Shoveling snow. A feeling of flow.

I still ski (cross country) pretty well. But this Christmas Holiday I experienced more flow, purpose and coherence shoveling snow.

Most of my time outside with the shovel, I was actually being useful. Clearing snow from the roof of our cabin and improving the view through our windows.

I think my mother appreciated it. – At least she was willing to take some video of me. And I liked the idea that I was doing some necessary work while she cooked delicious meals.

At one point, though, I just wanted to play with different movements and free snow throws. I know that I’m not Rocky training for the Ivan Drago fight. However, being out there, I have to admit that those epic scenes inspired me. Here are some pictures:

Loaded walking with awkward weight.

Sinking deep into the snow.


Hip hinge.

Weight transfer.

Power walk, loaded by the deep snow.

Sinking completely through the snow, having to crawl to get up.

I also walked backwards and sideways.

Variations of cross crawls to recover.

In the end, I combined it all and walked forward while shoveling.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe,” Simon Sinek says.

This might explain why shoveling snow made me feel so good: I’m able to tell myself why I’m doing it. Here is a three point list:

– Moving snow from the roof and around the cabin is a practical task that needs to be done, and resonates with the Georges Hébert quote: “Be fit to be useful”, which is embraced and beautifully communicated by the MovNat community.
– I want to be able to contribute in manual farm and forest work. Shoveling snow is probably decent preparation for that. “Use what you have. Do what you can”.
– Thanks to Tim Anderson’s writings, I have fallen in love with the term: “Old man’s strength”. That’s the kind of strength that gets things done. It’s also the kind of strength that stays with you for life. It’s only one way to achieve it: Physical labor. Read the Original Strength books for more depth considering this. It’s also portrayed in Thor Gotaas’ books about the cross country skiers of the past.

Below is a video of the fun in the snow. I didn’t have the patience to really trim it down to being short and concise. However, for those interested, it shows how I move while working. I welcome every coaching advice for how I can improve my shoveling!