As I settle back into the office after seeking the fresh deep powder turns of British Columbia for 4 days with my wife (and favorite ski partner), I get to reminisce about how absolutely lucky we were this year.
We had 4 days of incredible cold deep continuous powder. It just kept snowing, giving us face shot after face shot; fresh powder run after fresh powder run. I have never had 4 better days back to back in my 40(ish) years of skiing. I have had some very good days… but nothing compared to this. It was hip-to-waist deep the entire time (And, remember, I am 6’5”). It was absolutely awesome.
Meanwhile, back at the home mountain in Tahoe, there is very little snow and many of the lifts and runs are closed.
However, looking back… Last year was a bust in British Columbia over the same time-frame. There had been no fresh snow for 9 days prior to our tour. And it rained while we were there. The first day the CEO of the lodge was skiing with us to determine whether he was going to have to call the next couple tours off.
It was so bad, they actually groomed a high-mountain run for us because the non-groomed turns were so cut up and hard packed.
Meanwhile, last year at the home mountain in Tahoe, there was an incredible volume of snow, all the lifts and runs were open, and there were 3 deep powder days while we were in British Columbia suffering.
Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. That is the deal. Sometimes it snows everywhere, and sometimes it snows selectively. You never know in advance where or how much. Still, you diversify your ski locations year after year anticipating that most years will be OK, some years will be absolutely amazing and some will be just plain bad.
We do the same with investing. We diversify across geographies and sectors because the future of diverse markets is no more knowable than the future of snowfall. You never know where your returns will come from or how big the returns might be.
The big issue is what the mind does AFTER the fact. By diversifying your risk of never getting any snow, you introduce potential regret (what if I am HERE while all the snow is THERE). By diversifying your portfolio, you decrease your chance of big losses, but you increase the likelihood that you will regret not being more concentrated in the thing that does well.
When you regret you must remember that NO ONE knows in advance. You have a process because you know that if you stay consistently diversified, you will have a higher probability over time of experiencing great snow and improved long-term portfolio returns.