My first snowboarding experience, where do I even start?
It was almost like a movie, the stuff that happened during my three-day trip was nothing short of a comedy, and a scary movie all rolled into one. When I excitedly told people I was going snowboarding for the first time I heard things like:
“I went once and almost died.”
“Your body is going to feel like it has been beaten with a bag of nickles.”
“Don’t do it.”
“My friend just posted a picture on a stretcher, but she said snowboarding was worth it.”
“Watch out for the lift, that was the hardest part.”
I heard all of what they were saying, but I didn’t believe that could happen to me. Shoot, I am athletic, have great balance and I am a fast learner!
When someone tells you about snowboarding, BELIEVE THEM! As soon as I strapped my big a$$ snowboarding boots onto that board, all of my balance, athleticism, and fast-learning went out the door. I felt like I had gone a full five rounds in an MMA fight and lost. Here is my snowboarding story and the things I learned, (or didn’t) along the way.
All odds were against us during this snowboarding trip. We drove three and a half hours up to Mt. Hood, Oregon. As we approached the GINORMOUS mountain, I had NO CLUE what it had in store. The first day of snowboarding my husband, two cousins and two friends got all geared up, had breakfast and were excited to hit the slopes! Four of us were signed up for lessons, so we got our rented boards and boots, and we walked outside into the unknown to meet our instructor. As we were walking out, several people stop us and say, “this is NOT a good day to learn how to snowboard.”
Lesson #1: When more than one person tells you it’s not a good day for snowboarding, BELIEVE THEM!
Little did we know, we were going to have our first lesson at the beginning of a real-life BLIZZARD. The wind was blowing SO HARD, and I could hardly stand up. Plus, I couldn’t figure out how to stand up on the snowboard at all. I thought the weather was reasonable and I was determined to learn. As it snowed, the wind blew and smacked me in the face like hail. Then, our 17-year-old instructor started the lesson.
Lesson #2: DO NOT LET A 17-YEAR-OLD BE YOUR INSTRUCTOR! She was so overwhelmed. Our group of six was the largest group she ever had. As we busted our butts over and over, she would say things like, “the weather is HORRIBLE! I cannot feel my face.” “When is it lunch time?” “I don’t usually teach adults, I teach kids.” and, “I think it’s time for a break.”
She taught us two techniques but didn’t show us one fundamental thing, which was the skill that I needed the most… how to BREAK.
She then sent us out to die on the “Bunny Hill.”
Lesson #3: Know your “Bunny Hill.” I quickly learned Mt. Hood has no Bunny Hill. They have a shorter hill with 90-degree angles but for sure no Bunny Hill. I pretty much rolled all the way down the hill, along with the rest of the group. The instructor then said, “Maybe this was a bad idea.” Umm, yeah teenager, ya think? After free-falling down the Bunny Hill, our lesson was over. At this point, my hands were numb, so we decided to take a break.
Lesson #4: Learn how to wear your gear, correctly, to stay dry. I did not have my gloves tucked into my jacket correctly, and every time I fell, the snow got into the gloves, therefore freezing my hands. You can NOT go for too long once your hands start burning.
After warming up, we decided to go back out and give it another try. The entire resort was CLOSED DOWN! The winds had picked up to 75 miles per hour, and it was no longer safe to be outside, (go figure). My first day out, I learned two basic moves in a real-life blizzard, almost lost my fingers and rolled down a hill. Perfect.
Lesson #5: Be prepared,vehicle-wise, for crazy weather conditions, we were not prepared. It took us 40 minutes to beat the ice off of our car, dig the tires out of the snow, add chains and then PUSH the car free.
Day two has got to be better! I’m going to go out there and KILL IT!
On day two, we decided to go straight for the big slope. I mean, I now knew two moves and had no idea how to break… I’ve got this! As soon as I stood up on the first hill, I didn’t stand back up until I reached the bottom. I smacked into the snow while going full speed over and over again. From there, the torture just continued. Thank GOD I went down the slope with my cousin-in-law, Erin, who is a damn-near professional snowboarder because I would have had to be searched and rescued without her.
Lesson #6: If you are a first-time snowboarder, it helps to go with someone who knows there stuff; Erin was so patient with me.
As I smacked my face, neck, back, arms, shoulders, and head, she told me I was doing great. I would have a breakthrough moment when I would be on my feet for a while and then, CRACK, down I went. Erin would show me little techniques, which in my head I mastered them, but the snowboard ultimately ran the show. I continued to tumble down hills, picking up so much speed, that the only way to stop was to go limp and let my body absorb the blow. But, I quickly jumped back up just to fall right back down a few seconds later.
Lesson #7: You must have a little athleticism to snowboard. Not for skill-purposes, but because you have to pick yourself up off the ground everytime you fall, and that ain’t easy. This, in itself, is enough to make you quit.
Lesson #8: Be prepared to do a TON of crawling, scooting and jumping. I crawled SO MUCH I thought I had returned to the toddler stage. When you are stuck facing up-hill and do not know how to keep your board moving, you have no choice but to drop down, crawl and look dumb as hell. When you are stuck on a flat run, you have to unstrap one boot and scoot your way in the snow or hop. Can you say holy calf and quad workout?!
After taking an hour to complete a lengthy and super intense trail, I MADE IT! I had moments where I questioned my sanity, I thought we were lost and would never be found, and I was so frustrated that I could scream. But, I never gave up! I got used to hitting the snow face-first, full-speed and doing a ninja spin in the air while falling, (I had mastered falling for sure)!
Lesson #9: Be prepared to do more swearing than 20,000 sailors on one boat. Every time I hit the ground, a four-letter-word came out of my mouth. I don’t know how, but it lessened the hit when I swore.
We decided to take a break, get warm and head back out toward the lift. Our teenaged instructor didn’t give too much insight about the lift. She could have warned us that the lift was more dangerous than the snowboarding.
Lesson #10: The lift may not take you out.
I was nervous to get on the lift. Now, the lift didn’t stop, so you only got one shot to get it right. I was paired up with Marcus, we had one foot out of our bindings and one strapped to the board. The lift came, Marcus got on and WHAM, the lift side swipes me and proceeds to drag me by my board as it starts to lift! I thought to myself, “this is it.” Marcus grabbed me by the back of my jacket and thank GOD the attendant stopped the lift, (I am cracking up now, but at the time, nothing was funny). Once we were secured, the 15-minute ride up was not my favorite. I don’t like heights, so I didn’t like the ride. Oh, and getting off the lift was just as dangerous as getting on. As soon as my board hit the ground, I fell and crawled away as fast as my little legs could go because, remember, lifts do not stop. HA!
During our break, I was AMPED to get back on the slopes. We had a snack, had a drink and rushed back out! I LOVE SNOWBOARDING!
Lesson #11: Take breaks! You need them whether you feel like it or not! Give your body a minute to recharge, rest, cool down, hydrate and fuel up! Trust me!
We decided to go on a shorter trail this time, an all downhill path. This was my downfall, the beginning of my snowboarding end. I took a beating going all downhill. I don’t think I let my body rest enough before I went back out because I was starting to feel the aches from the first trail. Every fall took a piece of my soul with it; at one point, I got the wind knocked out of me, caught some air, fell backward and did a backward-roll with the snowboard going over me, head-first, with legs in tow.
Lesson #12: You will find out how flexible, (or not) you are on your board. I was impressed with my gymnastic-like flexibility when I fell.
I continued to go down the hill, smack, crackle, and popping; I swear I heard bones break. Once I slid my way to the bottom, I made a fatal mistake… I let everyone talk me into going one more time.
Lesson #13: Know when to call it good, I missed that cue and paid for it.
As I crashed, over and over, I became EXHAUSTED and pretty much in tears. I could not give up because I wasn’t walking back up the hill; the only way off of the mountain was so ride it down. I would fall, get on all fours and just stare at the bottom of the trail. It was so close, yet so far away. I didn’t think I was going to make it without breaking something; all of my bones were hurting. At this point, every time I would hit the ground a deep, “UGH” would come out of my mouth like I was being punched in the gut. As my husband and my friends passed me up, they cheered me on. My last few moments down the hill went like this:
Stand up. SMACK.
I can’t do this anymore!
Stand up halfway. SMACK.
Roll, roll, SMACK.
“I’ll NEVER DO THIS AGAIN!”
Snap. Crackle. Pop. SMACK.
“WHY CAN’T I STOP FALLING?”
One hand down. SMACK.
I HATE SNOWBOARDING!
Once I reached the bottom of the hill, I was so pissed because my friends had been finished and were standing there waiting for me like I chose to die while going down the hill and chose to take forever. I was frustrated because I was so tired and I had never been more happy to see the lift that I previously fell off of and did my usual crawl away.
I was officially OVER snowboarding.
That night, the soreness set in immediately and the next day, when we drove three-and-a-half hours home, I could barely sit in my seat. Every time I turned my head, the muscles in my neck that I didn’t know existed were felt. My forearms ached, the tops of my feet hurt, my quads ached, back ached, even my knuckles ached. I can officially say I know which bone is connected to the next bone and their functions, all thanks to snowboarding. I limped my way around, every time I hit a body part just right, the pain would shoot up everywhere! Once I got home, I pretty much stayed in bed all day and moaned, groaned and watched tv. It has been two days since my trip, and although I am still sore, it is not too bad!
All in all, I would say I did pretty good! HAHA! I tried my hardest, I never gave up, and I had a blast! I am proud of myself because the more I reflect, the more I realize how incredibly hard snowboarding is. When I think about how I went down four trails during my first time out, with pretty much NO proper instruction (thanks, teenager), I’d say I am not too shabby.
Would I try snowboarding again? HELL YES!
I actually can’t wait to go back again, but I think my body needs a month or two to heal.
Lesson #14: Try snowboarding more than one time. I am not sure why I am saying this right now, but once I go again, I’ll let you know my reasoning. HA!
Bucket list item: COMPLETE!
Watch my snowboarding commentary, so you can laugh and cry with me!