Learning to Fall, or, Rather, Snowboard

When I was in elementary school, I went skiing twice a year starting in grade 6. We had to take lessons or at least prove our mad skillz before we were allowed off the bunny hill and on to the bigger hills. One punch allowed you to graduate from the short bunny hill to the J-bar bunny hill and two punches got you up a chair lift. By mid-morning, I’d be bombing it down the blue-square hill and by the end of the day, I will have at least tried out a black diamond, if only once, and to disastrous results.

I remember being sore the day after skiing. I remember the ache in my legs and abs from being so tense and pushing myself so hard. But I don’t remember bruises. I don’t remember having to roll out of bed because my stomach muscles were so shredded that I couldn’t sit up.

Conclusions? Snowboarding is completely different than skiing.

I will even venture to suggest that snowboarding is harder to learn than skiing. Maybe not harder to master — I mean, in all my 3 years of skiing, I never did move on fully from the snowplow. But when you ski, it’s not difficult to figure out which direction you’re supposed to point your feet, and the turning part mostly comes naturally. Snowboarding, not so much. I had a good teacher — and an attractive one at that — but I still didn’t feel confident on the board by the end of the day. In fact, I peaked good and early, had a great run at around noon and just kept getting more and more frustrated after that. Each fall added to the layers of bruises and my muscles were screaming at me in exhaustion. And by the end of it all, I still couldn’t do the switching thing. Kick out my back leg? What? Whatever. Fall.

I know all of this sounds very negative about the whole experience. Actually, I’m feeling the exact opposite. When I settled myself on the couch after making Hamburger Helper for supper, I pulled up Kijiji and started browsing boards for sale. Why? I was sore. I was bruised. I was looking forward to an uncomfortable sleep of tossing and turning and trying to find a position that avoided all my tender bits. But despite all that, I felt good. Instead of sitting like a bump on the couch for yet another Saturday, I had done something, something active, for the first time in weeks. It was hard, but it didn’t seem impossible. I need to be patient, and I need to learn. But most of all, I need to learn to be bold. I need to step outside of my comfort zone and let myself slide. I need to point my board down the hill and not be afraid to go fast. I need more snowboarding in my life.

In retrospect, I wonder if my ability to pick up skiing as a child had a lot less to do with the difficulty of the activity and more to do with the mindset of my 11-year-old self. I used to be less afraid.

It’s high time I remind myself that we are not meant to be afraid and, when we’re bold, we can do so much.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—  and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Hebrews 2:14-15

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18



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4 responses to “Learning to Fall, or, Rather, Snowboard

  1. Rivikah

    My experience with skiing and snowboarding is almost exactly the opposite of this.

    In all the times we went school skiing, I never managed to get the second punch. It was frustrating and boring.

    But snowboarding…I had a really good time. Yeah, I spent the first…I don’t know…Half hour or so standing still trying to figure out how to move with my feet stuck together. But after that? Maybe it’s because we had such nice soft snow that day. It was all like “Feel out of control? Just sit down!”

    • I could maybe see that, actually… falling is easier on a snowboard. I remember I would regularly lose my skis in the middle of a hill and have a terrible time trying to get them back. For that reason alone, I can’t see myself going back to skiing even if I’m not picking up snowboarding particularly fast.

  2. I tried snowboarding for the first time over new years… I fell A LOT and my neck was SO sore then next day. I am still unsure whether I would prefer to snowboard or ski. I just feel a lot more comfortable on skis but snowboarding is an extra bit of challenging. I think with a snowboard I have a lot of fear just because I cannot control it well, when I learned to ski I don’t remember being so scared, like you said, I think it has more to do with being older.

    • Challenging is right. I guess anything completely new would be challenging. I wonder, though, if I were to have tried skiing again after almost 10 years if it would have really been any different of an experience.

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