ll be racing both the Road Race and the Mountain Bike Race. i know WF Online Student Monty Mason from Arkansas is going to try to ‘pull a PY’ and crank this baby off!  What about YOU!??!!  there  are still a handful of spots for YOU to Toe the Start Line of this one of three Sacred WF Sport Pilgrimages.

a dewa bardo

I mentioned “Daddy and Dewa Time” above.  another Word Choice i use instead of ‘babysitting’ is “DewaSadhana” which reMinds me that no matter how busy i may be,  there is NOTHING more important than dropping the load of adult concerns and dropping into the realization that each and every second i spend solo with Dewa IS my Spiritual Practice (sadhana).   especially having lived through the linked auspicious, miracles surrounding Dewa’s birth through us,  both Ananda and i accept Dewachen as our Teacher, our UpaGuru.   having thus prefaced,  i need to tell you that before my DewaSadhana begins,  i have been Trained by my Tibetan Teachers to…well, visualize her dead.  gone.  hit by a car,  or God knows what else.   such a visualization is done formally upon each new Moon in my Zendo along with other rituals.  this is a Practice of Non-attachment; of realizing that Dewa may have come through Ananda and i,  however, she is not ‘our’chi-ld.  She is God’s.  our Sacred Duty (SvaDharma) is to protect, guide, and enjoy Her.  so,  anytime i see a scene like above; Dewa’s calculator, ‘magic pen’, clipboard, and shoes  (which She must gather each time she feels the need to sit in Daddy’s “captain chair” and “do office work” with me…) then,  i am required by my Training to reflect on all the parents that have lost a chi-ld and had to come home to scenes like this…knowing that ‘their’ chi-ld will never again be with them in this lifetime. Om Mani Padme Hung.

dewa chap 1

The beautiful aspect about the horrifically difficult Tibetan Ritual Death Meditation practice, is that it makes mOMents like this one ring out with such a deepened sense of Gratitude and Respect that it just blossoms my heart as wide open as a ski hill…we stopped our skiing for a mOMent so that Thomas The Train could do some ‘rail grinds’…Thomas, by the way, not once left Dewa’s mittened, precious hand…even on the Rope Tow…

dewa chap 3

I can’t say that “i’ve always dreamed of skiing with a daughter on winter afternoons in my hometown…” However,  ilg’s gotta admit;   this works too.   I’ve lived in Durango most of my life…yet, sometimes, in mOMents like this one?   i gotta pinch myself to see if i’ve not already ascended to some Heavenly Realm of the Buddha…i swear,  in Durango the rivers, creeks, trees, snow, and birds all seem to me to sing the Dharma in the most seductive of ways…

chap 5

This is the infamous Chapman Hill rope tow…the thing was a frozen yet slimy serpent that gave you whiplash when i skied here when i was this kids age….and it still is!

dewa chap 4

Dewa, of course, seemed to have as much fun on the rope tow as she did screaming and laughing off the jumps!…another great Blessing is that our whole family can ski here for free because we are employed by the City of Durango as yoga and personal fitness teachers at the incredible Durango Recreation Center.

since i know some of you are gonna ask;  yes, ilg is wearing nordic classic skis on the alpine hill.   1)  before the rope tow opened,  i skied halfway up the hill 3x with Dewa in my arms so that we could ‘hit the jumps’ before anybody else…and you wonder why i think “Heartbreak Hill” at Mt. Taylor Winter Quadrathlon is ‘easy’?   2) it’s way more easier for me to pull off the constant New Daddy actions with Dewa while skiing without being burdened by alpine or even telemark equipment.   3) it’s way better training to spend as much time in nordic track skis doing weird stuff;  builds superb ski/snow sensitivity….and, to me,  it’s waaaay more fun!    before going skiing with Dewa,  i had already done Asana/Pranayama/Rituals and classic skied 20ks up at the Nordic Center.  wanna win races?  build your training on WF Pre Fatigue Principles!

chap finish

and…if anybody knocks attitude at our small little ski hill?   just ask “Cody”  – age 9  above –  what he  and about 50 other little Durangatangs,  including myself and about 14 Winter National Champions, what WE think of Chapman Hill!  to me,  it ain’t a ski hill; it’s an altar. Cody was one of the few kids on the slopestyle course that had ski poles…Dewa wanted to know why he had ski poles and the other kids didn’t.   so,  we chilled at the top of the rope tow until Cody came up again to ask him.   When i asked him,  he didn’t even pause in his traverse over to the first jump as he shouted his answer fast from his purpling lips;

“cuz’ you can’t throw a 720 without ’em!”

…and Dewa and i watched him effortlessly throw 360’s off the biggest of the jumps, i had no doubt that this kid has probably thrown down a few 720’s already…

…and i had no doubt as well,  that i choose the best place in this world for me to raise “my” precious daughter…

6 Responses to “Ananda Toes The Start Line of a Triathlon, Plus; Chapman Hill is Durango’s Maker Hill of Champions…”

  1. py says:

    Ananda, you are RADIANT!
    way to go!!!

  2. coach says:

    Precious PY!
    you may wish to re-read…i ironed out a few grammatical errors! thanks, i’ll go tell Ananda right now! Blessings!

  3. Roberto Crespo says:

    Fantastic post Coach, on all counts. I too visualize losing “my” twin daughters, and nothing enriches time with them more than realizing that in an instant, it could be over.

    I offer my triathlon experiences to Ananda, though I haven’t raced since ’06 I put a LOT of time in the ‘swim/bike/run’ world and raced one of the toughest half IM’s around at Wildflower. Anything I can help with, just ask.


  4. coach says:

    PY: It is you who shines so brightly with the WF chi. i am inspired by your amazing (ongoing) Practice of Wholeness! Om Shanti.

  5. eyt :() says:

    Ditto PY: Ananda you ARE RADiant! :-) Chi-tastic xxx

  6. Karl Kerschner says:

    Relationships are our salvation, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

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