Learning Humility In Snowboarding
Beep, Beep, Beep! The sound of an alarm waking me up, feels like a bad headache to where you can feel your heart beat in your head. I know this morning is a cold one, as I see my breath exhale in my room as I lie awake in my bed.
Slowly and hesitantly I roll out of bed and look out the window to see new fallen snow that covers everything in sight. As I stare at the snow, I feel my body start to warm, I feel my headache going away, and I feel a smile growing on my face for the realization that today is a Snowboarding day!
That year in high school I got on the honor roll, which won me a free season pass to the Canyons Ski Resort. At this point in my life I've only been snowboarding for a few seasons, but I was very excited to better myself and become a professional snowboarder.
My friend and I planned to go to the Canyons Ski Resort that day. We woke up early, got dressed, ate, and got our things into the car. We were of young age so we didn't have driver’s licenses, so my friend's dad did us the favor and took us up the canyon. As we drove up the canyon and looked at all the snow that had fallen on the roads, streets, trees, we couldn't help but think of how much better the resort was going to be. My friend and I just spoke of all the things we were going to try to do and how much fun this day was going to be.
After an hour of driving (which felt like a six hour ride because we were so excited), we got to the parking lot of the Canyon’s Ski Resort. We sat there in the car just amazed at all the snow that was piled so high. We gawked at the lifts that were so tall that it seemed as if it was going to take you out of the atmosphere. We just sat there with a smile on our faces, until my friend's dad woke us up by saying: "Hey! Get out of the car; I have to go to work!" We got out and made our way to the ticket booth.
Since we had season passes, we just had to go get our picture taken, get our cards and get on the lift. I felt like a little kid on Christmas day looking at all his presents in a pile before he opened them. The mountains were magnificent, the lifts were spectacular, and I was just about to start my journey up the mountain. Our first lift that we got on was called the Gondola. It's an eight-seater box that you ride to get up to the second base of the resort. The views were amazing and I wished at that moment I could freeze time and live that day everyday for the rest of my life.
We finally reached the top of the Gondola; the sun was bright and warm. We got out and got our boards. We walked several yards in amazement in the beauty of the resort, then we threw our boards down and strapped in. We quickly slid to the lift line of... The Bunny Hill!
As we stood in line our knees shook in nervousness as we saw that it was our turn to get on the chair. We skated up to the line and watched as our chair approached; it was a four-seater with alloy steel and excellent padding. It came around and scooped us up and away we went. It was a windless, warm day, with blue skies.
I was feeling really good and excited to see what I could accomplish on my board that day, or rather new things I could try to do. We got off the lift and made our way skating towards the side of the lift, so that we could strap in. We sat down and strapped in as fast as we could, then down the hill we went.
On the way down I noticed a little lump of snow that was kind of off to the side, I went for it and... I caught a few inches of air! "Dang! I'm good" I said to myself after I landed and made my way to catch up to my friend. At that point I made a goal to see how much air I would be capable of getting that day! When I caught up to my friend I quickly made it known to him that I was almost pro and that I just nailed an awesome jump! He was then curious to see me do it again.
We made our way up the lift once more, and again skated to the side to strap in.
Once we were strapped, I lead the way as my friend followed. I started approaching the lump of snow when suddenly I noticed a bigger mound a little bit further ahead, so I went for the big mound. (Since I was already pro) I focused on it and hit it with some speed, I was airborne, and even though I only caught about a foot or two of air, it felt like I was flying for a while. I came down and with a little bit of a struggle I made the landing. My friend was all amazed as he said "Dang, that was awesome, you're so cool" and I thought, “yeah, he’s right, I am cool!”
So as you can imagine, throughout the day my head began to grow in size. My friend and I stayed at the bunny hill for a few hours and I just went off any jump I could, just to see how much air I could get. At the bunny hill all the jumps are for that level of riders, but of course I was professional so I figured it was time that I moved up in the world of riding. The Blue Runs!
During lunch my friend and I decided that if we wanted to get better in our riding, we were going to have to take it up a notch. We had so much potential that we couldn't let it go to waste. After lunch we headed to a high speed quad lift that would take us to the blue runs; we couldn’t believe how long it took to get up to the top. We were excited at the realization that it was going to be a long ride down. We got to the top of the lift, got off and strapped in. It was amazing to see the scenery from that altitude! The air was crisp, the wind was mild, and the adrenaline was racing through our bodies from the excitement to explore the mountains on our snowboards.
Swoosh! The board cuts into the snow like a hot knife on butter, I took a side trail through the trees into the powder. My board floats through the snow like clouds on a blue summers' day. My friend and I make it to the bottom of the mountain in the speed that we never knew was possible for us. We went up and rode down the same trail many times, until we decided that we were ready for something more challenging. The Black Diamonds!
After finishing the last run on the blue trails, my friend and I made our way to the black diamond. We got to the lift called Tombstone Express to advance ourselves! I believe it's called Tombstone for a reason! It was magnificent! It was one of the biggest lift in the resort. We got on the lift and nervously rode to the top. The lift was so high that it seemed to clear the clouds, and the terrain was so steep, that we started to doubt our ability to get down the mountain on our boards and not on our butts.
We got off the lift and made our way to the side of the run to strap in and settle our nerves. Once we were ready, we made our way down the left side and came around a bend. As we came around the bend I saw one of the most beautiful things in my life! It was a double diamond jump that had amazing orange ropes marking it off, so you know where to hit it. It was huge! Once I saw it, I felt a sense of excitement running through my veins and the nervousness I felt disappeared. I stopped at the top of the hill right above the jump in amazement at the amount of air I could catch. I watch others go off the jump and catch the air I dreamed of.
It was time! I told my friend that that jump had my name on it, and I was going to catch the air of the year off that jump! I jumped and angled my board down the mountain. I gained speed quickly as I approached the jump, I didn't even care to slow down as the jump came closer for that would mean less air. I got to the base of the jump and to my surprise the lip of the jump was like a wall! It went straight up and the height of it was about ten feet! I got scared, leaned back, and because I had most of my weight on the back of my board, it threw my feet over my head as my body climbed to about the height of the trees. I was upside down flying in the air!
I was petrified! I couldn't move, I thought for sure I was going to be paralyzed! It felt like I waited for an eternity for me to hit the ground. I came down on my neck and rolled down the mountain several yards. After I stopped rolling, I opened my eyes and quickly tried to feel where the pain was going to come from, but to my surprise I didn't feel any. I started to move a little bit to see if that was going to help the pain flow better to my nerves, but nothing. My friend and several people came to see whether or not I was alive. I got up and to my surprise I was uninjured.
I couldn’t believe that I was ok; my friend even commented that he thought I was a goner on that one. The risks were great and the consequences could have been disastrous. I could've lost my life or became paralyzed. I didn't realize the consequences before because of all the excitement catching air was going to be. I hit the jump blindly thinking that it was going to be like the other jumps I hit that day. It never occurred to me that that jump was out of my league, since my confidence was so up there.
At the time I felt that my actions were going to bring me to a satisfaction of flying through the air just like I've seen the pro's do so easily before in the movies. That was a big NOPE!
Today I’m happy to announce that I walk around with a good level of humility and gratitude that I had no injury. But just because you fail, doesn’t mean it can’t get better. I improved over the years and ended up becoming a Snowboard Instructor at the Canyons Ski Resort.