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Powder Snow Skiing And StartUp Entrepreneurs July 2, 2012

Posted by Bernard Lunn in Uncategorized.

My son is starting to love powder snow skiing, so I am starting to teach him about evaluating and managing avalanche risk.

If you ski off piste (off trail in American) in order to find powder snow, you will have some risk. Books have been written on avalanches, institutes have been created, it’s a big subject. I have learnt a few ways that kept me alive for 50 years off piste. All I am trying to do is pass on the simple rules. At some point he will be standing on a slope that looks very tempting and I won’t be there and he has to make the call – safe or not? He may have a friend who trusts him as the expert, so two lives will be at stake.

But the big point that occured to me and that I really want my son to learn is that powder snow skiiers don’t love the risk of avalanches. It is just one of the things we have to deal with – like getting out of bed  really early on days when it is pelting with snow and most people want to snuggle in for a few more minutes under the covers – to get the unadulterated joy of powder snow skiing.

This made me think about how the media characterize entrepreneurs as loving risk. That is of course baloney. Successful entrepreneurs hate risk, they evaluate it, minimize it, manage it. Just like powder snow skiiers. They don’t avoid it, that would mean they could never get their venture off the ground (get the powder snow), but they don’t love risk. One of the greatest mountaineers of all time, Chris Bonnington, climbed all the big peaks but was also known for turning back many times just below the summit, had a great line:

“There are old mountaineers and there are bold mountaineers but there are no old, bold mountaineers”. He was of course bold, tough, brave, skilled and all the rest, he was also damn good at evaluating risk.




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