Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Mountain is a Harsh Mistress

For the first time in three years, I went snowboarding last weekend.  While I had a blast, I'm still paying for it today, Tuesday morning.

First off, a big thank you to Scott, Kim, and Sung (and of course, honorary mention to Dude).  I flew up to DC and spent the weekend with them.  My idea of a good time has always been laying around, playing video games, watching movie, and grilling out.  And that's exactly what we did on Saturday, as Mother Nature dropped a foot of snow on top of us, more than I had ever seen at one time.

While it was beautiful, it also caused a major problem for us Sunday morning when we got up to head to the slopes.  The roads had already been cleared, but the parking lot had not.  So we spent almost an hour with a snow shovel and salt, digging our way the 50 yards between us and the street.

But we did make it out, and it was worth it when we got to the mountain (Whitetail in southern Pennsylvania).  The slopes were covered in fresh powder, something that I had only ever seen the time that I went skiing in Colorado, but never in the Appalachians.  The only problem was that everyone and their brother also wanted to ski in the fresh snow, so the place was packed.

I was really surprised at how quickly I picked boarding back up.  Like I said, it had been three years since the last time that I had gone.  But on my first trip up the green slope, I didn't bust it while getting off the lift (which had always been a sore spot for me), and I made it all the way down without falling.  But this presented a problem.  I was obviously a little more adept than Scott or Kim (Sung declined the invitation, and can you really imagine Dude on a snowboard?).  So I would go a little ahead, stop and wait for them to catch up, and repeat.  So when we were back at the bottom, I had to take my leave of them and graduate myself to the blue slope. I did fairly well there too, so I eventually tried out the black diamond course, but that was a little above my skill.  The steepness didn't bother me, but I'm not good enough at cutting back and forth quickly to handle moguls, which the hill was covered in.

So, I dropped back down to the blue course to try a different tactic to improve my skills.  Off to one side, they had set up a mini slopestyle area.  It had two jumps and two rails.  I was nervous about trying to ride a rail on a rented board, so I decided to learn to jump.  In this venture I failed.  I wasn't beaten.  I continued to attempt the jump all afternoon long.  But, when we decided to leave, I had yet to successfully land one.  Maybe next time.  The jumping is what I'm really paying for right now too.  I would probably be just a little sore from boarding, but I've got a nice purple bruise on my butt that makes sitting a little ginger right now.  I also had a pretty spectacular face-plant, but thankfully I've had no ill effects from that.

When I woke up Monday morning to go catch my flight, I was surprised by how good I felt.  But after sitting all day on the metro to the airport, at the concourse waiting to board, on the plane, and in my car coming down from Nashville, everything started to tighten up.  It was definitely worth it though.  I just wish I had somewhere close enough to go on a regular basis.

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