On Saturday, I headed to Sierra At Tahoe with JB and my brother, Chuck. We spent the first part of the day skiing, and even decided to try a bit of back country skiing.
Sierra has five gates that lead to back country, you can actually get from the back country back to the ski area so that you can ride the chairlift back up the mountain again. After talking to a ski patrol about the back country gates, we thought we’d give it a try.
It was pretty fun at first. We were making fresh tracks (in the very slushy snow… it was 60 degrees on the slopes), and having a good time being adventurous. We were following the tracks of a skiier that had been there before us, and those tracks lead us to some snowmobile tracks. We had been told to follow the snowmobile tracks back to the ski area.
What everyone failed to mention about back country skiing at Sierra is that you’ll spend 90% of your time poling and walking on your skis to get back to the resort. We got about 10 minutes of fun downhill skiing, and we then spent a good half hour walking and poling our way out of there. And in 60 degrees, that gets really hot really quick. We finally made it back to the resort, and decided that the back country skiing there really isn’t worth the effort.
So then, my brother had the brainy idea that we should all try snowboarding. JB has been saying all season that he’d like to try it. I, on the other hand, am very happy on my skis, and wasn’t looking forward to the idea of being a beginner on the slopes again.
But that is exactly what I did. After spending a few hours on the expert hills and doing the back country, we went and rented snowboards and headed straight for the bunny hill. Chuck had been snowboarding twice before, so he took it upon himself to be our instructor. Yes, it was a bit like the blind leading the blind.
The first frightening experience when learning how to snowboard is getting off of the chairlift. I always used to get irritated with snowboarders as they would crash getting off the lifts, but now I fully understand. When the three of us got to the top of the bunny hill lift, JB and I crashed into each other while Chuck rode rather gracefully out of the way. It was pretty funny, actually. But I landed on the binding of my snowboard, and have a sizable bruise on my thigh to show for it.
I then made my way over to the top of the bunny hill, and have never been so intimidated by a bunny hill in all my life. The first two runs on that snowboard were horrible. I was crashing left and right, forward and backward. Smashing my face into the snow… All of this for a girl that really doesn’t fall much skiing, and when I do fall, I usually know how to minimize the damage.
But not on a snowboard. I was at the mercy of that darn thing. JB and Chuck managed to do two runs in the time I did my first run. Just as I had suspected, JB was a natural at the sport. In the time I did 4 runs, he did at least 8, and towards the end, he wasn’t even falling.
One of the things that makes the bunny hill extremely challenging on a snowboard is all the other beginner skiers and boarders. I never really thought about it, but all a bunny hill really is is a bunch of people skiing and riding completely out of control on the same hill. Granted, no one is going very fast, but as I was trying to learn this sport, I was having to maneuver my way around all these other beginners, and you really can’t predict where they’re going or what their next move will be.
By my third and fourth runs, I was starting to get the hang of it, and managed to actually carve some decent turns, and only fell a few times on the way down.
Chuck did his last run of the day on the intermediate hill. And though he said it was riveting, I guess that could possibly give JB and I something to shoot for.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be a true Boarder Chick… Although if JB takes a liking to the sport, I may venture back out to try my hand at it again. But for right now, I’m still recovering. My body hurts. My forearms, butt, neck, and many other body parts are really sore. I also have quite a collection of bruises. Of course, JB the stud wasn’t even sore or bruised at all. Ugh. Must be nice to be so athletically gifted.