Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Creek: Day 2

   Today I trekked back up to Weston to give snowboarding another try—this time with all my own gear. It has been a couple of weeks and I don't want to go too long and have that lesson wear off. How did it go? Well... I think it's safe to say that I will not be winning any swimsuit competitions during snowboarding season. I am getting the hang of it, but still fell enough times that my knees are lumpy and bruised, and I have a nice big bruise on my upper hip in the back. (This is despite having invested in a set of volleyball kneepads, and adding a little padding to my butt.) But, I avoided falling on my coccyx: WIN!
   Heel side, which I struggled with at first, is now easy, and toe side has become inexplicably harder. I can totally turn, but tend to dig in too hard and slow myself down rather than making smooth, sweeping curves. Everyone tells me that I will like real powder more than Snow Creek, where the "snow" is manufactured and icy. Hope so. I get flying down that hill like a bat out of hell and have to be careful not to take out any children or other beginners along the way.
   Just like last time, I found plenty of camaraderie out on the slopes. Going by myself is actually quite fun, because I get paired up with random people to ride the lift up, and most of them are super friendly and talkative. (And because most are new to the sport like me, we can share tips and commiserate about the learning curve.)
   On one of my trips up, I was paired with Adam, a guy in a gray jacket that I had seen at the top. He was there by himself too, and it was fun for both of us to have someone to talk with. He is also a beginner but was clearly picking it up more quickly than me. But he was patient and we took turns taking the lead down the slope, with the other attempting to follow and keep up. He's 18, and lives in Topeka. We agreed that SSX Tricky is one of the most fun games ever. We stuck together for an hour or two.
   At one point we were sitting at the top strapping on our bindings and Adam said, "Look up!" A huge flock of snow geese flew overhead—there had to be close to 100—and they looked beautiful against the dark sky, lit up by the flood lights on the slopes. Instead of the usual "V" pattern, however, they were literally arranged in the shape of a giant manta ray. They even got the tail. Artistic geese = awesome.
   When I was ready for a break, I headed to the lodge for an energy drink and sat down at an empty table. A few minutes later, a guy named Steve asked if his family could share the table, and his son, daughter, daughter's boyfriend and assorted others joined us. His kids were awesome: friendly and smart, and hella good at snowboarding apparently: they had taken first and second place in the competition that afternoon!
   I hope to see Adam and Steve back on the slopes someday. I went out for three more runs, and though I wanted to continue I needed to get to the next stop, then come home and feed the dogs, who were surely IMpatiently waiting for their dinner.
   Stephen, one of the newest members of my team, was celebrating his 40th birthday with his wife and friends from work (Mike & Suzanne, yay!!!) and beyond. I met them up at Tomfooleries in the Northland and shared some drinks and some laughs. Mostly laughs at this drunk woman standing at the bar in a skin-tight, black, green and ivory CROCHETED dress and stilletto heels. We speculated whether she crocheted the dress herself, or just sewed a bunch of potholders together. Stephen swore that it was going to be the next big thing, and that I should jump on that train now. I declined, saying I'll be a late-adopter of the crocheted-mess-dress. Then she turned around and complimented Stephen on his necklace ("I LOVE GLOW STICKS!!!"). Wow.
   I scarfed down a chicken sandwich (5 hours of screwing around on the slopes takes a lot out of you... and I probably should have skipped Saturday morning circuit training!) and headed home to get out of my cold, damp gear and take care of the pets. What an awesome, fun day... can't wait to try again!