Saturday, March 3, 2012

Snow in Whitefish (This was written a long time ago now)

I am an active person to say the least.  I am apparently also a fragile person (skeletally).  Which is a seriously messed up combination when I think about it.  I mean, how screwed up is it to have the desire to do the sports I do and then have a skeleton that shatters like so much glass when I make a mistake?

I went on my first serious snow ski trip with a group of guys as I noted in a few of my previous posts.  It was stellar.  The flight out, the beauty of the mountain.  The vast amounts of snow.  Trees coated with white powder so thick that they didn't even look real.  It was everything I had imagined.  But...there were a couple of points that didn't quite go as well as I had hoped.

Point #1: Humble Pie:

I don't like humble pie.  It tastes like a big pile of steaming....well you get the idea.  I went to Montana with aspirations of being able to pick up snowboarding like I have many other activities.  Pretty quickly and easily.  I mean, all those guys riding on the snowboard videos make it look easy!  I didn't have the right mindset, and the mountain knew it.  Nathan was very patient and stayed with me on what had to be the steepest "bunny slope" that could be imagined.  Not that it mattered.  His instruction was good.  My execution was pitiful.  I rode the lift up, and then fell.  (Not right under the lift like I had worried, but finding myself not being able to stop I had to do something...)  I then put the boots in place on the board and promptly fell over.  I also found that when I put the snowboard in the direction I wanted to go it went -- and by "went" I mean accelerating to 400 mph with only meager inklings of control.  *crash* 

Out of my element. 

I was seriously frustrated on the first run.  The second run was better although I nearly hit the lift tower on my descent.  That run showed promise, but as soon as I threw the board into a toe side turn I found myself face up with my ears ringing.  All the while I was thinking, "I could do back flips on a wake board, why is this so difficult?"

The third run had me gasping like a person that hasn't ever worked out in his/her life, but I could stop myself and turn for the most part.  Oh, and crash.  I had that crashing part of the lesson NAILED!!  Yeah baby!  Nathan didn't even have to teach me anything.  I was good at it like I was born to do it.  sigh...

We then took the lift to the top of the mountain.  There was no way I going to give into the fact I had only 3 short runs on a snowboard under my belt and should have given in and just taken the day on the bunny slope.  If I was going to embarrass myself and spend time beating my body into snowbanks, I wanted to have a long run of it. 

My vision was sparkling with the lack of oxygen and the panic of realizing that I had no business going up to the top.  The summit was socked in with clouds and blowing snow.  Visibility of maybe 20 yards at best.  Nathan and I managed to get lost even at the slow pace we were keeping.  He seemed to make his turns so effortlessly, and I was flailing around with my heart maxed out at 185bpm and sweating up a storm.  It turns out my first run down the mountain was on an intermediate blue trail that included sheer looking drop offs and loads of trees and narrow ski paths.  Wild times.

I crashed hard toward the bottom (for the bajillionth time) and bruised my knee.  I was done with the snowboard for the day on the 4th run.  Of course, I have some of my horrible performance on video, but the one part that I am really proud of I don't.  In the last segment of the run, we found the terrain park and some pure powder snow.  I actually hopped up on one of the wooden box slider features and rode it across and followed that up with 3-4 great sweeping turns on the board as I came to the end of the run.  It really felt good, and for 30 seconds, it looked like I knew what I was doing on a snowboard.  There is actually something to snowboarding that could be a blast if I practiced a little more.

At that point, I had eaten enough humble pie though for the day.  I traded in my snowboard for skis so I could ride the whole mountain with the rest of the gang that we had out there.  I planned on swapping back to the board in the morning and spending more time on the bunny slope.  Everyone else in the group was skiing and had been all over the mountain and had great stories of all the places I hadn't been yet.

 Off we went.

The blue trails were amazing and the black diamond trails weren't trails.  These so-called black diamonds were just sheer cliffs inviting a swift and sudden death.  Around us were vast scenes of Flathead valley and Whitefish Lake thousands of feet below, and the sun would glint off the lake and illuminate the clouds that clung to the mountain.  Even on the intermediate blue trails, allegedly gently sloping runs had a tendency to just disappear in front of you.   After a moment, you would realize that the trail didn't end, it just got that steep.  I skied pretty well and felt confident doing it.  I determined it was a great idea to split the day between the board and skis. 

Whitefish lake below on an intermediate slope...

I have written and re-written this post several times now.  Not that it would make any difference to someone reading my stream of consciousness gibberish.  My attempts have gone from Negative to Positive to Pitiful, so I have decided to bail and give you a partial story.  You know... a cliff hanger...where the hero gets away, and the girl, and wins, and all that bull...

Ah, the bitterness...  Time to stop writing again...  It's taken me over a month to get this much together...  I hope you enjoy this blog...

The video is coming soon.  It also took me a month to even think about watching the stuff.  The Timewaster Studios project is close to complete, and it's a positive and fun piece.  I promise to get it up soon.

I'll leave you with the start of the last run of the day.  We had skied all over the mountain and decided make a run as the lifts were closing. 

cue the ominous music... 

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