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 to see R-rated movies. Take that, wunderkinds!
  • There are countless ways to fall when getting off the ski lift. I have mastered all of them, and I keep inventing new ones. Last weekend I created the “fall forward and get your head stuck in the snow, ostrich-style” method. It’s not pretty and involves a lot of “ass in the air, wiggling frantically.”
  • No matter how bundled up you are, you’ll be surprised at how cold your ass is when you strip down to take a shower. Seriously, it gets me every time.
  • Speaking of ass, it is possible to get the wind knocked out of you by falling hard on one buttcheek. For the record, it was left buttcheek, and I laid there for a couple of minutes wondering how I was able to knock the air up out of my body via my arse. Maybe the Discovery Channel can do an episode on that sometime soon.
  • Everyone has their own advice on how to snowboard. I’ve heard it all: “Pretend you’re holding a box,” “Swing your back leg around,” “Tilt your knees but not your hips,” “Rock your heels up,” and, my favorite, “Do what I’m doing…only the exact opposite” (thanks Jason, you goofy riding bastard).
  • A trip to the mountain can be delightful or enraging, depending on the snow conditions. Fresh snow = “I’m having the BEST time! Fall, fall, fall, it’s so soft that I could just fall all day long!” No new snow/ice = “This is bullshit. My board’s torn up, my body’s bruised, and if I fall again I know it’s going to hurt so bad…OWWWW! Argh! I hate this sport!”

I’m looking forward to adding to my list of snowboarding knowledge by the end of this season. Even if I don’t master linked turns (which I damn well better), at least I can count on a frigid ass, some new bruises and some dents in my helmet.

4 Responses to “ “I’m Also a Mediocre Snowboarder”

  1. Dave Dugdale says:

    That is so true, when it is deep powder I feel like I can do no wrong on my board.

  2. Danielle Arango says:

    I must say, as witness to your first glorious snowboard event you most definitely did not make it 20 feet before your awesome faceplant, I give you ten tops.

    Secondly, I got all excited when I scanned down and saw the Whistler photo seeing as I went with you guys on that trip. Thanks for choosing to post the group photo with everyone but me in it…

  3. Rebecca says:

    Hey, you were the one taking the photo so technically you’re there…in spirit, anyway.

    And yeah, it was probably closer to 10. You’d know best since you’re the only one who actually saw the fall (everyone else just heard it…”Hunghhhhhhhhhh!!”).

  4. Danielle Arango says:

    Yeah, despite the fact that you only travelled around 10 feet it was pretty amazing that you were able to generate enough momentum and torque to expel all the air from yourself upon impact. I’m still a little ashamed that I was unable to quell my laughter before asking whether or not you were okay.

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