How to engineer the best experience ever
“I can’t believe our luck.”
Back in the early 2000s, Jeff and his friend Tom were exploring the pacific cost of Costa Rica in a beat-up Suzuki Samurai with broken air conditioning and a couple of surfboards strapped to the roof.
On the advice of people they’d met in the surf further north, they rolled down a pot-holed dirt road into a tiny fishing village with hopes of finding a quiet place to enjoy uncrowded waves.
As they pulled up where the road dead-ended with the beach, they could barely believe their eyes. One after the other, perfect A-frame waves were rolling in, longboard-friendly shoulders peeling away in both directions.
And not a single surfer in sight.
Figuring maybe it was a fluke set, they sat for another five minutes, observing nothing but ocean perfection, all by itself. A few people on the beach, but that was it.
No more invitation required.
Jeff asked at the open-air restaurant right beside the beach if they could park the Samurai there while they surfed, guaranteeing he and Tom would come after for fish tacos and beer. They got a thumbs up.
(The owner and bartender ended up being a Canadian ex-NHL player, still a friend to this day. Story for another time.)
They wasted no more time, grabbed their boards and paddled out.
It was an epic session. One he still remembers with a faraway look in his eye.
Because as much as they were great waves – glassy, perfect size, perfect wedge, perfect push – like we all know as skiers, there’s just something extra special when your’e the only ones there.
It feels like you’ve somehow slipped into a world where, incredulously, Mother Nature has set up and served up perfection, just for you.
Sharing with the masses can be fun energy, but there’s no denying the truth: powder gets skied up, and there’s only so many good waves per set.
So Jeff and Tom surfed until they were beat, and got out to sit on the beach with just enough energy to high five and keep grinning and try to figure out how they lucked out like this.
A woman, walking by, said to them “Wow, good for you. You’re the first ones I’ve seen brave enough to get back into the water. You know, since what happened.”
They glanced at each other, then back at her, a chill snaking its way down both of their spines.
“What do you mean, what happened?” Jeff asked, while at the same time realizing he probably didn’t want to know.
“Oh you didn’t hear about the crocodile attack?”
He was expecting to hear the word ‘shark’. He never imagined that crocodiles were something he should have been afraid of.
The two of them sat dripping and slack-jawed on the beach while the woman explained how recent rains had flushed a nearby population of salt water crocodiles further down the coast than usual, and a local had been bitten and nearly drowned while surfing in the same spot just the week before.
No one had been back in the water since.
The cliché had never been truer: ignorance is bliss.
Jeff thought back to what he said in the car: “I can’t believe our luck.”
After deciding that one session was good enough, in the days after they, and others, headed back out beyond the break to enjoy the surf once more. Uneventfully.
Here’s a sentence I bet you’ve never read before:
It’s nice that when it comes to skiing, you don’t need to count on a crocodile to keep away the crowds. No need to BYOC.
A helicopter works like a charm.
Especially when that helicopter is dedicated to just your group, like how we fly: all private heli-skiing, all the time.
Maybe next winter it’s time to treat yourself to one of those epic sessions, where your brain can barely handle how good it is, and every drop is better than the best gift you could imagine receiving.
There’ll be no crocodile part of the story you’ll tell after. Promise.
To learn more about why private heli-skiing can make all the difference, read this travel story next: White Space and White Gold.
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