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Being present is as simple as taking focus away from yourself and listening to the people around you. It's crazy the people you will discover in confined spaces.

‘Cover Girl’  Nat Segal, reflects on her trip up to McGillivray Pass Lodge last winter. Rather than focusing on the skiing, she gives us some less obvious insights…

I was invited up to Whitecap to join Forecast Ski Magazine to shoot as an athlete for a feature in the publication. My first reaction was 100% focused on my self – I was anxious about performing in front of the camera and keeping up with the people I was working with. There was Bruno Long, the photographer, who runs a mellow 20km before breakfast, writer Matt Coté, who’s been ski touring before I knew the backcountry existed, and our fearless leader Lars, the infamous ginger badger known for charging up and down mountains at ferocious speed.

As we flew up and out of the staging area in D’arcy this is what I was focusing on. While I chatted away with the other members of our group, I wasn’t really paying them the full attention they deserved. My mind stayed like this for the whole first day. It was only later after skiing when I joined some of the ladies in the intimately spaced sauna, that I really started to listen.

Nowadays it is pretty easy to become self-consumed. Every advertisement we see is about improving or treating ourselves with new workouts, diet plans or products that will make us happier or help us to ‘reach our potential’. It is hard not to become a little narcissistic. I wish I could say that I go to bed most nights worrying about the future of humanity or the planet, but to be honest most of the time my thoughts are utterly selfish.

So why am I blabbing on about this on the Whitecap blog? I imagine if you are reading this, you’re doing research for your next trip or trying to glean what you might need to pack for your days away in the backcountry. I figured I’d take a moment to pass on something I learned during my trip to McGillivray Pass Lodge.

The rest of the group (outside of myself and the Forecast crew) were part of the Evo Women’s camp. They had all independently joined the trip to gain more experience backcountry skiing and snowboarding. They were all extremely nice and vibrant, but what I initially failed to pick up on was their diverse and interesting stories.

There was Tracey and Ainsley, two incredibly fit and inspiring mums, who were looking for knowledge and motivation to push themselves in the mountains- despite also running households and small businesses. Then there was Kate, a first time split-boarder who had seriously thrown herself in the deep end with this four day trip. And Brenda – my favourite reveal – a mum, an entrepreneur, and an in-training AMGA guide. During our final dinner she casually admitted that she had not only summited Everest, but also managed to post one f the fastest recorded ascents for an American climber at the time. #Justsayin.

Nowadays there is a lot of talk about being present and in the moment. There are apps that will help you get there and workshops you can take to be mindful. While all these are great, sometimes being present is as simple as taking focus away from yourself and listening to the people around you. It’s crazy the people you will discover in confined spaces.

Photos: Bruno Long