winters can be suspiciously long if you don’t partake in some sort of winter sport (especially when you live in NE or colorado or utah or anywhere else a lot of snow can be found), so thank goodness for new friends who ski and old friends with newfound abilities.
after snowboarding lessons (in 2000) ruined my skiing techniques (from childhood), i focused almost exclusively on shredding. in fact, i own my gear and i’ve gone snowboarding once a year every year (since 2000).
i’m no expert, but i’m no novice either.
two weekends ago, i happily strapped in to tear up the mountain with the old friends with newfound abilities. this time however, the mountain won. let’s just say my helmet paid for itself because otherwise i’d have knocked myself unconscious. twice.
playing the pansy card, i left the others on the mountain and spent some time warming up in the lodge and pondering why fear was so pervasive that day. as i’ve gotten older, i’ve grown less and less fond of speed because the faster i go, the less control i have / i’m hyper aware of what i have to lose should i sustain an injury BUT snowboarding isn’t something new to me. i have many mountains notched on my proverbial snowboarding belt.
why was i so scared?
it’s most likely because my attention was focused on keeping up and popping up after a fall and maintaining momentum and not being left behind and guilt i was slowing the group down.
i resolved to try again after lunch because i knew i could do better. i pushed myself, but ended the day after only a few more runs and a bout of whiplash and a decision there was no way i could snowboard the very next weekend (which i had previously committed to). i dragged my bruised body inside and wondered what to do next. i’d hoped this trip would be a warm up for the next weekend when a new friend and i traveled to vermont, but instead, all i managed to do was freak myself out.
despite the massive bruising and strained muscles, i couldn’t back out and so instead of falling down the mountain on the next trip, i fell back on old habits and rented skis. i partnered up with people who were at my skill level and took the easy way down. the skis felt familiar. my muscles burned with recognition. my smile bloomed. i was in control, until i wasn’t, but with years of practice behind me, i could contain both my speed and the voice in my head screeching “i’m going too fast too fast too fast i can’t stop i’m going too fast!!!” and enjoy the ride.
oh, how quickly i forgot the fear from the snowboarding weekend. in fact, i was so jazzed i even convinced my new friend to join us for a trip to the top of the mountain even though it was her first time on skis. trust me, when it’s your first time on skis, any slope looks steep.
talk about bravery (on her part) and peer pressure (on my part).
that trip up consisted of four of us: two newbies, two “teachers”. it took us around an hour to reach the bottom (vs. 15 minutes when i went solo), and it was my favorite run of the day.
since i was with people with less experience than me, it was my job to coach and encourage and lead by example. my focus wasn’t on my abilities, but theirs. i wasn’t racing to keep up. we skied it one turn at a time and took frequent breaks and discussed the patterns we carved in the snow and the best route down and icy patches and helped each other up.
it’s a whole different experience when you’re the one not smeared on the ground.
after they decided they’d had enough, i decided i hadn’t. i hopped on the lift and went for four more runs. me, the girl who can’t go anywhere without getting lost and who (realizes now) skis/snowboards for the social (not speed) aspect, went alone. my confidence was up even if my technical abilities were not, and okay, fine, i went down the same run three of four times. i didn’t trust myself not to end up on the other side of the mountain which was covered in black diamond (expert) trails.
sure i could have survived those trails, but for me, the fun part isn’t about the challenge. it’s about the camaraderie and being in control and being in the fresh air and working my muscles and being active and hanging with friends.
what was that about me being a slow learner?
have you ever tried something new and wished you hadn’t? have you ever thought you were better at something than you actually were? do you ski? snowboard? surf? ride horses? play basketball? what color shirt are you wearing? (just seeing if you were paying attention).