This article has been adapted from the Winter 2019 issue of the Downdays Magazine.
It ain’t always cupcakes and roses. Sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned. Halfway through your ski tour, the weather closes in and your planned run turns into a precarious ordeal, picking your way down slowly through whiteout. Perhaps you’re skiing sidecountry, make a wrong turn, and spend the next few hours hiking through elephant snot out of a ravine. Maybe you’ve spent all day hitting a street spot, coming ever so close to the end of the rail, only to come off early every. Single. Time. Or you’re out on a multi-day hut trip, and come to realize with a drop of your gut that today’s leg is going to be way, way longer and way, way more strenuous than you thought. Probably shouldn’t have packed that heavy six-pack of brews. Congratulations: You’re experiencing Type 2 fun.
The Urban Dictionary defines Type 2 fun as “an activity that’s fun only after you stop doing it.” Another article defines it as “miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect.” For the Downdays definition, a simple practical analogy will suffice: the experience itself may have not have been fun while it was happening, but you’ll still have a good story to tell at the bar afterwards.
Things don't always work out quite the way you planned. But that doesn't mean the fun has to be over. Photo: Ethan Stone
The concept of Type 2 fun exists because, as mentioned before, it ain’t always peaches and cream out there. Passionate skiers aren’t going to have a good time, all the time and every time they go out. It’s the nature of the game: the mountains are fickle, and we’re putty in their hands. You will be turned back, whimpering and broken, from some of your goals. Bindings will break, skins will slip, slopes will be iced, routes impassable, boot-packs deep and taxing, lines un-skiable and tricks un-stompable.
Understanding Type 2 fun allows us to make the most out of these situations. Sure, you didn’t ski the greatest line out there in that blizzard—but still, you were out there, weren’t you? Sure, you just spent five hours bushwhacking out of that dead-end line—but you still skied it, right? Sure, you rag-dolled all the way down that landing—but at least you tried the trick. Sure, your muscles are screaming in anguish after that 2000-meter ascent—but you did it, you made it up that goddamn mountain, and you’re now drinking a brew that was way too heavy on the way up. The soothing balm of Type 2 fun will quickly assuage the pain. “Dude, you really did that?” Your friends will ask incredulously. “Yeah,” you’ll reply with just a hint of pride. “It was definitely a Type 2 fun kind of scenario.”