From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 26 - 2/24/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Snowboarding & Pain

As I laid flat on my face, breathing snow dust and feeling every muscle in my aching body, I began to wonder what the heck I thought I was doing. White Pine had finally opened and after skiing one weekend, I proclaimed I wanted to try snowboarding. Everybody was doing it and it looked like fun! Even the little kids were whizzing down the slopes at break neck speeds. It looked so easy!

Brent, my very coordinated husband, agreed he would like to try snowboarding too. My twelve year old son, Scott, said he would give us some pointers as he had been snowboarding four or five times and knew the "secrets" of the sport. Our friend, Zak Noble, had suggested renting boards from different places so we could try the bindings and boards each place offered. His recommendation was not to buy anything until we had tried them all. He also said snowboarding was an easy sport to learn.

Friday night Brent and I trotted over to Jamie Faler's Boardshop and pleaded ignorance to knowing anything about snowboards. Jamie very patiently explained to us that the board should be just tall enough to reach the bottom of your chin. She also rented us boots and adjusted the bindings to fit each of us.

Then she asked the "big" question, "Do you guys know if you are goofy footed or regular footed?".

Like I know if I am either one! Who would actually admit to being "Goofy Footed"? Does that mean you should be in a Disney cartoon? Both Brent and I said we were "regular footed". (Although if you have ever seen Brent's feet, you would wonder!).

Saturday morning we headed for White Pine. Scott bubbled along with snowboarding information all the way to the hill. By the time we got there, I was pretty sure I knew everything there was to know about boardin' according to Scott Cheeney.

Brent purchased our lift tickets while I strapped on my board. I quickly learned you only strap in one foot to get on the lift. With your left foot in the binding, you push yourself along with your right foot. I was beginning to feel a little "goofy footed" after all.

Robyn Reintz was loading the lift. I knew I was in trouble when she started giggling and saying things like, "Are you sure you know what you are doing?" and "How old are you?" and "Do you want a broken leg or what?". So much for the confidence of the hill crew. (She probably radioed up to the ski patrol to warn them about an "older rookie" on the hill!).

As our chair approached the top of the bunny hill, I began to feel the first stirring of panic. How do you get off? The lift operator sensing my distress slowed the lift to a near stop. I stood up, planted my right foot in the center of the board, grabbed the back of Brent's coat and with great elegance and grace knocked us both over. As we crawled, clawed and scrambled our way out of the path of the next chair load of skiers, I began to understand what boardin' was going to mean to me.

After catching my breath and gathering my confidence, I got to my feet and stepped and slid my way over to the top of the bunny hill. The grade looked downright lethal to me.

I strapped my right foot into its binding, adjusted my goggles and wiggled my hips to get the board started.

Jamie had obviously spent some quality time waxing my board, because it took off like a rocket down the hill. The bushes to my left were quickly coming at me. No problem, I thought, I will just lean forward and turn away from them. Wrong thing to do! With in a nanosecond I found myself doing the classic face plant. Jeez, there was way more to this sport than it looked like.

The next hour was pretty much a repeat performance of that first wreck. Crash after crash, I would gather myself back up and try again. Sometimes it was a face plant, sometimes a cruising butt plant and occasionally I had the cartwheel effect going.

By my third run, I had mastered getting on and off the lift. I had also figured out how to slow down to some degree and I could kinda turn right. Any left hand turns where out and stopping meant wrecking. Brent on the other hand was gaining confidence with each run. He even started giving me pointers on my style. (Like I had any style!)

My last run before lunch was my best. I made it halfway down the bunny hill without wrecking and had even made a couple of decent turns. I was picking up speed and could feel the breeze of speed in my face. Yeah! I was doing it, and I was lookin' good! I was preparing for an easy turn to the right when a crisp ridge of snow grabbed the front edge of my board and whipped me down to the ground. My chest hit the snow with a resounding thud and all air whoofed out of me.

As I laid there gasping for even a thimble full of oxygen, two little kids came whizzing by on their snowboards.

"Hey lady, cool wreck! I'll give ya' a seven for that one!", hollered the first one.

The other one was more sympathetic. "Ya' want me to get the body haulers for ya'? You look like ya' could use em!".

As I began to get my breath back, I realized that I was going to be one of those athletically challenged people who need two boards under them. The one wide board just isn't enough for me. It's kinda like training wheels, the more of them you have, the better off you are. Besides that, I had learned to ski when I was a kid, and you just can't teach old dogs new tricks!

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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul