So my ass is bruised, but it felt good…

…because I got to go snowboarding today. My neck is sore, my abs are sore, my palm has a deep ugly purple mark the size of a quarter, my head aches and my ass looks like it belongs to Grimace…or Barney. It’s been a good day.

I’ve been skiing almost 20 years, but only snowboarding for the last 3, and I still prefer skiing (a rarity, usually converts go board-only and forgo any further skiing). IMNSHO, I’m a good but not great skier, based on the fact that I eschew greens and blues for blacks, double blacks and back country (and glades) but I’m not fond of moguls.

Snowboarding though, well, that’s another story entirely. I can cut and carve, switch-stance and occasionally fakie, but I’ve never really tried jumping. That is, until today. I ride a Morrow Indy 158 with either Burton Work boots or Stumpys, depending upon the days activities (cruising or :smiley: :smiley: attempting a terrain park). Today was a terrain park day. It was also the first time I’ve ever boarded in the East.

Up until now, I’ve been fortunate to have been able to vacation out West, that is to say Salt Lake, Tahoe and Jackson Hole. Today I went to Paoli Peaks, Indiana. For anyone that has been skiing or boarding out West, then you know the joy that is powder skiing. If you’ve been out East, then for the most part, you know the aggravation that is granular, or man-made, snow. Sure, there are many good locations out East, but the sheer mass of snow just is not there, so snow-making equipment is prevalent and the quality suffers, but the trade-off is the avaiability of snow…any kind of snow.

Anyhow, the Eastern slopes suffer terribly from shaving and whatnot, leading to very hard surfaces and “sketching” of skis and boards. If your edges aren’t tip-top, you’re hosed. You see, powder gives you a much smoother ride and a much softer landing should you bail, hard pack or shave…not so much.

So, to the point: I went boarding for the first time in 10 months and for the first time ever, I attempted some big air. The thing about hitting jumps is that your speed is deceptive. You’ll come flying down the slope sure that when you launch, you’re going to hit the sky, but then you bleed off so much that sometimes, you reach the edge and find you’ve barely got enough juice left to crest the damn thing! Not all the time though, just sometimes. OTOH, sometimes you get so much speed you hit the jump and you are flying higher and farther than you ever thought you could. These are the moments of joy, exhilaration and, dare I say, fear, that bring you back again and again. Of course, we humans were not meant to fly, were not intended to soar above the Earth free of the clutches of gravity coasting through the air tethered to nothing but our own being and surely, I realized this in the most certain manner…I returned to Earth. Okay, I came crashing back to Earth. I cleared about 3 feet and a distance of perhaps 10 before the sharp reality that was my landing affected my posture. My board slid out from under me, I landed heavily backwards, my left buttock receiving the initial brunt of my collapse. My left hand shot out, compressing my wrist then giving way and slamming my forearm into the ice pack. Finally, I rolled and tumbled and the back of my head slammed into our terrestrial home. Snow, mist and dust blast into the air, a cloud of my own making. <stars and bright lights, wind knocked out> A moment or so to collect my thoughts, bemoan the back of my aching skull and I’m up, collecting my goggles and hat and I’m away, cruising down the hill. Minutes later, I’m lining up another run…

[sub]What? You were expecting a sordid tale of gay love?[/sub]

Well, I immediately thought it was a ski-related accident, not to worry. Now I’m jealous, though, 'cause I wanna go skiing! Waaahhhh!

I’m jealous, too. I haven’t been able to get on the slopes yet this winter. I might be able to sneak in some night skiing this week.

I haven’t tried Boarding, yet, though…

The thing about boarding that really draws people in is that you can be doing it fairly well fairly quickly. See, most novices can pick up boarding in a day, and be doing it fairly well by the second day.

Skiing takes a solid week or so to be at the same level. Maybe longer.

Don’t get me wrong, it takes a while to be really good at either, but your relative rate of advancement is much higher with boarding, which is why it is so damn popular with newbies.

It also explains why there are so many more accidents out there, as people with no real experience on the snow come out and think they know WTF they are doing and end up running into folks left and right. [sub]Like the kid that slammed into my buddy today and might have broken her neck, but probably not, but left in an ambulance nonetheless. My buddy is okay, though.[/sub]

I’m jealous because I wear size 16 shoes, and can’t find a pair of ski boots that fit me!! And I’m very reluctant to pay the cash to have a pair made for me until I can try skiing to see if I like it or not! (I did try skiing one day in PA, on a bunny-slope… crammed my 16 feet into a pair of 12 boots (MOST uncomfortable!), and had a blast for 5 or 6 hours, though most of it was on my ass trying to get back up. Due to lack of circulation, I got frostbite in 5 toes… the nails turned black, fell off, and the pain was exquisite! A few months later, when I could walk correctly again, I vowed never to do that agian until I found boots that fit!!).

So tell me, do you need special boots to snowboard?

Short answer: yes.
Long answer: no, but it’s better if you have them, by far.

I wear a size 13 shoe, but 14 snowboard boot (and Rollerblade, try finding those!) and when I go shopping, I suspect I have an approach similar to yours, that is, rather than walking into a store and asking if they have shoe X in size 13, I ask them what shoes they have in size 13 and procede from there. Fun, fun.

If you had a good time before, you should give it a try again. Here is me recommendation: buy a pair of boots (board or ski) that fit and rent the rest of the equipment. Snowboard boots can range from under a $100 to $400 or so, ski boots usually start closer to $200 and can easily cross the $600 mark for a great pair. Mine were $300 and fit like a glove, I’ve had them a couple of years and couldn’t be happier. It’s not always the money, but sometimes you’ve got to spend a little to get a little.

Something that is absolutely worth remembering here: last years stuff can usually be had at half the cost of this years, and with very few exceptions, it will be comparable equipment (ie: maybe a color change from year to year). What this means for you, though, is that you kinda’ need to count on a little luck, that is, that a store bought some 16’s for last season that never cleared the shelf and now they are willing to part with them for next to nothing just to clear the inventory.
Case in point: my Burton Work Boots, easily a coupla’ hundred dollar boots when new, cost me $47 last year. Sure, they are a good 3 years old, but new in box because no one ever baught them. They were marked half then half again and I think the guy threw in an additional discount at the register. Show around, check those “Giant extravaganza!” shows and for your benifit, take along a friend that knows something about the gear so you don’t get stuck with Keds when you wanted Nike.

I’m getting an hour-long massage in <checking clock> an hour and 15 minutes!


Can I just tell you guys, I feel like a million bucks right now.

Massage…worth every penny folks…every penny.

Hehehe…they do wonders, don’t they? Am glad you’re feeling better! :slight_smile:

Snowboarding and a 60 min. massage? I’m reaching unheard-of levels of jealousy here!

Glad you had such a good time! Even though I hate you now! :slight_smile:

Juniper how can you hate me after I drive five hours to spend an hour and a half at a dopefest with you!? :frowning:

Where’s the love.

[sub]Okay, sure I didn’t actually know you would be there, and yeah, I hadn’t really read anything by you before it, but still…[/sub]

I think I’m going to go boarding tomorrow after work.