I am a long-time skier. I used to race as a child, and have been strapping the planks on for more than two-thirds of my life. I remember a time before snowboards, and I’ve seen the evolution of the sport from an oddity to a common sight on the slopes. And I’ve always been curious about it.
Every year my father goes skiing in Utah with a bunch of men who are mostly younger than him. Because he’s a bit more competitive than he’ll ever admit, and because they’re all able to ski huge mountains regularly while we’re stuck on Southern Ontario hills, we almost annually go on a ski trip to the west coast to get him “trained up.” When I’m on the slopes, I’m skiing to help him prepare. This year it worked out that I couldn’t go, so he went out west for a week to ski with a cousin who lives very close to Mt. Washington on Vancouver Island.
And so the opportunity to try snowboarding finally presented itself.
Yesterday I rented a board and gave it a try. My first thought was “this is a hell of a lot harder than it looks.” My second thought (very quickly after the first) was “the snow is a hell of a lot harder than it looks” And both were true. I had been warned that most people spend the balance of their first day not on their snowboard, but in fact on their ass, and this proved to be the case.
It was recommended to me that I try to board the same way I used to skateboard, with my right foot forward, but this proved to be uncomfortable, so I had the rental tech switch the board so I led with my left foot. Goofy, I am told. It worked out much better for me.
I fell. A lot. On my ass. On my side. On my face. On my knees when my toe edge caught. That’s a long way down, let me tell you. And that one actually hurt.
But the strangest incident of all wasn’t a result of my inexperience.
I had fallen when I had dug an edge in, just as I had about a dozen times before. I put my arms out as I fell, and the second my hands hit the snow, another boarder – far more advanced and looking precisely like he knew what he was doing out there – ran over my left wrist. This hurt like hell, as you can imagine, and today it’s the primary source of pain in my body.
By the end of the day I had completed two “clean” runs without falling. I was and still am VERY proud of myself. Today I’m a bit tender and stiff, and my wrist hurts a little, but I feel great!
I can’t wait to get out and fall down all over again!