2 min read

Have big dreams

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I have two things in common with Gary Vaynerchuck:

  1. We're both Jets fans
  2. We both think you shouldn't wait until the weekend to do things that are interesting to you.

He and I have different dreams, though. He's been pretty public about wanting to own the Jets. My dreams have changed pretty often.

A decade ago, what I really wanted to do was own a ski mountain. I got really far along: you can buy a small mountain for less than the cost of a studio apartment in New York City, and it seemed to me that I'd be far better off owning a whole mountain rather than something with room for just a bed.

Then I got deep into the economics of running a ski area, and I realized that I didn't want to do that, because running a ski mountain is one of the best ways to lose money on the planet. You're totally at the mercy of the weather, and making snow costs a fortune.

If you're curious, you can probably find a ski area for sale via SAMinfo for a small one or Mirus Resort Advisors for something a little more substantial. This time of year, when the snow has melted and owners are staring down the barrel of having about a million dollars' worth of capital improvements coming this summer, is when resorts start coming on the market.

So I changed to owning a Nordic ski area, which was pretty much DOA. No one really likes to cross-country ski, and you're even more at the mercy of nature there.

My wife decided to make my dreams come true for my 40th birthday, which was a few years ago now: she (and my mother-in-law) bought me a chainsaw and a bunch of signs, and set me off in the woods in our backyard.

I spent about two years diligently making a trail system back there, chopping fallen trees and clearing bramble, and so now I have a Nordic ski resort. My mom bought me a pull-behind groomer for one of my birthdays or Christmas so I could smooth out the trails, and this past winter, we got at least 10 days in. And, yes, pulling a sled that weighs 50-70 pounds through deep snow sucks.

My dream was off, though. I didn't actually want to own a resort. I wanted to spend time outside with my family and friends, sharing this thing I love to do. I didn't want to run a business – I just wanted to have fun.

Dreams are more like guideposts than goals: they show you which impossible thing you want to spend your time on, but they're not an endpoint. They are really more of a starting point, or way station if you're a bit lost.

My new dreams involve... I don't actually know if I've got a dream today. I've got action plans, where I'm trying to make Hopara into a real business, and I've got things I like doing, such as doodling and writing. A friend asked me the other day which one I'd rather spend all my time on, which was a false choice – I can't spend all my time on one or the other. I need the balance.

Maybe that's the dream: to live in balance.