Snowboarding: Or, How to get beat up

I’ve gone skiing once a year for the past four years. I’d never tried snowboarding. So this year, I tried it.

The kind people at Paoli Peaks ran a deal where I could start with a snowboard rental and then switch to skis if I wanted to. After about two tries down the bunny hill, I was ready to switch.

Still, I stuck it out until lunch time.

Some friends who went with me gave me some advice. They said to steer with my back leg, not my front leg. I hadn’t realized that was a problem. On a skateboard, you steer with your front leg by moving the nose of the board. On a snowboard, though, the nose will dig into the snow if you try that. When your board catches the snow like that, it slows down but you don’t.

That advice helped me a lot, though it certainly didn’t look like it.

In the beginning of one of my last runs, another snowboarder and I were riding parallel to each other, with him in front of me. I started to turn to move away from him, but right then he turned harder into my original path. That meant I needed to turn harder to avoid him. I turned but still clipped the back of his board as I rode past him. He was fine, but I – not knowing what I was doing – lost control and wiped out.

My board stopped first, perpendicular to the path. I didn’t. I belly-flopped. My face and sunglasses had snow all over them as I choked on air. It reminded me of the feeling you get when someone kicks a soccer ball into your stomach. It wasn’t nearly that bad, but the reminder was enough.

I switched to skis shortly after that. I wanted that to be one of the last of my two dozen falls.

So yes, I’ll probably try snowboarding again sometime in my life. Two of my brothers who’d never snowboarded stuck with it almost all day. But for now, snowboarding is not my thing. I just get beat up.