Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Snow Bunny Part 3: Death of a Dream

The ride up Copper Mountain was slow, cold, and utterly beautiful. Dozens of skiers and ‘boarders whipped down the slope, which lay roughly three vertical miles below my dangling feet and board. I tightened my kung-fu death grip on the rail. The snowfans below zigged and zagged, leaving flowing streams of fresh powder in their wake as they gracefully wove through the beautiful evergreen trees that spotted the landscape. Soon, brethren, I will join you! You and I, bound by board and blade and powdery snow! Soon, we will… wait –hold up. Who the crap puts trees in the middle of a freakin’ ski slope? How the heck am I supposed to rip it up while dodging large copses of evergreens? Easy, friend, I think to myself. Don’t forget - you’re a natural at this. Trees shmees. You’re the Chosen One of the snowboarding elite.

Well, no matter now, anyhow – here comes the top, the end of the lift. After a passable (if slightly unsteady) dismount from the lift, I was ready to show the world my previously unknown snowboarding skills.

My first attempt at actual movement with both feet strapped to the board took me a grand total of about six feet. Not bad. Unfortunately, that six-foot trek left me flat dab in the middle of a flat spot just off the side of the lift. It did not take me long to understand why someone had earlier referenced flats as “snowboarder’s hell.” With no way to gain momentum, I spent the next ten and a half minutes crab-crawling/butt-scooting over to the actual slope. Determined not to further humiliate myself, I joined my brother and his friends at the crest of the slope, regained my composure, and tried to catch my breath after that initial display of jaw-dropping athleticism.

What followed was the death of a dream, and can only be described by two words: UTTER. DISASTER. I would go into all the gory details, if I could actually remember them. It will suffice to say, however, that I spent the next several hours falling, tumbling, rolling, sliding, and/or scooting my way down the slopes. I’m pretty sure the high altitude must have affected my memory, but there are several highlights that stand out between long periods of gasping for air and recovering from massive quad cramps. In no particular order, here are my top ten most memorable moments:
1.) On my first of three runs, I “deviated” from the “recommended path” (read: I careened into a pit of trees) and ended up chest-deep in soft powdery snow. Chest-deep, I kid you not. With a six-foot board strapped to both feet. Twenty minutes later, I finally managed to haul myself back onto packed snow. Fifteen minutes after that, I managed to make it back to the actual slope, where I had to rest for another ten minutes.

2.) My least favorite people on the slopes were the dudes who were really good who zipped by and sprayed snow all over my newbie face while I was crashed out. C’mon guys. Seriously. I know you did that on purpose. And if I could catch you…

3.) My favorite people were the five-year-old kids doing insane jumps, flips and spins. Interestingly, they were also runners-up to my least favorite people, but only because I was really jealous.

4.) I also liked the parents who had “ski leashes” for their kids. That was pretty funny. Seriously, their kids skied while their parents held them back on a leash. Funny.

5.) Did I mention I fell a lot? Mostly on my face. Hard. The best (or worst) fall was the time I landed squarely on my back, which whiplashed the back of my skull into the ground while simultaneously flipping my legs all the over so that I landed facedown. One of the slope medics actually came over for that one. I told him I was fine, but I cannot remember if I was actually telling him the truth or not. He must not have thought so, because he followed me at a distance for a little while after.

6.) After my second run, I realized my cell phone, previously secured in my Camelbak, was gone. For those who left voicemails while I was away, I’m sorry I never called you back. It’s not that I don’t like you, I promise. It’s that I no longer have your phone number.

7.) While recovering from a fall, I saw a man in skis going at least 120mph down the slope. Backwards. It was amazing because he was not at all looking where he was going. Mostly because he was drinking a huge bottle of water.

8.) By my third run down the slopes, my body was so tired, it mostly stopped working and generally refused to do what my brain told it to do. I was warned earlier that this would happen, but scoffed.
My Brain: "Go, Body, go!"
My Body: "Who's scoffing now, sucka?!"

9.) I remember seeing a man in an orange vest riding a snowmobile up the slope. He stopped to check something just a few yards from where I was resting. I briefly considered sneaking up behind him and clubbing him in the back of the head with my snowboard so I could take his snowmobile and ride it the rest of the way down. But then he drove off.

10.) At one point, I saw a man ski down wearing only boxer shorts. No kidding. But it is quite possible I had altitude sickness and/or a concussion and was hallucinating.
By the time I limped back to the car, I was convinced that I had shattered both my wrists, knees, my left elbow, and my tailbone (which my friend Joy, who is a nurse, told me is called the coccyx when I later lamented about having much pain in that region). I pretty much felt like I had just done 10,000,000 push-ups while someone punched me repeatedly about the face and throat.

So, in conclusion, snowboarding was pretty much awesome.

And yes, I would definitely go again.


goodwillhiking said...

man, i'm never going snowboarding.

van.diesel said...

hahahaha... no way, dude. you should totally go. at least once. you might have some hidden skills or something.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm glad that you had fun.

van.diesel said...

thanks, clark.

i see you've been to argentina. i was there too. tell me more.

or i guess i could just read yo posts...

Oldhops said...

Dude I know this is totally not vogue, but... you should try skiing. It is easy to learn but hard to master. Meaning you can have a good time and not die. I grew up skiing and snowboarding. Had to give up the latter after the second concussion. And I was good by the way. Also one of my friends was skipatrol at Mt Hood Meadows, and told me that kids died there all the time, breaking their necks. Cause as you and I both learned. When both feet are connected to the same thing, your face seems to break the falls.

van.diesel said...

ye olde hoppes,

duly noted. i will try skiing.

and i am happy that i did not break my neck.