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I’m Also a Mediocre Snowboarder

By now you’re well aware of my mediocrity as a triathlete, but did you know that I also fancy myself a mediocre snowboarder? Well, I do. A few years ago Jason and his family took me up to Stevens so I could rent a snowboard and hurl myself down the mountain. When we got there, we saw that Stevens was jam-packed full of people so we ended up hanging out at a family friend’s cabin, sledding down hills and engaging in general tomfoolery. At one point Jason’s sister let me ride her snowboard down the hill. I strapped in, shoved off and rocketed down about 20 feet before catching the front edge of the board and catapulting myself face first into a mound of cold, white, unyielding snow. And wouldn’t you know it, my dumb ass thought, “I should do this more often.” A former coworker of mine gave me her several-years-old Burton snowboard that was too large and weighed about 50 lbs, and I boarded two or three times that season. That’s a picture of me trying to look impressive at Whistler. Don’t let the grin fool you: there was no new snow all week, and my noob self ended up plowing heelside down icy mountainsides and wondering why this gigantically heavy board wouldn’t obey my legs’ commands. I eventually got tired of riding on a “butt-ass ugly” board (as my friend Matt affectionately called it), so at the beginning of my second boarding season I headed over to Evo and bought myself a gorgeous new Burton Lux snowboard. I took my pretty new snowboard to Stevens that season, where I falling leafed down the mountain and killed my quads due to my inept skills. By now I had become skilled at posing for photos on the mountain decked in my gear and holding a board, but I was still pretty craptastic as far as actual boarding skills go. I couldn’t get the hang of going toeside, meaning I couldn’t link my turns when traversing down a mountain. Of course, snowboarding a whopping 2-3 times per season probably wasn’t helping me improve my skills that much. At that rate, I would become a proficient snowboarder just in time to receive the senior citizens lift ticket discount. So here we are at season 3, and this year I’m determined to graduate from being a mediocre snowboarder to a “meh” snowboarder. I’ve gone boarding four times thus far and aim to practice once a week (night boarding at the Summit is the most accessible, though I’ve also gone to Mt. Baker and have planned a trip to Stevens). I also shared a 2 hour lesson with Jason, where the instructor basically told Jason to stop leaning down towards the ground so much and me to stop sucking in general. My goal is to master (meaning “do adequately”) linked turns and to stop plowing down mountains and shredding up my poor board. Hopefully by the end of this season I’ll have made some progress. In the meantime, here are some things I’ve learned along the way: Helmets, albeit dorky looking, are your friend. I finally bought a helmet this season, and exactly one visit after purchasing it I fell hard and smacked the back of my head on the ground. My noggin’ rattled against the helmet, eliciting a noise from me that one of my friends described as “not unlike a baby condor,” but I was otherwise okay. Sixty bucks well spent, if you ask me. I’ll always be depressed by the little kids who whiz by me looking like champs on their boards. Oh well, at least I’m old enough...
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