Tales of snowboarding lessons and fun

Throughout my life, I’ve tried to learn or do at least one new thing a day. Sometimes those are little things, like a previously unknown factoid or knitting tip. Sometimes they’re relatively big, like figuring out an easier way to prepare a favorite dish or an entirely knew spinning method. On this last vacation, I learned something HUGE. I learned that I am not meant to be a snowboarder.

Arriving at the rental shop and getting fitted out went smoothly enough. They don’t push you from behind to determine your stance anymore, but my kids were happy to oblige. Apparently, I’m not goofy, I’m normal. *gasp.* Granted, the board was shorter than my beloved skis, but it was bulky, and (not gonna lie) a little intimidating.

The next morning on the slopes, our instructor soon located us and wasted no time showing us the basics. Granted, Darling Hubs has been boarding for years, so he didn’t really need lessons, but he kept us newbies company. I soon discovered that the speed at which the kids were picking up this new skill was inversely proportionate to my lack thereof. Try as I might, the knack remained elusive. Our instructor was very patient, but I felt like I was demanding far too much attention. Just walking around with this thing was awkward enough. If you’ve never done it, kick one foot out in front of you, heel down and toes pointed up. Now imagine that you have a 5 foot long, foot wide board strapped to that foot, and you have to pick up the whole board with that one foot to take a step forward with the other foot. Ugh. I like to think I’m in reasonable shape, but that part alone was wearing me out.

Getting on and off the lift is its own particular adventure, one exacerbated by my previous experiences with falling at inopportune moments. If you make it off without falling nose over teakettle, you have to strap your other foot into the board, then stand up. Um. No. By the end of the day, I did get somewhat used to finishing the binding as I was already moving downhill, but I can’t say I liked the feeling. For a beginner, stopping means falling, and vice versa. The difference between heel side and toe side seems so simple, until you try to switch from one to the other at speed. Until that day, I thought that my balance and intestinal fortitude were above average. By the end of the day, I had reconsidered that opinion.

Mind you, the kids took to it like ducks to water. I have the feeling it was because they’re skinnier, and at that age, falling doesn’t hurt. By the end of the first day, the only thing stopping me from unstrapping myself from that cursed board and walking to the bottom of the slope was that, to do that would have meant quitting. Giving up. Admitting defeat. I don’t do that. So I rode that darn thing down, and finished the last run with no extra falls. That day was chock full of learning, and I wasn’t too fond of most of it.

The next day was vastly different. I brought my beloved skis. Now, these are the skis I bought at a yard sale fifteen years ago, mostly because the price was right and the boots fit me. One kind soul at the lodge this time said “Hey cool, vintage skis! Keepin’ it old school!” Yeah. That’s me. Vintage me with my vintage skis, ha ha. Still, these skis didn’t let me down. Step down, click. Step down, click. Ready to rock and roll. And we did. Fresh powder the night before, gorgeous weather, and my metal edges doing some wicked shreds down the slope had me grinning like a maniac. Doc the Octopus Hat on my head probably lent quite a bit to the maniacal image. I was informed I was “legend.” Sweeeet.

We were all having enough fun that day, we decided to go up for one more day. Darling son took quite a spill right before lunch and decided to sit out the rest of the day. Hubs and Darling Daughter and I went back up. I pointed my skis downhill and FLEW. At the bottom, I waited for the others. And waited. And waited. Eventually Caitlin came down, and said “Dad fell.” Some good Samaritans helped him get down to us, and after a stint with ski patrol, we got him down the mountain with a broken collarbone. Apparently his usual dive roll had a hitch that time. He’s healing well, and in good spirits, but we’re all finding out how much we relied on him having two usable arms. Quite a bit of our normal routine has changed, and we all get to pitch in to pick up the work that needs to get done around here in spring.

In addition to learning that snowboarding is something that happens to other people, I’m learning how to be Hubby’s “other hand.” And I learned that I don’t always have to push the envelope . . .sometimes it’s ok to go back to the old familiar way and just have fun. I hope you’re all having fun of some sort too.

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