Looking down the wintry mountain trail, I harnessed the snowboard to my feet. For years I’ve been attempting to master the art of snowboarding, but usually drift slowly from one side of the mountain to the other. On this day, I wanted to go fast… and it was my first run of the vacation.
Before I belted on the board, I paused for coffee at Le Grand Manitou, a cafe at Mont Tremblant’s summit. A sign read -9° F. I checked the internet to learn the wind chill was -22° F. But this was my moment to go fast. This was the year I was going to take sharp turns and board down the mountain without banging my 44-year-old-body against the snow-covered earth.
As I rose, skiers and snowboarders flew down along my sides and with a thrust, I was flying down with them. Snow flew up as I forced a sharp turn and directed my board straight with my knees bent. I don’t have a guess to the miles-per-hour, but I was fast… and good. As others fell, I sailed by and understood, thrilled it wasn’t me. Skipping the easy trails, I hit the harder routes. Ones I have never tested before. Pride whipped through my soul as easily as the freezing gales. With determination, I angled my board to pick up speed and within a second; I was slammed against the mountain headfirst and flipped over. Sliding down on my back and gaining momentum towards the edge, I dug my board into the snow and reached a gradual stop. I preferred to remain still for a few moments, but I didn’t want to be that
At the bottom, I unsnapped my board and retired to a bar for a beer. As I sat down, icicles fell from my beard onto the bar. I brushed ice off my eyebrows and plopped my heavy feet onto a railing. Soon a beer was in my hand and I was deciding what hurt worse; my head, neck, or pride. I glanced up at the TV and a large man was tossing around two smaller men. WWE was on one screen and sports bloopers were on another. My eyes shifted from one TV to another as I savored my beer.
After I finished my beer, I straightened my neck out, and it produced a popping noise. After arranging my hat on my head, I strolled out the door and found my snowboard instructor. The instructor was great and helped me tweak things I was doing wrong. After a few runs, I was moving down the mountain from side to side, but more swiftly.
I started snowboarding late in life, much like I did many things. It’s never too late to learn something new or a different way to go about achieving a goal. Make sure you get good advice though, doing it all on your own might lead to a few bumps and bruises along the way.
All photos were taken with an iPhoneXR
*Disclaimer: I worked with Mont Tremblant on this post, but my words, bumps, and bruises are all my own.