On Wednesday, Jan. 15, I learned to snowboard! Well…at least, my feet were attached to a snowboard. This snowboard.
As I prepared for this adventure, friends and family members kept telling me horror stories of things that had happened to them on snowboards. One friend ran into a tree and broke several ribs. Another told of people who land wrong and break their wrists. He suggested landing on my fists instead. I’m not particularly accident prone, but I felt pretty nervous. Nonetheless, six of us headed up to Brighton Ski Resort (coincidentally the same resort where I learned to ski when I was 12), and my roommate stayed with me the whole night to teach me.
On my first trip down the bunny hill (which took a ridiculously long hour, by the way), I discovered that I have no idea how to stand up on a snowboard. Once I was up, I could stay up on the snowboard for a decent amount of time, but I couldn’t figure out how to get up in the first place. So I invented my own way of standing up, which involved getting on my knees first and then pushing myself backward off the snow in front of me. It looks (and feels) very awkward, but hey – at least I got up. Unfortunately, this is what my knees looked like the next day because of it:
Sometimes I forgot the broken wrists caution and caught myself on my wrists instead of my fists when I fell. This was the result from that disastrous plan:
I wore a wrist brace to play my trombone at orchestra rehearsal the next night, but it healed pretty quickly after that.
After two trips down the bunny hill, I decided I was ready for a bigger lift, and my ever-patient roommate accompanied me.
When we got to the top of the Majestic lift, it was 7:50 p.m. The lifts would stop running at 9:00 p.m. and then they clear the mountain before closing the resort. We chose the easiest route down the mountain, but to my horror, I discovered that I had absolutely no control over which direction (left or right) I was snowboarding. With a small cliff on the right side, the run sloped to the right, so I would slowly snowboard toward the cliff, sit on my bum, and scoot to the left all the way across the path. Then I’d stand up and do it all over again. It took FOREVER. After we passed the cliff on the right, there was a closed run on the left, so the path sloped to the left, and I repeated my pattern going the opposite direction. My friend spent a good deal of time sitting on her bum in the snow, waiting for me to inch my way down the slope. I probably owe her for that one 🙂
We saw the lifts stop running at 9:00, and we were still halfway up the mountain. Two of our friends showed up, telling us that the ski patrol had ushered them along so that the resort could close. By then I was literally crying tears of frustration. I was cold and sore, and my snow pants kept snapping open, so all of my bottom layers were soaked through from sitting in the snow.
Moments later, two of the ski patrol guys found us and asked if I wanted a snowmobile to take me the rest of the way down. I hesitated, knowing I would eventually make it to the bottom on my own (though it would’ve taken another hour or so). But they pointed out that none of the employees can go home until we do…so I accepted the offer. It was about 9:45 p.m. by then. It had taken nearly two hours to get halfway down a green (easy) run.
That’s right, folks – the resort closed, we were still halfway up the mountain, and a snowmobile rescued me and took me the rest of the way down. Admittedly, not my finest hour.
Since riding a snowmobile is also on my bucket list, I sort of accidentally killed two birds with one stone. But I still want to go snowmobiling for real sometime 🙂
All in all, not my best bucket list item. But I won’t give up! I have the equipment, and I have seven ski resorts within an hour’s drive of my house, so I will try again before the season ends. But maybe I’ll stick to the bunny hill next time 🙂