Asit Rathod knows Mount Hood.
Broday Sunday Funday rolled right into Manic Monday, and firing up my phone I wondered what is it that we are looking for on Facebook, Instagram, or whatever is the next social media platform. How often do we really see something that is sincere? How about a post that doesn't make us feel like we were in high school? That feeling of insecurity, thinking everyone's life is so much cooler and happier than ours. I'm here to tell you all what you already know: It's all nonsense.
All of us have had sad days that led into sad nights that led into sad months. That uncomfortable tossing and turning not being able to sleep because the sadness of life changes keeps spinning in our heads. Why is it so hard to admit that life can hurt ultra-deep, and we will do anything to mask the pain? Is my online life a sincere reflection of my reality?
Here is what I do know: Surrounding myself with people who love me and activities I love has always been the right choice. Sunday was the perfect example of taking steps towards the best choice —even though I so wanted to make the wrong choice.
I woke up tired and sad wanting to have a lazy Sunday. The weather forecast was all over the board and I was ready to bail on climbing. I started to tear up thinking about my sadness while driving up to Mount Hood. All I wanted was to drive back home to curl up in bed.
What changed my day was a simple text from my brother Chris Pew letting me know he was waiting in the lower lodge at Timberline. If it wasn't for Chris waiting for me I would have been back home watching Pretty Woman.
Chris was exhausted from a week-long hut trip plus lighting it up Saturday night. However he hit me with a smile and hug that was like a shot of espresso. He told me about the uncomfortable touching from the dude fitting him for his wedding jacket and we couldn't stop laughing. We came to find out the upper lift at Timberline was on weather delay pushing our day back a bit. We both had commitments back in Portland but we sucked it up and started towards the summit at 11:30.
The day was windy and coupled with the occasional cloud cover it made us doubt if we would have good skiing.
Climbing up to Hogsback I began laughing because I heard Chris's Jambox pumping out Truffle Butter by Nicki Minaj. Despite being super tired I couldn't stop myself from dancing like a Bollywood star. Hands waving and hips shaking I knew in this moment it was going to be a good day. Climbing from the Hogsback into the Pearly Gates was absolutely beautiful with ice and rime surrounding us. The wind had fiercely picked up and clouds began to swirl above us again. Quickly taking the obligatory summit photo we dashed over to the Old Chute to get our skis on. Just as we were ready to drop in the sky cleared and the winds stopped!
The skiing was icy with chicken heads at the top but then it changed into 10 inches of blower powder. We both opened up the turns with super G speed while laughing all the way to the shelf of the last pitch of West Crater Rim. We decided to sit and have a Bro Picnic. Chris told a couple stupid jokes, we smoked some cigars, and enjoyed the view of clouds rolling below us while the ravens soared above.
Clicking into his skis Chris looked down, smiled, and dropped in for the best turns of the year on Mount Hood. Almost a foot of blower powder with face shots. I could hear his hooting and hollering. I dropped in just to the right of his tracks on the largest section of the face and it was without a question the best tracks I've had all year. We couldn't stop laughing at how awesome the day had turned out.
Skiing down to Illumination Saddle we ran into our long-time friend Ken Lucas and swapped stories about the day. With the sun setting Chris and I skied untracked wet powder all the way into Big Zig Zag Canyon before making our way back to Timberline. We exchanged one last hug and smile before jumping in our rigs to head back to Portland.
Driving home I could see the alpenglow on Mount Hood in my rear view mirror and couldn't stop smiling. The reality of the difficulties in my life had faded away just for a little bit and I felt a calm in knowing that I will get through it. Nothing is impossible if we just keep climbing.
Asit Rathod is a first generation East Indian born and raised in Oregon. He started cross country skiing at the age of five on Mount Hood and spent five winters in Chamonix, France and four summers in Las Lenas, Argentina. He is currently the ambassador to skiing for the great state of Oregon and recently completed his 200th ski descent from the summit of Mount Hood.