…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 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]