“The Mountains are my classroom…welcome.”
I met Alex Taran by chance or perhaps it was by way of fate. As I was flying to Denver for my first SIA show this past January, I sipped a ginger ale and thumbed through the new editions of Rolling Stone and Powder, travel habits formed years ago. I read about Alex’s skiing life in Powder, but the article, entitled “Punk Rock,” was almost more fitting for the pages of Rolling Stone. It echoed the rock-n-roll lifestyle and nomadic antics of a traveling band and, if not for the skiing, her life would be an RS cover story. But who knows, it very well still could be.
Our chance meeting at SIA while standing in line for coffee led to emails, phone calls, and text messages. Immediately we connected through our passion for skiing and our belief in its spiritual basis. Skiing is not an activity Alex participates in, nor hobby that builds enthusiasm. Skiing is fun. That simple fact is not lost on Alex. It’s the foundation of her passion. But skiing is a part of Alex’s soul. It is in the make-up of her being, as much a part of her as her hands or heart. She was a skier long before she ever clicked into skis. It courses through her with every palpitation and it is in all her encounters and personal missions. Skiing is as much her religion as it is the driving force behind her thirst for knowledge and lifelong learning. With Alex, skiing is simultaneously the basis of her conceptualized world and the vessel she uses to transcend the boundaries in it. It’s the reason to reach for more and the ladder on which to stand.
Very simply, Alex Taran is the most captivating female voice in today’s ski conversation. You need look no further than to her goggle tan, bro-tilted sunglasses, mountain windblown hair, septum pierced sunburnt nose, and the smile stretched across her face every time she talks about skiing or clicks in, to see that she is for this and by this. Look to her as the benchmark for today’s skiing passion, to where we’ve been, where we are, and most importantly where we are going. Alex Taran is the future.
What does skiing mean to you?
“What does skiing mean to me? I guess in order to understand what I love about skiing I need state what skiing is not. Skiing for me is not: some ‘core lifestyle or the newest patented technology. Yes I crash on floors, hitchhike, wake up early, go to bed late, and could tell you all about Icelantic’s line of skis for the upcoming season. But, that is merely a byproduct. For me it all comes down to bottom line: skis are enablers.
Skis enable me to get into the rawness I love, that rawness being the mountains. You see, the mountains don’t care: who you are, who you know, how sick you are, or what brand of ski you use. The mountains exist in a raw pure state, for no other reason except they are there. One moment they are the most violent brutal area on earth, and the next, the most peaceful forgiving place. The mountains remind us that we are truly insignificant. They remind us to breath in the present moment.
The “revolutionary” thing about skiing is not the most recent innovation in technology (though I, like any skier, enjoy these innovations.) The “revolutionary” thing about skiing is the connection. We connect to the mountains, our friends, family, ourselves, and perhaps most importantly, to the moment. It’s that sunrise, that sunset, those three really deep turns, those five really hard crusty turns. It’s about the pause, followed by the ability to do nothing other than just be.
I ski because it is real. Perhaps someone gets this same feeling from bowling. I can’t say for sure, I’m not a bowler. But what I can say for sure, is that I love skiing because whether I’m on a mountain in that violent storm or on a mountain in that peaceful calm moment, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m here now, with two boards on my feet, and that alone is the most powerful sensation I’ve ever known.” –Alex Taran
By: Paddy O’Connell