Posted on

Blog # 11: The Up North Guided Premonition

It's all just a dream.
Premonition Realized!

It’s dark and cold out with good snow coverage, not dark like night, but dark like the last bit of daylight has just left the sky. Standing in the parking lot looking at the dark cottage I notice a line of skiers on both sides and behind the building. There are no mountains, only a good-sized hill behind the cottage, off in the distance. The other two noticeable features of the cottage are that all the windows are illuminated by interior lights and there is a large, analogue, Roman numeral clock on the outside of the structure.

Every time I woke from that dream I felt good, in that I liked the dream, and I was always surprised about how vidid the dream was. Vivid, not in color, but vivid in how well I remembered the dream. Must have dreamt that scene 20 times from when I was about 16 to about 22 years old. And I always wondered, how the hell was there skiing without mountains???

I was lucky in that my parents took us on several downhill ski trips when I was young. Never really liked downhill skiing but loved being in the mountains, and I was intrigued by small town, mountain life. Towards the end of the time period when I had that recurring dream, I got hooked on snowboarding and moved out West to chase snow and pursue mountain biking. Have not had that dream since those days but I remember it like I had it last night.

Fast forward 23 years and I’m standing in front of the cottage that would become the Up North Guided Tours shop with the real estate broker, and I smack my head with my right hand and say: “it’s the fucking dream!”

I did the deal and started the company. Like waking up from the dream I felt good, real good, working the business. In the same token, it’s been a dark time. I’ve been away from my wife and kids, a lot; there has been no demand for our Fatbike services; and then there’s the enormous money loss. The money is just the money, it’s not what drives me. The fire in me is the comprehensive skill set that allowed me to set the company up and operate it coupled with the lifestyle. The legal background played a hand, especially regarding land use. My real estate work played a hand, not only in buying and improving real estate, but also in operating the cabin as a vacation rental. My Tahoe snowmobiling experience played a huge role both in knowing how to guide day trips as well as knowing how to snowmobile the steep powder. Then there’s all the business experience that got me to this point. But of equal importance is my extensive Fatbike experience. What can I say, I was in the right place at the right time back in the Fall of ’09. All that experience, all that talent, could not prevent me from the huge failure called Up North Guided. MOTHERFUCKER! What a mess.

The dream laid it all out. I feel good about the Up North Guided work to this day, but it has been a very dark time. I’m sure timing played a role in this too. After all I am almost 48. A guided tour business is something to start when you are young, not when you have real responsibility. Further, Cable is a Nordic ski town, not a Fatbike town. I’m not a Nordic ski guy. Next time I promise to pay attention…