Life lesson from Snowboarding: Post Holes

Life lesson from Snowboarding: Post Holes

Khai Johannes

By Khai Johannes \ April 3 2024

Post holes occur when your foot sinks into fresh snow leaving behind a cavity resembling a hole made for a post when building a fence. These holes can be as shallow as your ankle or as deep as your waste. 

After a steep exit off of the Ninety-Nine 90 chair, I began freeing my lead foot instead of securing my right, there was hiking to do. At the top of the lift is the start of a steep hike through a gate to some of the most beautiful terrain in Park City. Once my board was secured to my backpack that carried my probe and shovel and my beacon triggered a response from the checker, I began my push upward.

The beginning of the boot pack tends to receive enough traffic that the snow is packed down firmly into an easy to follow path. I found a comfortable and efficient pace through that section until I reached the crest of the first summit. From my earned perspective I could see variations of drop points chosen by those who'd managed to beat me to the top that morning. The untracked turns I craved would require me to traverse beyond the low hanging fruit. 

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The set of post holes laid out on the ridgeline before me looked as though they'd reach my knee. I could hear the cheers of those who chose to drop in on lines that didn't require the hike I'd planned to make. The distance engulfed the volume of their cries.

I began testing the fit of the single set of post holes in front of me, and I felt like Cinderella as each footfall seemed to be tailormade. Even the stride was a match for me and I began feeling like I was having a conversation with someone I’d never met. I could see in the distance where they’d come to a stop, leaving an imprint of (possibly) their most flattering feature. 

“I got tired here,” the imprint told me. I managed to continue past their break but only because of their efforts and path left behind. Eventually, my phantom travel companion leading the charge made a left and I was left looking upward at a blank canvas. 

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The process of slugging through snow and breaking trails can be exhausting. Each step forward revealed exactly how much energy I was previously conserving. I finally reached the crest of the peak and looked down on an unreal canvas in front of me. Once I was strapped in, I looked back on the post holes I followed and left behind with gratitude and made turns that would live in my memory forever. 

A metaphor for life.


Wherever you want to go or whoever you wish to become in life, there's a chance someone else has aspired to the same and gone in that direction before you. It would be deeply beneficial if you could learn from their footsteps, pitfalls and setbacks so you can conserve your energy for the journey further ahead. Then, when the time comes and you have to make mistakes of your own, forge your own path and make your own post holes, you've conserved enough energy to do so. In learning from those who have traveled the paths before us, we set ourselves up for our best chance at reaching fresh powder, which I can only assume is a metaphor for sweet success. 

All the progression we have is built off of the footprints of those who have traveled before us. 

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