Thursday, March 18, 2010

Linking (thud) turns (thud) on the (thud) bunny trail...

Yes, I am a geek.  I have a four year plan.  It's related to skiing.  At least I'm willing to admit it.  Part of that plan says "learn to snowboard".  I had only ever tried once before - 14 years ago, when I was first teaching.

A recipe for disaster: 5 young ski instructors, 0 snowboarders, 1 icy night = 2 runs of going straight to a crash then straight to the shop to return the rental board.

I had in my head that it might be a good weekend to go play.  The fact that it's spring along with some exceptionally unfun weather (rain, rain, rain, again) meant that few people were there to teach.  But it was raining.  Like really raining.  So I was hanging out (bored) indoors.  Until someone brought out a vew-do board for me to play on.  After figuring out this side-to-side balance thing (in my ski boots, no less), it was clear - it didn't matter how hard it was raining, I wanted to go try something new.

I trekked to the rental shop.  They were super helpful - out of probably 2000 snowboards, they had only rented 5.  I went to the ski school - my buddy Nate was ready to brave the rain with me.  I was sent back to the rental shop for wrist guards.  By the time I strapped my right foot in, I was sweaty.  Very sweaty.  This beginner stuff is hard work!

After a few straight runs and a couple little turns, we headed up the lift.  By this time, another ski instructor who knows how to ride was with us.  Lucky for me, we were dressed almost identically, so from afar, the stalkers in the lodge couldn't quite tell who was who. She's much better than I am.  Probably has something to do with marrying a snowboard instructor.

Really, you want me to strap both my feet in?!  Okay, but now I can't get up.  Seriously... I can't get up from my heelside edge.  Half the time I get up on the toeside just to flop right back over onto my rump.

And you want me to turn?!  Already!?  I can't even go straight on this thing.  Okay, but... uh oh... thud.   Okay, here I go... arg, what's that?!  A gully in the middle of the bunny hill?  Sure I'll ride a mini halfpipe on my first day (sidenote: this was a proper gully with lots of mud and grass by a few hours later).  If by ride you mean go down the middle of it.  And crash at the bottom.

But, by the end of the day, I was mostly linking turns on the bunny hill.  No one ever said learning to snowboard is easy - I'll go a step further and say that man, those guys teaching on a busy weekend have it way tougher than us skiers.

And yes, I rode for a while again on Sunday.  Part of the four year plan, remember?  Toll on the body:
Bruises.  Both knees.  Good thing it's bike season and I've gotta break these legs out to the sunshine.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ending with a few thuds... sort of...

Ski Liberty closed last weekend.  I know there were puppy dog eyes around when Eric (the GM) came through on Sunday, announcing we were done.  I had hoped for a spring weekend.  A proper no-one-else-is-here-and-we're-going-to-clinic-in-t-shirts weekend.  A Saturday night kick-the-keg event at the tavern.  But alas, rain and a forecast of 60degrees this week meant it was not to be.  It's spring.  The incredible season ended on a rainy day in the middle of March.  Thud.  There were other thuds, but that's for another post.

Some of us have spring trips planned.  Some of those trips are centered around an exam.  Thankfully this year, my spring trips are just for fun. Good luck to those pursuing their goals. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bluebird days and long drives

We went to Vermont Monday.  After work.  And came back last night.  This is something that I think college kids do when they can sneak a day of bigger mountain skiing in.  Guess it should make me feel young? 

For the first time since early January, I skied somewhere other than home... and could see the top of the mountain from the bottom.  I've skied at several other places on other trips...all in the rain, snow, and/or fog.  It was great to ski in the sun of a March day - even better because it was a Dev Team training day with Matt Boyd.  8 or so of us got together for some good old-fashioned ripping with a bit of arguing about skiing thrown in for good fun.  I learn a lot from watching my peers on the team - it's fun to celebrate everyone's individual strengths and work to improve our weaknesses.

We did some "Bode Miller" turns yesterday on the wide open blues at Mt. Snow... the muscles in my hips aren't feeling like a college kid's at the moment.  I'll blame it on the 7+ hour drive home last night.