It’s called the “Mountain Man *” and here’s what you do: Get down to the bare essentials leaving just your knickers, briefs or whatever you happen to call underwear, just keep it legal and no long johns please. Shoes are optional but recommended. Then go outside, but only when the temps are sub-zero. The colder the better – that’s how it works. If you can last at least 60 seconds you are now a “Mountain Man *”. Bonus if you can get your friends, family or pets to participate with you. The last one to retreat back to somewhere warm gets the crown.

Warning: When your bare skin hits the ice cold, you will be reminded that you are alive. In case you were wondering, besides freezing your ass off the cold temps actually do have some health benefits. Cold therapy and contrast therapy, is used to relieve all sorts of muscle related pain, sprains and swelling. In short but frequent bouts it’s also known to be good for your skin and a promotes a healthy body.**

It sounds crazy but some athletes use a bathtub full of ice as their go-to for recovery. While most people would be quick to say “Hell NO!” to a bathtub full of ice, there is still something oddly intriguing about experiencing the extremes. And if you are going to practice extreme contrast therapy, there would be no better place to do so than in the most majestic mountain town in the world, Banff, Canada.

Now before I continue, I would like to answer a question that some readers might have regarding The Money Runner’s standpoint on personal finance. You may have read posts such as The Pursuit Of Stuff, It’s Stacked Against You or Bankruptcy of Life and you’ve probably come to the conclusion that the MoneyRunner is some sort of miser, cheapskate or maybe that asshole guy who recommends splitting the bill after having one too many drinks.

Here’s the thing, I never said spending money was not good – I just can’t see the benefits of spending money on useless shit, overpaying for a cell phone bill or not bothering to optimize your gas, power or food consumption. After all your money is your time. What I can tell you is that the marginal utility of money is lost on things but not necessarily on experiences.

TLDR – Spend more on experiences and less on stuff. That’s it. The formula is easy. But lets be clear – I’m not advising you to spend all your money on experiences; you still have to save and invest. Just adjust the ratio.

Last weekend I took the niños out for their first Ski Experience in beautiful Kananaskis Country Alberta. My brother and his wife also joined us from Colorado. Even though I’m an experienced snowboarder, I decided to get the kids a 4-hour lesson pack. This would help guarantee that they listened had a good time.

After the lessons were completed, I took my oldest son on the “big” chair lift for the first time and he was stoked. As we hopped on the chairlift – two deer were quietly prancing across the run and back into the forest. The sun was shining bright hitting the fog of ice crystals making the sky sparkle like an 80’s disco ball, an eagle soared above and it was fucking magical and my Son thought so too. He was like “Dad! Is it always like this?” and I said, “Sometimes it’s even better.”

We completed the run and H nailed it – didn’t fall once. I then asked H how he was enjoying his first-day Skiing and he said to me “Dad! This is the second best day of my life ever!” I said “Really, your second best day. What was your best day then?” And he said, “Ummmm, Uhhh, camping and that time you let me watch YouTube all day.”

After Skiing we headed to the upper hot springs in Banff and this is where I invented the “Mountain Man *”. It was COLD – 40 cold but the hot springs were HOT +40 hot. So you know what we had to do. Get in the pool and enjoy! Get out of the pool and freeze! How long can you last? At least 60 seconds and you will be crowned the “Mountain Man *”.

The crazy thing about the marginal utility of experiences is that every time I got back in the pool after completing a Mountain Man *, it felt even better than the first time. Now that is positive utility.

The total cost of the Ski Trip was around $500 and it was worth every penny! It was an awesome day and my family thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Something that my boys will remember for their entire lives. Not just another toy that will be thrown into the corner and forgotten.

New experiences break us from the mundane, the same old, same old. They separate us from our routine, excite us and create lasting memories, which IMO is true happiness.

*Don’t do the “Mountain Man” for any reason – I’m just a guy who types shit on the internet. Performing the Mountain Man or any other contrast therapy may result in being really, really cold or other bad things. Consult with your physician prior to performing the “Mountain Man” or doing any contrast therapy.

** For more information about Cold and Contrast Therapy check click here.

11 thoughts on “The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things”
  1. I agree. It’s one thing to chase more things and then find out those things don’t make you happy. And then you go out and buy more things, hoping that it’s different this time. Great post keep em commin.

    1. Crazy to think about it that way but it is so true. Hedonic adaptation. WoW that 65″ TV is awesome. 2 Weeks later Meh. I should go out and buy the 85″. Keep it real. Thanks for the comment.

    1. I was debating whether or not to include that. This is a personal finance blog (if you can call it that – ha!) So here you go. A little higher than quoted in the article because of the park pass. Not really fair to include the entire price in one visit.

      $373.12 – Lift Tickets, rentals and Lessons.
      $56.14 – Gas
      $32.20 – Banff Hot Springs
      $18.00 – Snacks and Lunch (Packed)
      $136.40 – Annual Park Pass (This is to be amortized over many visits)

  2. I was in banff last summer. What a beautiful place. We also did the banff gondola and the cave and basin.

  3. Spend your time and money on those experiences. This hits home for sure. Kids are only young once, enjoy it while you can.

    1. You bet. Every moment I can. It’s hard sometimes but I make the conscious choice to put down what I think is important and go play some games with the boys. Thanks for the comment Kristine.

  4. Love your warning at the end. LOL. Everyone is a know it all on the internet. The Moneyrunner is becoming one of my fav blogs. Peace out.

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