Since the snowstorm dropped nearly a foot-and-a-half Sunday night into Tuesday, I have been working on my snowboarding turns. I’m trying to learn to slash into a drift, heel-side, like a surfer cutting out of a pipeline. Having skied for most of my life, snowboarding has become a refreshing change. I have never surfed or even skateboarded before, at least with any proficiency. To me, skiing has become quite like power boating… How fast can I go from point A to point B? Quite frankly, it’s become a bit boring. At my age (read: comfort zone), there’s not much more to learn on skis, and you won’t find me launching off booters in the park. My technique is my technique and that’s it. I can get down most anything and look okay doing it, but my feet aren’t leaving the snow surface any more, at least not on purpose. The only new excitement for me is changes in terrain, or skiing somewhere new and different.
Snowboarding has become for me a lot like sailing was. Not as fast moving, feeling the terrain under my feet, and exploring the sides of the trails, turning back and forth, using the hill, standing against gravity, well, tacking and jibing my way down. Maybe it’s my past experiences 20-plus years ago racing sailboats on Long Island Sound. Or maybe it’s just a newfound connection with the mountain, I don’t really know for sure. All I do know is that it’s a great way to unwind, chill out and appreciate being in the moment. It’s also sobering to try a new sport from the ground up. Or should I say, from up to the ground?
I have been wearing wrist guards lately, at least until my proficiency and confidence builds. These are essentially Velcro wraps with a bent piece of hard plastic that supports and protects the underside of the wrist in case of a forward fall. Most people cannot resist the urge to stiff-arm a toe-side fall, usually resulting in a trip to First Aid and a few weeks in a cast. Since the wrist guards are worn under the glove and cuff, they are in close contact to the wrist, so there’s no room to wear a wrist watch. Yeah, I know, I’m old school, or maybe just old… why wear a watch when I carry my digital pocket watch (cell phone) and every lift shack at Okemo has a clock for skiers and riders to reference on every lift ride?
I suppose that’s precisely the point… the only time of day that matters is when it’s time to ride!