i have survived my first snowboarding experience!
yesterday i hit the slopes at Stowe, Vermont, with my compatriots in riding Cho, Bobby, P-Natty and 'Lil Kim...and it was *FUN!* we left at 6am and i was strapped to the board by 10.
Issue #1: i have never ridden a ski lift
this fact made me nearly hysterical from the get-go. after a brief lesson on how to just simply drag the board behind me with one foot clipped in, i was informed that to continue my learning i would have to take the lift up the mountain. at this point the kiddie learning area was looking pretty sweet, but apparently my teachers had higher expectations. the entire 10 minute ride consisted of Cho reassuring me that the worst thing possible would be falling off at the unloading area. even this was ok, so long as i managed to drag myself to the side so that the people behind us didn't ski over me. i saw the top. i almost cried. i slid off...and promptly fell. thankfully, Bobby pulled me out of the way, and i was -really- reading to start learning!
Issue #2: i confuse the terms "forward" and "backward"
the good thing about having both of your feet strapped to one large tongue depresser is that when you fall, it's much less messy than skis&poles. the bad thing is that you have to know about "the edge." not merely an emotional measuring point, this term refers to how you balance and steer. Bobby kept telling me to lean forward. he actually meant sideways, but was refering to the board's forward, not mine. duh. i leaned to the right. i fell. i leaned back, i fell. i leaned to the left, i fell. any way that i leaned, i fell. after about 30 minutes, i got the hang of it and managed to move 10 full feet.
Issue #3: extreme sports cannot conceal my obsessive personality
ok, so i'm a bit persnickety. every time that i fell, i had to take off my gloves, pull down my hat, adjust my googles (note: i hate wearing goggles), and fish a tissue out to blow my nose. my teachers were getting annoyed i suspect. afterwards, everyone admitted that my little OCD routine was quite funny. oh, ha ha.
note to self: Cho is a veeeery patient teacher, thank god.
Issue #4: i slide into the trees
finally arriving at the bottom, i face another obstacle: the flat area that leads back to the lift. skiers really have the advantage here because they can push themselves with their poles. i try hopping toward the others, waiting near the lift. no dice. finally i decide to sit down at the edge, unclip, and use the "dragging" move that i learned earlier. however, i don't realize that the edge is slightly sloped, leading to a steeper slope, which leads into the woods. i start sliding down into the woods. AHHH! luckily (ha!) a tree stops me. i wait patiently, stuck with the board vertically wedged in a fork of the tree, until Bobby comes to pull me out.
note to self: Bobby is a human forklift.
Issue #5: i am a speed demon
some teachers will say that if you aren't sore at the end of the first day, it means that you weren't pushing yourself hard enough (thus not falling much.) this was not my problem. my hurdle was controlling the speed once i started plowing down the slope. what can i say? i just got addicted to aiming the board straight down the hill and going as fast as possible. it's the most bad-assed i've felt in years. but i didn't have a plan for slowing down or stopping. i got the hang of it eventually, but not until after a particularly harsh "face plant", during which i actually flew forward with such force that i was airborne. hee hee
all in all, the day was a success. i got the hang of it, and was even going down intermediate trails and making graceful serpentine turns by the end of the day. i also had a horrible migraine from smashing my head against the ground so many times and i felt fairly nauseous...but that's nothing that a nice apres ski beer and some mexican food couldn't fix. today, i my knees are bruised almost black, but so is my ass, so at least i'm coordinated!