Sources of Influence

For my photography class this summer, I had to give a “sources of influence” presentation. I realized how important my family and the people around me were to shaping my love for the outdoors. It was no coincidence that almost all of the photos I took this term were in the outdoors.

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The family tower 🙂

My love for nature started from day one; I was lying in the ski sled as a baby, standing on skis once I could walk, and soon enough I was chasing down my sister every chance I could get. Growing up, my parents took my sister and I to surf at beach, hike in the mountains, climb up cliffs, ski up and down mountains, and bike on trials. I pretty much did every sport imaginable as a kid, rushing from track to swim practice or from a soccer game straight into back to back basketball games, week after week. I am not even sure how I had enough energy to do all the sports I did! However, as I got older the time commitment grew for each sport and I had to pick my favorites.

By the time I reached high school, I was set on playing college basketball. My mom had coached both my sister and I growing up and I absolutely loved it. I always looked up to my mom and my sister, hoping that one day they wouldn’t crush me in a game of 1 v 1. But….my freshman year of high school things changed. I trained seriously for both skiing and basketball and realized that I loved skiing even more than basketball.

It wasn’t necessarily my love for either of the sports that had changed, I think it was my love for the ski culture that made me even more excited to ski. The people in the ski community were excited to go for a long adventure hike/run in mountains, the athletes were excited for training, the coaches wouldn’t see training as a punishment, and there was by far no lack of self-motivation! I have played many sports and nothing comes close to the weird, funny, enthusiastic, and adventurous ski community that I am fortunate enough to be a part of.

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Crust cruising in Bend, Oregon.
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Mountain running in Bozeman, Montana.
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Mountain biking in Burke, Vermont.
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Post spring series hang out.

This presentation made me realize that both my family and skiing have taught me work ethnic, given me a sense of adventure, and ultimately fostered my love for the outdoors. I have learned how to set goals, overcome set backs, and work my butt off for something I really care about. And ultimately, skiing has allowed me to travel to some of the most incredible places in the world and meet really cool people.

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Hammer time.
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Best friends and best teammates ❤

My final portfolio for my photography course revolved around the central theme of water. I found a quote by Margaret Atwood from the The Penelopiad to accompany my portfolio.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”

Maybe my choice to focus on water was no coincidence. I found a way to train around my elbow injury this summer, avoiding using my upper body for over 10 weeks. I spent a lot of time in water, whether it was a pool, a river, or a lake because there is something about water that has always made my body feel better. After a lot of patience, my elbow pain suddenly disappeared and I was booking a flight to New Zealand. I finished up school early, packed my bags, and jumped on a plane to fly half way across the world to ski on snow at a U.S. Ski Team camp.

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I guess I have always loved water.
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I spent a lot of time at the rope swing this summer at Dartmouth.
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Post OD run ice bath in the river.

I am fortunate to have such positive sources of influence in my life. I am excited to be in New Zealand, adventuring in the outdoors with people who share the same love for skiing and outdoor adventures as I do. Look for another blog shortly with my thoughts on the U.S. Ski Team camp in New Zealand, but until then…here are some teasers!

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First day on snow and VERY excited! Slowly easing back into using poles. (PC: Matt Whitcomb)
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Sunset walks (PC: Jessie Diggins)
Crust Cruise 18 ppl-8
The MOST EPIC crust cruise ever! (PC: Matt Whitcomb)
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Run along Lake Wanaka (PC: Jessie Diggins)
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Matukituki run! (PC: Jessie Diggins)
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Yup…that is a big waterfall (and that not even half of it).
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Skipping rocks in the glacial river during our Matukituki run. (PC: Ida Sargent)
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Daily sunset walks. (PC: Jessie Diggins)

More about New Zealand to come soon!

-JKern

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