Thursday, March 24, 2011

Snowboarding, Take Two

My first foray into snowboarding (or any kind of snow sport, for that matter) was back in January when Bobby and I went with J-Ben and Pizzle during their visit to Colorado. J-Ben and I planned to take lessons, but they were booked solid, so Bobby and Pizzle were kind enough to show us some techniques, give us some pointers, and then get us up the mountain. As much as I appreciated the help, I was looking forward to taking a proper, full day lesson before the end of this season so that I could get a good idea of what I wanted next season to look like (do I like it enough to get a season pass? do I kind of want to do a once a winter thing? etc.). As luck would have it, our friend Jenny had never been snowboarding before, and she wanted to give it a try. After a bit of very last minute planning (3 days before) we had coordinated one final snowboarding day- yesterday, a Wednesday, smack in the middle of the week to avoid crowds and traffic. Our friend, Rory, let Bobby, Jenny, and I drive to Boulder and crash on her couch so that we could all head out early the next day.
 Not just early, but super early. We were dressed and out the door by 6:30. I think everyone here is thinking "We haven't even eaten breakfast yet. Put that camera away, crazy".
 It's a two hour drive to get to Winter Park, and lucky for us it had recently snowed about 3 inches. Since Jenny and I are total newbs, any extra cushion we can get for falls is good.
 Jenny, ready to tackle a full day of snowboarding lessons.
 Bobby and I, modeling our sweet beanies from Peru. At the end of the day I was in Starbucks with Jenny and a woman said "I just can't stop STARING at your beanie, I love it!". I then bent down and exhorted her to rub her hands over the little alpaca wool nubbins. What can I say, I love random, friendly, stranger interactions.
 Whoa there Bobby! Someone was very excited to be on the gondola (which for some reason is called the "Cabriolet" at Winter Park).
 Sticker stuck to the inside of said Cabriolet. I think this is the truest statement a sticker has ever made.
 Jenny, with all her gear, right before she and I hopped on  another ski lift to get to our lessons.
 The Gemini Express was going to take us to our full day lesson. We got there a little late, so we were ushered up with a snowboard instructor to meet the main group.
 It was a gorgeous day. Fresh snow, blue skies, lots of sun, no wind. Just perfect.
 I love seeing random tracks from the ski lift and wondering where the person who made them is now.
 This was where we spent the day, and this is also why it is awesome to go snowboarding at the end of March on a Wednesday. There were hardly any people there.
 It turned out to be lucky that we were late, because Ben (the instructor) stuck with us from 10:00 until 11:30, catching us up. Everyone else was in the larger group that had started at 9:30. Having one on two attention from the instructor was really helpful, and the difference between my first experience and this one was night and day. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast my first time out, but I liked this course a lot more. It was less steep, so instead of riding on my heels all the way to slow down, I could sit back and focus on learning how to steer, turn, and enjoy the ride.
 This is Jenny's first run- she did great! We joined up with the bigger group at 11:30, then broke for lunch at noon. Then we were back at it from 1- 3 p.m. A full day of learning and being corrected and taught was just what I needed. I will definitely take another lesson at the beginning of next season.
Altogether we did about 10 runs, and I only fell about 3 times! Plus, I conquered my anxiety around the ski lift. I'm not afraid of riding it, mind you- I love that part- but getting off stresses me out because you have to do it with one foot in and one foot out of your snowboard. But I didn't fall once and I'm much more confident about it. I also learned a lot more about control and that helped immensely.

Rory and Bobby were all over the park while we were taking lessons, so after Jenny and I were done we took the ski lift back down and hung out with some coffee, waiting for them. We headed back to Boulder, changed out of our snow clothes, and then went out for some Mexican food (mmmm, chile rellenos and mole). Bobby, Jenny and I drove back home and were welcomed with open arms by our hot tub after we downed some Emergen-C and water. I slept like a baby last night, but honestly I am far less sore than I expected to be today. I went to yoga this morning for my usual Tuesday/Thursday class and felt great. We'll see how I feel tonight though, when I do my C25K run.

I'm looking forward to many more snowboarding trips in my future, but I'm still happy we're moving into Spring. Although I do love the fact that living in Colorado allows me to go snowboarding (yesterday) and camping/hiking (day after tomorrow) in the same week :)

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