Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ski Bunnies (kinda)

Last weekend, as a finale to an incredibly crazy winter, my family took a spontaneous trip to Snowshoe, West Virginia. The next few days might just have been the most painful, yet most fun times I've ever had!
I missed part of school on Friday so we could get on the road early and wouldn't be driving up the mountain in pitch darkness. Because the upperclassmen had standardized testing in the morning, my first 2 class periods were combined, and I knew we would essentially be doing busywork the entire time so I slept in a little'll be our little secret ;). Let the record show that I didn't want to miss taking notes on World War I, my Geometry quiz, or my Biology test, so I came to school for 3 class periods because I'm just that dedicated.
After Biology we got in the car and headed west to Snowshoe for some fun on the slopes!
Snowshoe Mountain is a large, very popular ski resort in West Virginia. They're known for being incredibly fun and well-maintained, and I was incredibly excited. We got in just before 6 and checked in to our small but cozy condo. It was just a few yards from the slopes, so you could practically ski out the door!
Not 5 minutes after arriving, we came to the terrible realization that there was absolutely no cell service-not even 4G. The horror! The only time I was able to access my phone was in the village, which we only went to a few times during our stay. So we were forced to rough it, and survive off the spotty Wi-Fi only accessed by laptop.
Anyways, after a delicious dinner at a local barbecue restaurant, where I had some warm chili perfect for a cold day in the mountains, we curled up in beds and tried to sleep in the "high-altitude" (it's high in comparison to Richmond, which sits at just barely above sea level). If you've never had to sleep at a high elevation, let me be the first to tell you how difficult it is. For some reason, it makes getting to bed nearly impossible!
After a fitful night of trying to get some half-decent shut-eye, I was woken up at 7:30 in the morning. Despite my considerable lack of sleep, I was ready and eager to get rentals and start my snowboarding lesson!
At 15 years old, you'd think I'd know how to ski/snowboard by now. Even though most of my childhood weekends were spent at our vacation home in the Blue Ridge Mountains, for some reason my parents never got around to getting me lessons, despite our frequent trips to the neighboring ski resort to go tubing. Nevertheless, it's better late than never, right?

We were placed in a group with about 5 other teenagers, plus my mom. She got lots of compliments that day for being cool enough to try snowboarding with her daughters! We got in a circle as our instructor, Allan showed us the basics.

Once we understood how to clip and unclip, "keep our sandwich stacked," and one-foot skate, we headed out to the mini-halfpipe for some serious skills. 

As you can see by the 5-year-olds in the background, only advanced snowboarders like us can handle the mini-halfpipe ;). Then we made our way over to the ski-lift, which didn't exactly go over well. Getting off that thing is harder than it looks!

As you can see, I lasted approximately .00004 seconds before falling, and everyone laughed at me. But hey, embarrassing moments make great stories!

When our lessons were over, we stayed on the Bunny Slope for a little longer before heading inside and promptly falling asleep. I mean we were all out.cold. I understand now the trick to sleeping at high-altitude: wear yourself out first! Now well-rested, we stayed up late running throughout the lodge playing hide n' seek, all while a group of boys not-so-subtly tried to get our attention ;). 
The next day was slightly harder.
Reason A) There was fresh snow from the previous night, so while the first day was hard-packed and semi-slush (good for learning as it allows you to dig your board into the snow easier), on Sunday it was windy, the snow was powdery, and every move you made carved little ridges throughout the ground. When you snowboarded over these ridges, your board would catch like train tracks and send you veering off in all different directions.
Reason B) We were already incredibly sore from the day before, resorting to getting around in a serious of fits, starts, and groans, and we all moved like robots in desperate need of re-tuning. 
Reason C) I was way too confident in my board skills, thinking that I could make it off the bunny slope after only a few hours of experience. The slopes at Snowshoe are infamously steep, and even the green slopes leave people in crumpled heaps after wiping out. 

I tried what was believed to be the most benign, mellow, easy green-slope on the mountain, and it was awful! There's nothing I hate more than feeling out of control, and that's exactly how I felt going down that slope. It certainly wasn't mellow by my standards! But then again, it was my 2nd day and I had now clue how to slow down or stop, so I'd resort to purposely falling to avoid hitting people. Needless to say, this got very frustrating, very fast. I have an awful habit that, when I try something new, I expect to be really good right from the start. Whenever I start to struggle, I get frustrated that I'm not getting the hang of it fast enough. Ridiculous, I know, but it lead to me taking off my snowboard and absolutely hating that slope as I walked to the bottom. But by the time the lift took us back up to the top, I was determined to go to the bunny slope (which, to clarify, is NOT the slope I was just on. The bunny slope, also called the Skidder, is man-made and predominantly for absolute beginners like me.), and perfect my skills before re-attempting the green slope that I had such a hard time on. While I stayed on the bunny slope for the rest of the day, I am determined to ace that green-slope the next time I'm at Snowshoe! I know now that getting the hang of snowboarding is a hard process, and I need to work hard to not get too frustrated with myself when I don't pick it up immediately. 

We headed home that afternoon, but learning to snowboard was by far one of the most incredible things I've done, and I can't wait to go back!!

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