Monday, December 20, 2010

A Story for the Yungins!

When I picture my future/imaginary family, the conversation goes like this:

Kid 1:  Mom, snowboarding is so hard.
Me:      You have to keep at it.  I didn't always know how to snowboard. I had to keep trying.
Kid 2:  REALLY! But you are so awesome at snowboarding.
Me:      Yes mommy is awesome at snowboarding but I was not always that way.  Let me tell you a story  
             of my first time at Seven Springs

Date:  December 18, 2010
Location:  Seven Springs Mountain Resort
Time:  4:00 pm - 10:00 pm

My officemate Henry informed me of a group ski trip to 7 Springs and of course I was more than ready to hit the slopes.  In my last post, I wrote about my trip last weekend to Hidden Valley and that I had learned a lot by taking a 90 min private course.  After last Sunday, I was pretty confident in my abilities to progress and that I had learned to leaf and stop both toe and heel side.  So you can imagine that I was pretty eager and probably a little too confident of my really good Hidden Valley experience.

My officemate Henry and I

Slight digression:  I decided to rent snowboarding equipment from the Peaks Ski and Snowboard Center since I am pretty determined to make this my "winter thing".  The shop is pretty nice and the prices pretty good.  They gave me new boots and new bindings since I was doing the seasonal rental and the board is used but in very good shape.  I ride a 141 and I ride "goofy" :-)

Back to the story....

I arrived at 7 Springs geared up - snowboard, boots, gloves, snowboard jacket and pants, helmet, and goggles.  I looked like I knew what I was doing.  I tried to hit the beginners area to practice a bit but it kinda sucked.  I think that Hidden Valley has a better practice/bunny area than 7 Springs.  Anywho, I quickly became uninterested in the practice area and decided it was time to progress to the real slopes.  At 7 Springs, there are 4 different levels of slopes - green (easier), blue (more difficult), black (most difficult), and then professional (self explanatory).  I was determined to conquer a green slope and little did I know "easier" ~= easy.

Even before I laid foot, or board, on the slopes there was the task of successfully getting on and off the ski lift.  Now this task should not be looked at as trivial.  First there is the problem with having a board stuck to one leg that will be hanging. Second, the lift does not stop moving so you must be rather quick with your boarding and unloading.  I haven't quite mastered the art of walking with the board let along doing it in a timely matter as to get on the lift.  Third, the darn thing is just out right scary.  Once you get onto the lift and start ascending the mountain, you realize just how flimsy the contraption is.  I mean really, I kinda freaked out and was talking to everyone around me to keep from focusing on the height.  Lastly, the probability of a beginner getting off the lift successfully (success defined as getting the board onto the snow and gliding down a safe distance away from the lift while maintaining one's balance and vertical posture) is pretty low.  Here are my lift scores from 1-10:

Attempt 1:                            Attempt 2:                   Attempt 3:                  
Loading     8                        Loading       9              Loading     9                
Staying Calm   5.5               Staying Calm    7        Staying Calm   8          
Dismount    5                       Dismount       6           Dismount     6              
Balance    2                          Balance         8            Balance 8                    

Attempt 4;
Loading    9
Staying Calm  7
Dismount   5
Balance    0

At my 1st attempt at dismounting the lift, I successfully got out of the lift, glided about 10 ft away from the lift area, and then fell and twisted my left knee. It's pretty difficult especially when there are others in the area and because you have a foot that is not connected to the board.  My knee still is actually sore from that.  After a little "sit down" time, I pick myself up and look ahead to the trail I am about to embark on.

I take the Lost Boy Trail to another lift that took me to another green trail.  In total that day I rode over 5 miles of trials.  It was the most frustrating thing sometimes though.  Unfortunately I had not retained much of recently learned techniques and to much avail could not successfully ride "toe side".  I pretty much resorted to riding the brakes for a lot of the trails when there were more down hill areas. The session we attended was a night ski session.  One would think that the trails would be well lit but that was not the case. In fact, there were times where I was the only person on the trail, with trees around and darkness.  Pretty creepy.  Attempt 4 of the lift was going to be my last time down the hill back to the lodge.  There was a toasty fireplace and water waiting for me.  I was exhausted so I didn't even try to balance on the unloading of the lift.  I kinda half-heartedly let the lift help me down the little slope to clear you from the area and then just let myself fall.  Hence the 0 score on balance.  I had about 5 really bad falls total:

1)  The chair lift fiasco I told before
2)  While trying to ride toe side I caught the REALLY caught the edge.  A couple seconds later I was on the ground on my right knee with my face inches from the snow.  That knee, the right one, is swollen. Agh :-(
3) 4) 5)  The worst thing about the snow at 7 Springs for beginners is that it's really packed, really slick, and really hurts.  Needless to say I fell right on my tail bone 3 times where each time I kinda just laid in the snow a couple seconds to let the throbbing pass.  For the next couple of days, sitting, standing, and a number of other things made me grab my butt in pain.  Not good when your in public but hey, what else could I do?

At the fireplace in pain after 5 hours of boarding
Honestly, if I were a normal person, I'd return the board today and give up on snowboarding.  But I'm crazy and I WILL CONQUER THE SLOPES!!!! It just might take a lot longer than I was hoping.  I know one thing is for sure.  Next time, I will have KNEE PADS and ELBOW PADS.  Also, I will take more lessons at Hidden Valley.  I like my body too much to keep banging it up.  I need to learn and I need to do it soon.

At the end of snowboarding, a defeated beginner sits at the fireplace trying to figure out how the hell she could suck so bad.  But this is the making of not only a snowboarder but an athlete.  Take the beatings and the frustration and one day it will be rewarded.

That is what I will tell my kids....

Officemate after skiing


  1. lol, i could fill your frustration while reading this. I loved the opening story and can't wait to see on at the xGames! ;)

    I'm not gonna tell you how many times I bit it when getting off the lift. That was always my hardest thing.

  2. I'm feeling the build up at the beginning, you totally set the tone. Loved the part about how you allowed yourself to fall, I could almost feel your pain! And man, I almost feel sorry for you looking at pic of you by the fireplace. I look forward to the next one.......AND LESS FALLS!

  3. You're courageous. My crew in Boise has been trying to get me into outdoor sports but I've declined and think that I will continue to!