Dan Czyzyk (pronounced Chizick) is an inconspicuous web developer living in sunny Santa Cruz California. Like most Santa Cruzians, he surfs, enjoys the sunshine and generally takes advantage of the beautiful redwood forests in the surrounding hillsides.
However, the INVIGORADE staff got together with him to discuss a part of his life, not normally exposed in such a beachy town.
Dan is an amazing downhill skier. This is what we found out.
Dan, shredding the gnar
INVIGORADE: So Dan, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Dan: (Laughs) The man the mystery, the legend. So much to say so little time! I’m a local web developer, who moonlights as a skier. I’ve lived in a lot of places with beautiful mountains, perfect for skiing. Squaw Valley, Big Bear, now I live near enough Tahoe that I go almost once a month.
INVIGORADE: When did you start your secret life of skiing?
Dan: Well I learned from my Dad when I was 11 years old, and he used to just shred down the mountain. It was family time, time to be in nature and time to challenge myself. But when I got into high school it became something that I could channel all of my teenage angst into. I wasn’t getting amazing grades in school, and I didn’t have anything else I felt I was really great at. I went to boarding school and skiing gave me something to feel good about, something to make me feel like I could excel, it was grounding.
I would look at a mountain, or a section of one, and people around me would say, “Woah, don’t do that.” or, “Be careful there.” and I wouldn’t even take a second to stop and think, I could just go and read the mountain as I was going and I would just fly down it. (EDITORS NOTE: We suggest downing a healthy serving of INVIGORADE before and after shredding this hard on the mountain)
INVIGORADE: So where are you going skiing now that you are all grown up?
Dan: Well now a days I can make it up to Tahoe for a weekend without too much trouble. I will get a season pass and go about once a month. I recently took my girlfriend skiing for the first time, shes never been before and it was great to share that part of myself with her.
Unfortunately now that I’m not 19 anymore, I’m more prone to injury. The harder I ski, the more of my meniscus I tear and the more surgeries I need.
INVIGORADE: Yikes, does that mean when you ski now you really let up?
Dan: (Laughs) Well yes, but if I go out with someone else who is really good I can’t help myself. There will always be a part of me that enjoys the thrill enough to ignore my knees for a day. Plus, it hurts me more to go up there and ski below my skill level then to give it all I’ve got.
INVIGORADE: Wow, you really love skiing. Can you tell us why?
Dan: I really connected with skiing from a young age. I felt lost an unappreciated when I was younger and skiing really connected me to myself. I could reflect on life and be by myself with the mountain. It was my mountain during that time and I could go anywhere and do anything with skiing. There were so many challenges that I could take on and be successful, and I think that is what it is really all about. Challenging yourself and coming out the other side feeling like a winner. Plus it is absolutely beautiful out there.
INVIGORADE: Alright, so do you have any advice for people who are just getting into skiing?
Dan: Yeah, actually I do. The obvious stuff is take lessons and practice. Practice, practice, practice! Challenge yourself, try a run that is harder than you are currently doing, and just know that the more you practice the better you will get.
But there is something else I want to tell people who are just getting into skiing. I used to ski with this guy Harold Maartman, hes a telemark skier from Norway, and he is really really good. I mean I saw him jump off of a 110 foot jump one time, that blew my mind.
But he used to tell me, ‘Pain is temporary, glory is forever.’ So I guess thats what I want to tell new skiers, pain is temporary, glory is forever.
Thanks for the chat, Dan! #KeepItUp on those slopes (although they may all be melted by now!)
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