Snowboarding for the First Time

Last Saturday, I said goodbye to my first season of snowboarding. 

I started back in January as it was something I had always wanted to try, especially after living in Colorado. I finally found the courage to schedule a lesson and see if I would actually enjoy it. 

I went to Keystone, about an hour and 15 minutes west of Denver, for my first lesson. To get ready was actually quite time-consuming so it’s definitely something you want to plan for ahead of time. (With COVID, you had to make reservations for lift tickets at the ski resorts as well.)

This was everything I needed to get ready:

  • Waterproof Snow Jacket
  • Waterproof Snow Pants
  • Thermal layers (long-sleeve shirt and leggings)
  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Socks

The rest of the gear (like my helmet, snowboard, boots, and bindings) were rented from Keystone. 

I had a morning lesson so I had to arrive early to get checked in and fitted for my gear. They gauge your board off of your weight and height, plus a little bigger for learning. My boots were the same shoe size I wear but they recommend going down a half size or so because your shoes have to fit your feet as snug as possible. 

I took an adult lesson and was placed with three others ranging from 18 to 30 years old. Our instructor took us up the gondola and to the beginner’s learning area where we learned how to skate, strap in, get up, snowboard heel side, do falling leaf patterns, J-turns, and most importantly — brake. 

The first few times I did it, I crashed and landed a lot.

But I pushed myself to keep going and getting up. 

And the more I did it, the less and less I fell.

It’s true that half the battle is just showing up. 

But I showed up every time, adamant to work myself out of the bunny hill and onto my first green.

Fall. Brush it off. Do it again. Repeat. 

I eventually got sick of renting gear and slowly built up my own kit.

I remember walking into the Burton store in RiNo “just to look,” only to end up walking out with the most expensive shoes I had ever bought in my life. (So worth it though.)

And then constantly messaging people on Facebook and Craigslist, searching for the perfect snowboard and gear.

When my snowboarding kit was complete, I finally felt like a real snowboarder.

I had all my gear.

I was speeding up on all my runs.

And I was successfully getting off the ski lift without murdering myself or anyone else.

There was a time halfway during the season I was told I was actually snowboarding on the wrong foot so I had to learn how to do it all over again. (It only took me a morning to relearn the other way though.)

I’m so glad I was able to pick up something new and work towards it. As someone who enjoys being on the mountain and being outside in general, you go through all the feelings:

  • Anxiety
  • Joy
  • Ecstasy
  • Pain
  • Freedom 

The views from on top of the mountain weren't bad either. 

And as I put my snowboard away for the season, I think about how far I’ve come since January (and just in general.)

How I’m constantly learning and evolving.

Constantly pushing myself and discovering all these parts of me.

(I’m sorry to get so deep but that’s just the way I am.

That’s how I’ve always been.)

Goodbye, snowy mountains. Thank you for the lifelong lessons and experiences.

I’ll see you again next season. 

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