I've heard people say they're sitting out a day of skiing or riding because they have "nobody to go with." I never understood that. I suppose there are people that feel like they need to have a group with them when adventuring, and I'll agree that skiing with friends is always a blast, but to me, there is something so restorative about skiing or riding alone; solitude, nature, fresh air, turns at your own rhythm and pace, trails of your choice each and every time...the list goes on. In the immortal words of Fleetwood Mac, "You can go your own way."
I've always compared the ski/ride culture to surf culture. Surfers will go alone or in groups, and it's not necessarily about riding waves the whole time, it's more about communing with nature on a silent and visceral level; waxing the board, paddling out and feeling the water, waiting for the wave with your name on it, timing it just right, and riding it as far as it takes you. The purpose is getting swept up in the moment and letting everything else fall away. Waxing/sharpening my skis, the squeak of the packed snow under my boots on the walk to the charlift, clicking into my bindings, breathing crisp, cold air deep into my lungs on the ride up, and sailing down the trail on my edges as far as it takes me is what it's all about.
I like to head up to the mountain and take runs on my day off, just to center myself and get some uninterrupted exercise. People will sometimes ask who I'm taking runs with, and I say, "No one. I'm lone wolfing it."
As I carve my way down the contours of each passing knoll and fall line, the only thing on my mind is exactly what I'm doing. And in a world where we're inundated with news, politics, and every little miniscule detail about what your friend's neighbor is having for dinner, that mental silence is golden.