Sometimes, ideally all the time, I come home after snowboarding and relax by writing it all down. I don’t really pay attention to which parts were boring and which parts were exciting; I just want to capture the minutiae that made the day the day that it was. For me, this is also a good way to figure out how to tell the story before I blab about it out loud to other people in a way that makes no sense.
You should know that this season is severely lacking snow, not as bad as California, but pretty bad. It’s mostly just myself my musing and I out there and whomever I’m carpooling and thus spending the day with. It’s a good way to meet awesome, like minded people. At the same time, the people who like the mountains are a diverse crowd.
If I leave feeling calm or excited though, it was a good day. And I’ve never regretted a day on the mountain!
Snowboarding has changed for me. On one hand, alpine slopes create a safe environment for creativity and exploration On the other, backcountry for a beginner means even more exploration, but putting down all your thoughts and civilized masks at the doorstep; it’s a lot more work and it’s only fun in hindsight. Slopes are safe. Backcountry thought is survival and relationships.
It made me think more deeply about what it is about snowboarding that interests me. Bobsleigh or skeleton. Those related sports I’d love to try with a professional driving. Then there are some things that I have no interest in trying. Skydiving. No thanks. I don’t like to free fall. I do like speed though. I love speed. This is why today’s supposedly gross thinly-frosted fresh groomers were amazing. I had heard the glories of ‘fresh pow’ for so long that I had forgotten all the other wonderful types of snow that make getting out early worth going for. I love these speed inducing but safe snow conditions, with a hair more bite than ice.
Looking at the trail maps now I notice that the area I thought I went out of bounds was a run, although it was out of bounds because it wasn’t officially opened. To my chagrin another black tree run was open today but I didn’t know due to my lack of experience with the mountain’s tree runs. But as I wrote midday, absolutely happy with the snow and view, it’s not the difficulty or number or speed of your runs that makes snowboarding good. It’s the feeling that first attracted you to snowboarding that makes a run good. Today with enough snow to ride some things on the side, and fresh from skiing (god, that’s awkward-your body keeps trying to face forward while falling on your snowboard), and jawdropping views (how often is it clear here? Never) I neither was amazing, horrible, or anything. I was just me, and I felt deep in me the childish joy that drew me to the activity in the first place, that was an essential part of me, and the uncomplicated joy of movement that has nothing to do with anybody seeing you (in fact, I didn’t really want anyone catching me in the silly act of enjoying a simple turn or ride up snow so much.) In a well connected world, it was a private moment of joy that I wanted to enjoy myself. In fact it made it better that my parents were extremely angry I had gone snowboarding. No one was going to ask me about it except people who really cared. Great.
I cannot stress how nice it was to ride privately, because for once I could ride not just to pay off my seasons’ pass, but to actually ride. No one was going to care how fast or slow I went, or how many runs I went on, or whether or not I hit any features; I could do whatever I want like I did last season. Luckily for me, I did go into the park for the first time by myself this season, something I took a long time to warm up against. I was in a lazy daze and going into the park seemed to be the antithesis of the joy I was currently experiencing. But although the feeling of rolling snow was great, the joy of flight called and I went in. Well, first I had 2 large cookies and a thing of latte. The anxiety was getting back to me and I needed to tamp it down, and somehow caffeine gave me the precision and lack of fear I had misplaced. Feeling more like myself, I finally got to feel the joy of running the full length of a ride-on box again. Nothing difficult, very simple really, but I had been missing the component of fearlessness (which is normal). It is quite difficult to describe how I realized I no longer had a natural state of comfort but somehow ingesting certain things would give me it back for a short while, but anyhow it worked and I went on the box 5X but never fully hit the shortest, lowest, flattest rail in existence of humanity. I need myself to do that, not just coffee. Oh how exhilarating it is to be going with almost no control of one’s speed down the mountain after having one’s senses sharpened back to normal! That was what drew me to snowboarding, speed nearing the loss of control, and ultimate control, if you want to do ride anything in the park.