Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Trials in Snowboarding

I’ve skied for several years, and am rather average. I get down the hill okay, but impress no one. A few years ago I thought I’d try snowboarding. Everyone was doing it, and it looked fun. So I headed up to one of my favorite slopes and rented a board and boots. They showed me how to lock you feet down to the board and then how to release them.

Out at the bottom of the slopes I sat on the snow and buckled up one boot leaving the other free so that I could push myself over to the chairlift. I watched the other snowboarders as I waited in line hoping to pick up on something. As I got closer to the front of the line I was paired up with two teenage girls who were also snowboarding. They appeared to have more of a clue so I basically just followed them. As our turn approached I saw that they had their board attached to their left foot while I had mine on my right. I figured it was just preference until we pushed out behind the chair in front of us, and it dawned on me that I’d likely break my foot if I left the board attached to my back foot with the nose of the board flopping out in front of me.

Not able to maneuver particularly well I dove to the right, out of the way of the oncoming chair. Having been a soccer goalie my diving ability was okay; however, I had never tried it with my feet strapped to the ground before. Basically, I belly flopped off the side of the chairlift, and my feet stayed right where they were. On my stomach with my foot and my board behind me and slightly uphill, I tried to flip myself over unsuccessfully. I needed to flip the board over in order to flip myself over, but couldn’t do that in my current position. So I tried to reach my boot to unhook myself, but couldn’t reach. I greatly resembled a beached whale unable to go forward or backward. That’s when the chairlift operator informed me that, “you can’t do that here”. While I would have greatly preferred to flop on the ground somewhere else where lines of agitated people weren’t watching me as I blocked the lift, I didn’t have much choice at that time. Finally I dug my elbows into the snow and inched forward dragging my board and foot behind me until I finally got to level ground where I flipped myself back over, unbuckled my boot, dusted myself off and got back into line.

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