My First Snowboarding Experience

When I was younger, I always wanted to go skiing as winter sports were something that my family never took interest in. We did everything else, from golfing to summer vacations to hiking to even white-water rafting. I begged my parents to take me, and when they wouldn’t give in, I called into a radio station when I was in sixth grade and won my friend and I ski lift tickets. Skiing for the first time was very difficult but a ton of fun. Since then, I’ve managed to convince my dad to take me on one skiing adventure, but that was many years ago. Now that I’m older and still have this idea about skiing in my head, I convinced my boyfriend to take me to a mountain over Spring Break. He knows how to snowboard and even has extra equipment, so it was the perfect scenario for an extreme beginner like myself. 

After rummaging around my house for snow clothes and driving over an hour to Butternut Mountain in Great Barrington, MA, I was both excited yet terrified. Looking around the parking lot, people took this activity very seriously. They had custom bags to fit snowboard boots and helmets, multiple boards and skis attached to their car roofs, and spent at least fifteen minutes putting on gear in the parking lot. I asked my boyfriend a million questions: “How tight does the helmet need to be?” “Do the goggles go over or under your helmet?” “Should I tuck my snow pants into my boots?” “How do I carry the snowboard?” He merely looked at me and shook his head, fortunately, while laughing. 

This is me snowboarding!

Once he bought the lift tickets, I waddled my way over to the chairlift. If you’ve never snowboarded before, beware: one foot is always attached to the board in a sideways position. It is rather uncomfortable if you’re not used to walking with one foot attached to a long, slippery wooden board. I managed to make my way to the bottom of the bunny slope where he got in line to go on the chairlift. “You’re not going to tell me how to snowboard first?!” I exclaimed furiously. He is the type of person that likes to jump right into things, while I prefer to have it all explained to me beforehand so I am prepared. I made him go over the mechanics of the board and how to stop before we even got on the chairlift. Then, I made my way to the base of the lift where the sweetest worker took my hands and gave me a run-down about how to get on and off the chair. He stopped the chair so I could practice getting on, as normally they’re constantly moving and it takes skill to be able to sit down in a fluid motion. “Point your hand backwards and grab the back of the chair,” he said. Fortunately, he radioed up to the worker at the top of the lift, and she stopped the chair and taught me how to get off safely. Just as I expected, I fell getting off the lift for the first time, but after that I managed to slide my way along for a few feet and stop abruptly before I fell. Waddling my way to the top of the bunny slope, I sat down on the snow, forced my other foot into the bindings, and attempted to slowly make my way down the mountain sideways. I focused on the feeling of the board beneath my feet, how to slow myself down, and how to fall effectively so I wouldn’t hurt myself. It was tough, to say the least, and I got very frustrated, but after three times down the mountain I definitely was getting the hang of it. The man at the bottom of the chairlift helped me get on the lift every single time, taking my hands and giving me tips. If it wasn’t for him, I would have had a much different experience. My boyfriend throughout all of this was a wonderful instructor, giving me praise and helped fix my technique when needed. As embarrassing as it was to be a 20-year-old beginner, and watching these 4 and 5 years olds zoom down the mountain next to me, it was the best first experience I could have asked for and I can’t wait to go again!

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