After the first minor victory in snowboarding, I naively assumed that the rest of my experiences snowboarding would be easy.
I was wrong.
The reason I am writing about snowboarding is because it has been one of the most difficult and challenging things I have done with my life. I think 90% of that is because I started so late in life (after turning 30) when my body doesn’t bounce back quite as quickly as it used to. Growing up mountain biking, when I fell, I would laugh all the way down and all the way after falling. Also, falling in the snow (ice) on the East Coast vs. snow on the West Coast is also quite differently as well!!
Over the next few years, I would attempt snowboarding once per year. Then, in 2012, I met my now husband. As we first started dating, we knew pretty quickly that we were each other’s ONE. (Again, being older, I think you know these things a lot quicker). Through a particular conversation over a long dinner where I was going on and on about how I wanted to surf more, the beach was my favorite, sunshine dwells in my soul, winter makes me squirm, my humble partner-to-be revealed to me that he had been a ski instructor at Killington Resort in Vermont. A SKI INSTRUCTOR?!
I was doomed, and I knew it.
I commented casually to him, “Oh, well, if you love the snow that much, we might have a problem.” Ha. Ha.
Thus began the strap in and learn to ride (quickly) steps to being a snowboarder.
We started by ordering my gear (as I was a renter only prior). I still ride this board and LOVE my first, small, beginner set of equipment. Several friends and I did research on a great website and Chad helped me size myself up, and my snowboard, bindings and boots arrived in no time. They were gorgeous, and I was stoked.
Within the next year, we booked a trip for Spring Break to Vermont to revisit Chad’s base for skiing. We drove the nearly 16 hours up to the resort and Chad INSISTED that I take a lesson. Two lessons, in fact, out of the three days we were there. I was a bit annoyed, thinking that I had mastered snowboarding and how should he be the one to tell me what to do.
(He was a ski instructor, remember?)
Well, it was the best decision I ever made, to take lessons. Quickly on the very sunny, melting snow of March in Vermont, I learned that I had learned to snowboard all wrong. I was completely doing it like a frightened East Coaster. “Falling Leaf” was the term. So, all the bad habits I had taught myself, I now had to unlearn. While Chad was off doing double blacks with a Vermont buddy of his, I was slowly attempting to relearn how to snowboard. It was not easy. The edge of your board? Heel-side, toe-side? Connecting turns? Yeah, I was clueless. Luckily, my instructor, aptly named Forrest, was a hippy guy with a fun heart, and I progressed somewhat those two days. As the snow began to drip off the trees and grass started to appear on the runs at Killington, we decided to take a day off and hike beautiful Vermont.
On the final day in Vermont after leaving our perfect accommodations at the Ski Chalet, the snow was melting at such a fast pace that really when we scaled the lift to the top of the mountain we were doing a combination of surfing and wake boarding down. I went to the top, yes, and did a bit of real, true snowboarding down it! I was thrilled. THIS is snowboarding (even if we were in t-shirts and the guys skiing past were in shorts and NO shirts). I was getting it.
Very, very slowly.