We went skiing almost every year, and I’d worked my way up to skiing black diamond slopes. On our 2001 trip, my brother bought a Kemper snowboard, boots and bindings. It turned out that he didn’t like snowboarding, and lucky for me we wear the same sized shoe. I spent a full day on the bunny slopes learning to ride a snowboard the hard way – without instructions. Lesson #1: Don’t start off going straight down the mountain. Lesson #2: Put your weight DOWNHILL. Lesson #3: BUY wrist guards!
My most spectacular crash flung me forward into a handspring that landed me square on my back. This drew the attention of many pre-teen boarders who quickly became my mentors. I’ll never forget their first words, “hey man, are you alright?” That night I found myself soaking in the hot tub washing down vicodin with beer. Still, I ended up buying that snowboard off of my brother and have ridden it ever since. And while I’ve continue to hit the slopes every year, I haven’t worn ski’s since that 2001 trip.
I’ve tried many of the sports that fit into this genre now popularized by the X Games: bmx & mountain bike, skateboarding & roller blading, water sports (ski/wake/knee), etc. But snowboarding has, by far, been my favorite. While snowboarding has a rather difficult initial learning curve (unlike skiing), it has a rather steady flow of achievement beyond the curve. Once you learn how to carve the snow, many doors suddenly open. It’s a great feeling of exploration.
There are many amazing riders out there, and every time I go I see more and more sick tricks. I don’t have the skills to ever be a sponsored boarder. Due to cost and geography, I only get to ride, at most, a few times a year. Still, every trip is marked with a new achievement which keeps me thinking about the next trip all year long. This season brought me my first 180, and it was good. Maybe this Web site will keep me occupied until the next trip.
That’s my story. As I’m currently in the market for my next snowboard, I’ll soon post the results of some of my recent research.