The maiming will continue til morale improves
I had a lesson with Wayne, The Teacher of Turns (tm), scheduled for today. When I got to the mountain the winds were intense. All the lifts in the mid and upper mountain were closed except for the Gondola, Apres Vous and the green lifts. I figured I was in for a lesson anyway since their policy of changes, cancellations, etc is pretty strict. So I met up with Wayne and I had already told him where I wanted to go on the mountain. (all of it was closed and the 50mph winds seemed endless). Anyway he had already talked to his supervisor and got them to let me reschedule! I as thrilled. So I went up the Gondola by myself, did a few turns and called it a day. I figured it would be better not to thrash myself when I had a lesson scheduled the next day.
Today was the most amazing blue bird day! It was sunny and fairly warm. The snow was nice. The parking lot was insanely packed. It's a great day to have a lesson because the "staff" line gets you cuts.
Wayne (just to refresh everyone's memory) was the one who taught me to turn last year when I thought I would never learn. So the last time he saw me board I was just in my turning infancy. I think when I told him I wanted to do all this mid-mountain runs he wasn't sure I could so he made me go up the kiddie lift one time before we could go up the Gondola.
Needless to say I have progressed a lot since last year :-) We went up the Gondola and did turns all the way down Amphitheater. He gave me a ton of tips and when I'd crash we would talk about why I crashed. We went up Thunder and he helped me not crash getting off. I rode the chair all the way to the left and that totally helped.
Wayne continually said, "Follow me". With a deep breath and a huge gulp I would follow him. Sometimes I really didn't want to follow him down the steep stuff turning and turning and turning. I finally learned how to effectively control my speed when I am on my toe edge. Nice.
Later we turned and turned down this super steep run I had never been down before. I had a pretty spectacular (and not painful) crash but all in all it went super well. Before I knew it I was at the base of Sublette. That's a lift I have never even seen before except in the summer when I go hiking. We rode Sublette and I got to call Jeff from the bottom of East Ridge lift. I asked him where he was. He said he was at the bottom of his lift. I said, "Look outside" and waved at him. It was a riot. Neither of us ever expected that I'd just show up at the bottom of the last lift to the top. I decided not to go up East Ridge though because I had so many breakthroughs that I didn't want to over do it. By the end of the season though.. it's mine! I want to go down Rendezvous Bowl before the end of the season. I can totally do it now I think :-)
You all do realize that my goal was to be able to board off of the new tram when we have it. (in December of 2008 if it's built on the current schedule) The day I ride the East Ridge lift and come down Rendezvous Bowl (this season) will mean that I can board off the new tram! Only a couple years too soon! Plenty of time to get even better!
As you can see I am highly enthused. I dreamed about turning last night..
I hope your weekend is fabulous!
A day without concrete
Well we hit the slopes yesterday.. We heard a rumor of 6" of new snow.. The way the winter has gone that's a miracle. We arrived at the Gondola to hear one of the lift operators saying that the weather report lied. (turns out in a good way ).
Amphitheater Bowl was a wonderland for me. I am not used to turning in snow that deep so it was a little iffy at first. Falling was wonderful though (mostly) because of the poof. Of course there's always that one crash that takes a while to recover. All in all I did a lot of runs, a lot of turns and only did one face plant. Of course there was that one slide on my belly that crammed snow all the way up my jacket. Luckily it was pretty warm outside. It was quite refreshing and once I wiped my goggles off I could see again.
I met three Australian guys on the Thunder lift who wanted to know where they could buy an iPod in Jackson. I just laughed. They asked me if locals bought stuff like that and I told them yes but we have given up and just order them online. They seemed convinced that they could buy an iPod at K-mart. So then they asked where K-mart was. I started to tell them and they said, "oh is K-mart in the K-mart Plaza?" Really you can't make this stuff up. They said, "Oh we saw K-mart Plaza.. we just didn't think K-mart was there". All directions I gave them had to triangulate at Wendy's.. Apparently that's where they eat every meal.
Today I am so sore I could barely get out of bed. I am constantly amazed at how tumbling at high speed can make me sore. I never would have thought that.
Oh and getting off the lift. It still mystifies me. Sometimes.. perfect. I get off, I stop, I don't fall. Then other times I end up perpendicular to the fall line, catch my toe edge and am swatted down in a major face plant. Sometimes I think I am stopping okay and then I fall on my butt. I got tips from a snowboard instructor. I thought I did what he said.. sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I have no idea if I was doing it or not apparently.
Then there was this one lift experience. I was riding up with Eddie the ski instructor. His students and other instructors were on other chairs and lucky me I got Eddie. He seemed okay enough. Then he decided to tell me all about his friend in LA's divorce. Like I give a shit. Then when we got off Casper (A lift I seem to consistently be able to get off without pummeling myself) I went straight and he turned right in front of me. I was barely off the lift when my board hit his skis and sent me flying. I of course landed on my recently crushed left butt cheek. I didn't even have time to take him out. Damn. He seemed shocked like everyone in the whole world must want to turn right off of Casper. Fun.
Well that's all the news from the slopes I guess. It was nice to have some powdery softness. I hear it's like that a lot around here. I wouldn't know. Last winter I wasn't good enough to board those runs and this winter we haven't had much snow.
Tomorrow is another day. I will do some turns and try not to bruise myself from head to toe.
And I thought snowboarding was hard! Yikes!
I have been meaning to write. I have been snowboarding some this winter. I still remember how to turn and I have had some brilliant and not so brilliant days. I have ridden the Gondola and taken a double blue run down to my favorite intermediate runs.
Today I took skate ski class. It started out okay.. I knew one of the instructors and all was well til I put on the skis. That's when it all went to crap. I had to "double pole" my way down the field. I wasn't doing it right and so I could barely move forward. My tricepts hurt so bad from my snowboarding crashes earlier in the week. Everyone was at the end waiting and waiting for me. Then back we went.. and they again waited for me. Repeat over and over and over.
Next Sami had us trying to skate. As with my snowboarding, I had absolutely no clue. I was in a tie for the most pathetic.
Okay so this class was all women and the instructors were women. That was super cool. The thing I hate the most are women who say they have "never done this before ever" and then the first run they are skating their way down the field. I am sorry but this one woman had clearly done it before. There was NO way that she could have been as good as she was without having done it before. What a phony. It's the say-I-haven't-done-it-before-so-I-can-look-better-than-the-pathetic-grrls scheme. They should kick those women out of class in the first 10 minutes.
So back and forth I went. Pretty soon all the say-I-haven't-done-it-before-so-I-can-look-better-than-the-pathetic-grrls girls, and the experienced grrls were gone. They were off to do things like climb hills and get video taped. I refused to be video taped. I don't need to see my serious lack of form, coordination, etc. I just went back and forth. With a women yelling commands at me that I couldn't really hear over the crunching of the snow and the sound I make when I fall over. She had me pushing her down the field using my inner edges. That was pretty easy because I could use her to hold me up. I did hear an occasional bark
"Pole, right, left"
Well as with my first snowboarding lesson, I rented my skis for two days so tomorrow I'll go out and practice. I have them til tomorrow at 6pm so I might as well see if I can somehow pole, crunch, and skate my way into some coordinated person. Maybe some day.
Thanks to snowboarding, I''m on an all-painkiller diet
This was in the newspaper yesterday and I just had to send it...
Thanks to snowboarding, I'm on an all-painkiller diet .. by Dave Barry
When you're 47 years old, you sometimes hear a small voice inside you that says: "Just because you've reached middle age, that doesn't mean you shouldn't take on new challenges and seek new adventures. You get only one ride on this crazy carousel we call life, and by golly you should make the most of it!"
This is the voice of satan.
I know this because recently, on a mountain in Idaho, I listened to this voice, and as a result my body feels as though it has been used as a trampoline by the Budweiser Clydesdales. I am currenty on an all-painkiller diet. "I'll have a black coffee and 250 Advil tablets" is a typical breakfast order for me these days.
This is because I went snowboarding.
For those of you who, for whatever reason, such as a will to live, do not participate in downhill winter sports, I should explain that snowboarding is an activity that is very popular with people who do not feel that regular skiing is lethal enough. These are, of course, young people, fearless people, people with 100 percent synthetic bodies who can hurtle down a mountainside at 50 mph and knock down mature trees with their faces and then sprint to their feet and go, "Cool."
People like my son. He wanted to try snowboarding, and I thought it would be good to learn with him, because we can no longer ski together. We have a fundamental difference in technique: He skis via the Downhill Method, in which you ski down the hill; whereas I ski via the Breath-Catching Method, in which you stand sideways on the hill, looking as athletic as possible without actually moving muscles (this could cause you to start sliding down the hill). If anybody asks if you're OK, you say, "I'm just catching my breath!" in a tone of voice that suggests that at any moment you're going to swoop rapidly down the slope; whereas in fact you're planning to stay right where you are, rigid as a statue, until the spring thaw.
At night, when the Downhillers have all gone home, we Breath-Catchers will still be up there, clinging to the mountainside, chewing on our parkas for sustenance.
So I thought I'd take a stab at snowboarding, which is quite different from skiing. In skiing, you wear a total of two skis, or approximately one per foot, so you can sort of maintian your balance by moving your feet, plus you have poles that you can stab people with if they make fun of you at close range. Whereas with snowboarding, all you get is one board, which is shaped like a giant tongue depressor and manufactured by the Institite of Extremely Slipery Things. Both of your feet are strapped firmly to this board, so that if you start to fall, you can't stick a foot out or catch yourself. You crash to the ground like a tree and lie there while skiers swoop past and deliberately spray snow on you.
Skiers hate snowboarders. It's a generational thing. Skiers are (and here I am generalizing) middle aged Republicans wearing designer space suits; snowboarders are defiant young rebels wearing deliberately drab clothing that is baggy enough to cover the snowboarder plus a major appliance. Skiers like to glide down the slopes in a series of graceful arcs; snowboarders like to attack the mountain, slashing, spinning, and tumbling, going backward, blasting through snowdrifts, leaping off cliffs, getting their noses pierced in midair, etc. Skiers view snowboarders as a menace; snowboarders view skiers as Elmer Fudd.
I took my snowboarding lesson in a small group led by a friend of mine named Brad Pearson, who also once talked me into jumping from a tall tree while attached only to a thin rope. Brad took us up on a slope that offered idea snow conditions for the novice who's going to fall a lot: approximagely seven flakes of powder on top of an 18-foot-thick base of reinforced concrete. You could not dent this snow with a jackhappmer. (I later learned, however, that you COULD dent it with the back of your head.)
We learned snowboarding via the two-step method:
STEP ONE: Watching Brad do something.
STEP TWO: Trying to do it ourselves.
I was pretty good with Step One. The problem with Step Two was that you had to stand up on your snowboard, which turns out to be a violation of at least five important laws of physics. I'd struggle to my feeet, and I'd be wavering there and then the Physics Police would drop a huge chunk of gravity on me, and WHAM, my body would hit the concrete snow, sometimes bouncing as much as a foot.
"Keep your knees bent!" Brad would hell, helpfully. Have you noticed that whatever sport you're trying to learn, some earnest person is always telling you to keep your knees bend? As if THAT would solve anything. I wanted to shout back, "FORGET MY KNEES! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THESE GRAVITY CHUNKS!"
Needless to say, my son had no trouble at all. None. In minutes, he was cruising happily down the mountain; you could actually see his clothing getting baggier. I, on the other hand, spent most of my time lying on my back, groaning, while space-suited Republicans swooped past and sprayed snow on me. If I hadn't gotten out of there, they'd have completely covered me; I now realize that the small hills you see on slopes are formed around the bodies of 47-year-olds who tried to learn to snowboard.
So I think, when my body heals, I'll go back to skiing. Maybe sometime you'll see me on the slopes, catching my breath. Please throw me some food.
Wait.. did she catch air?
I went out boarding today with my grrlfriend Shawn and her family. Her boys are both fabulous snowboarders and it was fun to exchange tips. We went up to Casper (the three-lift journey) to avoid groomed frozen slopes below. I am still baffled with how to get from Sweetwater lift to Casper lift without hitting the stupid rope fence. I saw some other boarders just walk past it. I think that's my new course of action. There's something about the slope and where they placed the stupid temporary fence thing that is a snowboarder's nightmare. Today a nice boarder guy gave me a push and sent me flying past my impending doom.
Casper wasn't as soft and fluffy as it was a few days ago but it was fun. I amazed myself and how I could turn and not crash. We did a ton of laps on Casper and did one of the steeper runs (skier's left) and that was really fun. Then I got tired and started floundering so we took the big traverse across to Teewinot Gully.
For those of you who don't know traverses are a nightmare for snowboarders. Skiers can get going again when they stop or when the traverse (aka road) goes up a little bit. So they like to stop just at the top and block the way so all the snowboarders get hosed. It's just lovely. So you either have to take your foot out or hop up the little incline. Anyway I managed to make the whole traverse including a part that I always have to scootch up. I was psyched. I cheered outloud for myself and I think I scared a skier who was trying to block my way. Teewinot Gully was way easier than last time I did it and I managed to get down it with only minor incident.
On the lower part of Teewinot I actually caught air by accident and was immediately flattened. Shawn cheered cuz I got air. Her boys gave me tips on how to do a "grab" next time I caught air. They figured that if I was going to catch air I might as well make it look intentional.
Hope your Sunday was fabulous!
From Splat to Shred
Well.. it am amazed how a day on the slopes can start out so sucky and end up so great. I guess sticking it out pays off! So what happened you ask?
I got up fairly early and headed for the slopes. The mashed potato snow was rock hard but I decided to try one green run before doing the three lift journey to something higher. Well that was a mistake for sure. It was crusty and it had been windy (very windy) yesterday so there were little branches everywhere. Hitting one of those twigs sent me flying and I landed flat on my front. My knees hurt even with knee pads. OUCH big time. I made it down to the lift and gathered myself up.
Desperate to leave the concrete, I headed up on the kiddie lift and boarded over to this new lift called Sweetwater. No one warned me about that lift.. it doesn't slow at all when you're trying to get off, but unlike the kiddie lift there is actually room to get my board under me so I managed to ride off of it without a splat. I traversed over to Casper lift with much incident. I got cut off and managed to fall and sprain my thumb. Ouch. Anyway determined I got on Casper. Getting off Casper was again one of those high speed lifts that doesn't slow down but I got off of it. I have learned that if I apologize in advance to my liftmates for taking them out, it helps me not take them out. They laugh and stay out of my way.
I went down the recommended run, Easy Does It. OMG what fun! The top part of the run is this neat bowl that is all powdery and fun. I turned and turned. Then it gets steep so I survived back down to the lift. I did this a few times and then decided to try the dreaded venture back down. Sundance gully wasn't as bad as advertised and I made it back to the slush at the bottom. Pleased with myself I sat for a few minutes.
Then I decided to embrace the slush and do some more laps on Teewinot. I focused on my quick turns, edge transitions, etc. Before I knew it, I was doing laps of fast turns over and over again without falling. I was turning at the bottom and riding almost back to the lift before stopping. I was SHREDDING! Amazing! Over and over and over. Sure it wasn't very steep, but I was getting speed and turning.
I seriously had the best time. I was out for almost the whole day!
I am sitting now enjoying my Apres Ski Beer! Holy Geez! that tastes good!
Just like boarding in mashed potatoes
I braved the hill again today. It was a balmy 40 or so degrees out. I had a really good time. I did a couple of runs down in the flatlands. It was like boarding in thick mashed potatoes. Very slow and sticky. The potatoes would suddenly catch my board and send me off in a direction that wasn't anticipated.
I figured if it was slow I should go up higher. So I went up Apres Vous... and followed Scott's "AV Survival Guide". I did more turns up there than I did last time I went blue. It was pretty terrifying at times to try to turn, but when I got to this Teewinot Gully I could turn pretty well. The mashed potatoes up high were in chunks. I hit this wake of chunks and I think for a brief moment before I crashed, I even caught some air! Next time I'll try for the "grab".
There's this road/traverse that I had to do to get to the gully and well... it's hard to get up enough speed to make it across. The mtn is full of endless challenges.
I boarded down with a kid who was learning. It was fun.. we were both amazed that the mere presence of the other didn't cause a crash. The run was very wide and we were on our own sides. We were both pleased.. Down near the bottom it was SO slow that all I could do was aim my board straight downhill and wait. More snow is on the way! We're all happy about that.
All in all a lot of fun. Some good spats, but no wardrobe malfunctions. I am going to try Casper Bowl on Wednesday. It takes 3 lifts to get up there. All those opportunities to go splat :-)
Ups and Splats
Last Wednesday I took a lesson with a local snowboard geek. Actually turns out he's snowboard instructor to the stars. He was sporting around the hill with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her kids all weekend and then I got him for a morning of turning.
Well my lesson was magic. I learned a bunch of cool stuff about how to move my feet to help me turn. It was the closest I have come to "shredding" ever in my life. I went on a few runs after my lesson and I could still shred. It was neat.
Yesterday, however, was another story. I gleefully went to pick up my snowboard from Meg (Meg of Jackson Hole fame, who broke her pelvis early this year doing a "hip check" to slow herself down. She checked a rock and broke her pelvis). Meg works at Pepi Steigler's shop (his daughter is in the olympics, her name is Resi) While shlepping my board with its new was job over to the lift I realized...it got warm.. way warm.. I was over dressed. I did two laps on the green slopes to get warmed up and I was SO overheated. So I went to strip off my extra layers. Then there was a wardrobe malfunction and I couldn't get my right boot back on. I still have no clue what the deal was. I spent forever in the bathroom trying to get my boot on. I can only imagine what the women in the other stalls thought I was doing in mine. Oh well.
I did two more runs... turn.. splat.. turn.. turn... splat. The snow was sticky and as the run got flatter, I splatted more .. I decided to get outta there before I really hurt myself.
I packed it in and went home. As I walked to my car I wondered... did they put wax for cold snow on my board instead of the slush stuff I was in, or am I just destined to splat over and over again?
My right shoulder is very sore. I am not sure how it happened but there was this one particular splat that had a multiple tumble to it. Without the instant replay I will never know.
I'll be out on the slopes again either tomorrow (if I have the nerve) or Monday.
Crash Dummy (tm) signing off...
Turns Turns Turns
Today we went out again! I just did the green runs over and over but I am turning now with greater speed and confidence. There was a couple of inches of new powder last night and it was above 0 outside so it was just a great day to be boarding.
I was describing my spectacular crash of the day to Merike and an innocent bystander and he said that any crash that was termed "spectacular" was good. That made me happy. I have found that when I try to turn quicker and with more speed my crashes become more spectacular. It's my new focus :-)
I have attached a couple of pictures..
Your Crash Dummy Went BLUE!!!!
This update is a little premature because the photos have not been downloaded yet. I feel that I should send it anyway and the photos will be coming tomorrow.
Merike is here to hit the slopes and so that's what we did yesterday.. We did a couple of runs down the green slopes where I managed to turn most of the time. It was FREEZING out. It took til almost noon before it was above 0 outside. BRRRRRR
Anyway Merike skied ahead and got shots of me looking like a snowboarder and not a crash dummy. I managed to get off the lift every time without falling. It was amazing.
Then I decided it was time to go up AV (Apres Vous) the recommended blue runs. So we went up the Teewinot lift and then had to board/ski over to the AV lift. I didn't plan my journey well enough so I had to take my foot out to get myself over there. It's kinda flat which is death on a snowboard. Anyway there was NO line at all and we were on the lift before I could realize how stupid that move was.
The AV lift is just like the Teewinot one in construction but it has different scenery. We watched a guy totally fly out of control down the slope on his butt. His snowboard apparently let him down. We rode over the terrain park, aka the Vegetable Garden and got to see the half pipe. Marc insists that's my next avenue during the next winter olympics. I am steering more toward snowboard cross. It seems more like the event for me.
At the top I sat and put my foot in the bindings. Another snowboarder took our picture. I asked him for advice. He said, "Stick to one.. toes or heels". And heels it was. I turrned once at the top but then it was just way too steep for me. I went down on my heel edge mostly in control til we hit Hanna. Hanna was a poor choice. It was icy and nearly vertical I lost my edge and was careening down on my butt. I thought about it and then stuck my heel edge into the ice and managed to stop. Before I knew it it wasn't steep anymore and we were on the AV lift again. Eeek. After two runs on AV and the rest of the way down the hill I was pooped and it was time to go home.
Today is a new day and I have a lot of advil. We're going out again in a few.
So far in Crash Dummy Land (TM) all is well. Yes I am sore. Yes pretty much all over.
OMG crash dummies love knee pads!
Yesterday I got knee pads. I have HUGE bruises on my knees from my lesson the day before yesterday. Anyway I marched right down to Wildernest (cute huh?) and bought these great non-neoprene-laiden knee pads by Life Link.
So I went up Eagle's Rest lift to Pooh Bear Couloir. Of course as usual the lift spit me out. I didn't know how to get the operator to slow it down and so I was spit out. I landed on my knees.. and that was the first test of the awesome knee pads. I was SO happy. So I scooched around and put my other foot in. I went across to the run and of course had terrible times trying to turn. I heard Wayne's (the instructor's ) voice in my head. "Be Patient, wait for it. Look left, look downhill, look across... much to my amazement.. I TURNED! Then I turned again! Then I was at the bottom. I leaped onto the lift again. I asked the lifty (that's what they call them) how to get the chick at the top to slow the lift. He said get her attention and give her a thumbs down. I did that and she slowed the lift.. No more crash. YAY!
So on the 2nd "lap" down the Pooh Bear Couloir I ran into Wayne, my instructor from Friday. He was at the top with two eager students. I said hi. He actually remembered my name (he couldn't seem to do that during my lesson but I guess my tip helped). Anyway, I told the students that Wayne taught me how to turn. Of course I flipped onto my toe side to start down (facing the mtn to careen down the mtn without seeing where you're going.. it's seriously messed up) and immediately fell. At that point one of Wayne's students asked me if Wayne had taught me that move. I said, "no" and went on my way. I did several turns that they could see and made it all the way down without going splat. I did 3 more runs down Pooh Bear while they were still doing their first and I made sure to say hi so they could watch my awesome turns.
After that the run didn't amuse me anymore so I went up Teewinot. Teewinot is a much more adult friendly lift. My first run down was somewhat challenged, That run slopes to the left and I had a hard time with my toe-side turns for a while. I did 5 "laps" down that run and only had a couple of crashes. It was amazing. I am totally getting the hang.
Tomorrow I have some things to take care of in town and then I am off for some more turns. I am really pretty psyched. I know the runs are green, but I am so happy that I can turn.
Who said crash dummies can''t turn?
Today I bravely went to the hill again. I have a lot of bruises but I was brave. I went and signed up for a group lesson at 1pm. The fellow there (the ski area is not known for its customer service) said, "expert?" I laughed. I said, "beginner". He looked puzzled. Anyway he gave me $10 off of my lesson. So I tightened my boots and waddled over to the meeting place. There were two other folks taking snowboarding lessons. They were first timers and I insisted on not having to spend an hour scooting around with one foot out. So I ended up alone with this older guy named Wayne. I told him I couldn't turn. So we worked on my heel side turn (start on toe side aim downhill then end up on heels). That one was pretty easy. The toe side wasn't so easy. But by the end of the afternoon I was linking turns! The last set I did included 6 or 7 turns back to back.
I have learned a couple of things. First and foremost I need knee pads. I have a couple of whopping bruises. I also learned that the kiddie lift still spits folks out including me. Wayne did teach me some tricks to getting off of the lift.
So what's the plan? I am going to get knee pads tomorrow and go out again. Practice makes turns I guess.
I am totally psyched!
Who said crash dummies can''t turn?
Did she get off the lift and not fall??????
Today I took advantage of Superbowl Sunday to go snowboarding. I went out in the afternoon so that all the football nutsos could have their fill of the mtn. So I got there.. I suited up and went to face my doom. My first ride on the lift was with 3 other people. As usual I apologized in advance for probably taking them out as I exited the lift. To my amazement I didn't fall. When it sunk in that I didn't crash I almost crashed. Elated from my new found exiting skills I decided to go down to the right. It's steeper there and I haven't gone down that way since class when I thought I was going to die.
After about 2pm the slopes were empty. My theory was right.. I heard talks of the insanity in the morning, how busy it was. It was like a ghost town in the afternoon.
So how did it go you ask? Of course you know that even if you didn't ask, I am going to tell you. I got off the lift without falling 5 of the 6 times. Shocker. I tried to link my turns and well that wasn't a success at all. Ouch. I am getting better at getting down the hill though. I almost got all the way down without falling.
My butt hurts a lot. I guess someday it won't. I haven't banged my head since I got the helmet, and my wonderful gloves with wrist guards built in are a lifesaver. I did have a smile on my face the whole time. I guess that's good too.
Tuesday I am taking a lesson on my quest to learn to turn.
My career as a crash dummy - update
Well after over a month I hit the slopes again. As promised I didn't go up the little kiddie lift that seems to spit out skiers and boarders alike. I went up the other green lift and as expected plummeted toward my death.
Teewinot (the other lift) spit me out but at least I felt that it was possible to ride off of it someday. My first run took forever. I fell and fell and fell and fell. Luckily we have had tons of new snow so the landings were somewhat soft. I was armored with my new helmet, special gloves and other padded gear. Too bad they don't make a ski suit that looks like a crash dummy outfit.
I took a little breather after the first run to review how much I suck at snowboarding. Then I went up again. The 2nd run was a lot better.. I only fell about 7 times or so. Elated from my new found skills I immediately went up again. I ended up on the chair with 3 other folks. I apologized in advance for taking them out at the top. They laughed (thinking to themselves.. she can't possibly be that bad) and although I crashed pretty badly getting off the lift, they were all much better skiers than I am a snowboarder. The other boarder of the 3 helped me get out of the way of the folks in the next chair. That run was even more amazing. I am still on my heel edge and haven't managed to even try a turn, I can get down the hill with only minimal splat. On my fourth "lap" I managed to ride off of the lift without falling. I was amazed. Of course my 5th lap found me spit out by the lift again but I was still excited because I managed to get off the lift once without going splat.
I was amazed at how nice everyone was. A snowboard instructor on my last lap offered his hand to pull me upright while he waited for his students to gather themselves. The lift operators were encouraging as I didn't manage to fall once getting onto the lift. The slopes were pretty empty. The snow is so great that all the uber skiers are taking the real lifts up higher on the mountain. It's also the case that the skiing is so good right now that folks just get worn out from lap after lap and they are pretty done by the afternoon.
I am thinking that tomorrow may be another fine day to be a crash dummy once again.
I hope you're all doing well and that you're not nearly as sore as I am :-)
My career as a crash dummy
So here's my second snowboarding journal...
12/25/05 - I got the greatest Christmas present! A beautiful snowboard thanks to Jeff!
12/26/05 - Got boots and bindings (thanks to Marc and Sherrie) and we began planning our assault on the Pooh Bear shoots (or the Pooh Bear Couloir as I think it should be called... it sounds more extreme). I am SO over it with little kids. They're made of rubber or something and they only have a few inches to fall.
12/27/05 - One would think that on her birthday she should be able to conquer anything. NOT! Marc, Sherrie and I went off to conquer the Pooh Bear Coulior. The lift was as before. Impossible to exit without crashing. There's only about 5 inches of space between the bottom of the chair and the icy slope you exit on. I decided that just leaping from the chair was just as safe as trying to actually board off of it. The only saving grace was as I gathered myself up and got off to the side, every chair that followed spit people out. Two girls after me laughed as it the lift barfed them up. They cheered and one exclaimed, "Wow, that was way better than last time!" I have decided no matter what, I cannot ever go up that damn lift again. I am off to Teewinot next time to careen down the slopes. At least I'll be able to get off of the lift without crashing.
I am sure that my new fabulous board looked fabulous even though it had a crash dummy attached to it. It has a pattern on the bottom so the view that most people gets is still fabulous. I still suck but I looked good. My favorite was this crash (about the bazillionth on my butt) flat out on my back. I think if I had been on skis it would have been referred to as a "garage sale". My hat flew off and my mittens luckily stayed on. The snowboard is permanently affixed so it stayed.
12/28/05 - The aftermath... I am SO sore. I hope that some day I can actually learn to turn. I keep reminding myself that I have never skied either and never, ever, been down a ski slope before a couple of weeks ago. I hope that someday I can miraculously turn and if it ever happens I'll be so shocked I'll probably fall on my butt again. :-)
I am in AZ til the 2nd but on the 3rd I'll be out on the slopes trying once again to make some sort of non face plant transition from my heel edge to my toe edge and back again.
Happy New Year!
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So here's my second snowboarding journal...
12/25/05 - I got the greatest Christmas present! A beautiful
snowboard thanks to Jeff!
12/26/05 - Got boots and bindings (thanks to Marc and Sherrie) and we
began planning our assault on the Pooh Bear shoots (or the Pooh Bear
Couloir as I think it should be called... it sounds more extreme). I
am SO over it with little kids. They're made of rubber or something
and they only have a few inches to fall.
12/27/05 - One would think that on her birthday she should be able to
conquer anything. NOT! Marc, Sherrie and I went off to conquer the
Pooh Bear Coulior. The lift was as before. Impossible to exit
without crashing. There's only about 5 inches of space between the
bottom of the chair and the icy slope you exit on. I decided that
just leaping from the chair was just as safe as trying to actually
board off of it. The only saving grace was as I gathered myself up
and got off to the side, every chair that followed spit people out.
Two girls after me laughed as it the lift barfed them up. They
cheered and one exclaimed, "Wow, that was way better than last time!"
I have decided no matter what, I cannot ever go up that damn lift
again. I am off to Teewinot next time to careen down the slopes. At
least I'll be able to get off of the lift without crashing.
I am sure that my new fabulous board looked fabulous even though it
had a crash dummy attached to it. It has a pattern on the bottom so
the view that most people gets is still fabulous. I still suck but I
looked good. My favorite was this crash (about the bazillionth on my
butt) flat out on my back. I think if I had been on skis it would
have been referred to as a "garage sale". My hat flew off and my
mittens luckily stayed on. The snowboard is permanently affixed so it
12/28/05 - The aftermath... I am SO sore. I hope that some day I can
actually learn to turn. I keep reminding myself that I have never
skied either and never, ever, been down a ski slope before a couple of
weeks ago. I hope that someday I can miraculously turn and if it ever
happens I'll be so shocked I'll probably fall on my butt again. :-)
I am in AZ til the 2nd but on the 3rd I'll be out on the slopes trying
once again to make some sort of non face plant transition from my heel
edge to my toe edge and back again.
Happy New Year!
Keep the shiny side up..
Well yesterday was snowboarding lesson #3. I scheduled a private lesson for me, Marc and Sherrie (my cousin and his wife). We met up with Gregor at 1pm.
Just to recap my first two lessons... December 14th.. I had my first lesson. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Trying to scoot (they call it skate but there is nothing skate like about it) around with one foot strapped in and one foot out is insane. So we scooted up a little hill and then went down it with the other foot just sitting on the board. Occasionally as we flailed around, an uber snowboarder would whizz though, get some air off of the little hill that we used to stop and pivot and disappear. We felt so much like infants! Trying to stay upright and figure out a turn was exhausting. Then of course the baby lift wasn't open so we went up this other lift that was still green (if you squint). OMG I fell and fell and fell and fell. I fell and I couldn't get back up too. Over and over and over. And to add to the excitement, one of the other ski instructor guys who was riding this little skateboard thing with a ski on the bottom kept dive bombing us and stopping to comment and hit on the ticket girl who was in our class. About the 5th time (it was still our first and only run down the hill), I had just fallen on my ass again and I asked him to move along. I told him I didn't appreciate his commentary. He (while standing there in his Jackson Hole Mountain Resort Uniform) informed me that we were in a national forest and he could be wherever he wanted to be. I had a mental Fried Green Tomatoes moment. I didn't ram my board into him or anything (being wholly incapable of getting up) but I did go home and write a long letter to the president of the Mtn Resort. I am old and I write letters! :-) It took us probably an hour to go down the run one time. By then it was 3:30pm and the lifts close at 4. Everyone was going up for another run and I went home. I was exhausted and the thought of going up the hill one more time was just more than I could take. I was never so tired and sore in my life. Jeff drove me home and I am certain he felt that my snowboarding career was over.
December 15th.. Optimistic but feeling like a truck had hit me, I headed off to lesson #2. Both of these lessons were afternoon, starting at 1pm and ending around 4pm. This lesson included myself and these two 20-somethings. Rubber and bouncy and young they managed to get down the slope. I had the same instructor and he saw that I couldn't take falling anymore so he actually acted like my training wheels and went down the slope with me most times. I started to get the hang of the long sweeping turns. Toe edge turn, leaning toward certain death, then twisting straight downhill and then into a heel turn and over and over and over. By the end of the day I could do it with him holding just one hand and barely adjusting my position on the board. After the lesson, I went with Jeff and his buddies for a beer. I felt like a part of the ski culture for the first time in my life. They mocked me because, "if it were easy they'd call it snowboarding" but I didn't care. I made it down the hill on something besides snowshoes. I drank my victory beer and soaked up the apres ski happenings.
December 22nd.. I convinced Marc and Sherrie to snowboard with me. I scheduled a private lesson for the three of us with Gregor, the guy I had the other lessons with. We got our gear and had a quick scooting lesson (Marc had never snowboarded). I was psyched because the super beginner lift was open. Some things about the super beginner lift. It is the SLOWEST thing I have ever seen. It takes as long as the aerial tramway but the tram goes all the way to the top of the mountain. Anyway, it gives us beginners time to rest on the way up. Getting off of this lift is insane. The car is so close to the ground for the little kiddies that it's almost impossible to stand up and skate off. I had 3 spectacular crashes getting off of that lift. I am certain that unless I suddenly get shorter I am always going to crash getting off of that lift. Anyway, we started down the hill. Board perpendicular to the hill. Heel edge action all the way. Look right, go right.. oops too much, look left, go left.. eeek there's someone there quick look right again... I could do it, I could stop, I was getting better. The snow was very wet and soggy but it was slow and that was nice. I did some more edge conversion turns with Gregor and I am starting to get the hang of it. I feel like I can go out and practice by myself and not die.
The hardest thing for me about snowboarding is that you actually have to lean toward certain death in order to turn away from it. You have to lean onto your lead foot so that you can pivot downhill and then turn the other way. It's really hard to be headed right for a cliff and then have to lean like you wanna go that way. Eeek.
Well I am probably not going to get up the hill again til after new years and it's totally warm here so the snow is shit down low. I am excited to go again though and so far I haven't completely broken myself.
Thank goodness for Advil!