As I become a more tough runner and more accustomed to running in all-weather, my winters have become a battle between running and snowboarding.
It’s actually really hard for me to stick to a training plan when I have plenty of opportunities to go snowboarding…and at the beginning of this winter season when I had minimal work hours and thus, I hit the slopes more often than running…and we all know what happened from there…I injured my knee and had to cancel the second marathon I was training for.
But in all fairness, snowboarding is a great endurance activity!
But please don’t ever ask me to choose between snowboarding and running. I’m not sure what I would pick. I would be an emotional wreck! I’m just luckily that there is different, distinct seasons and I can enjoy them both.
Since this is one of the main things I like to do during the winter, and it is fitness related, I decided I’d like to do a Snowboarding Series (with a little bit of skiing included). I’d like to include my history with the sports, how they came to be, how to get involved in snow sports, and finally, exercises to keep the avid snowboarder or skier fit and injury free! It may be March and all the one-time-a-year, poser snowboarders may be done, there’s still plenty of the season left! In fact, we have snow at places like A-Basin all the way into July some years, where you can find girls in bikini’s hitting the slopes. (no, I have not done that….yet!)
Actually, I’m heading up to Loveland Resort this weekend for the New Belgium Scavenger Hunt!
You can expect to see:
Part I – My Love of the Sport (right now!)
Part II – The History of the Sport”
Part III – “Ok, I want to try it, what do I do?!”
Part IV – Staying in Shape to Hit the Slopes
… Now, to get right to it, I’d like to tell you my history with the sport(s). Before you get too excited, no, I’m not very good at all! I just really, really, really enjoy being on the mountains and carving my way to the bottom. It’s excellent exercise and at the same time very relaxing. Not to mention, the views are always breathtaking from the summit! It’s hands down the best way to enjoy the mountains and outdoors during the winter, in my opinion at least! Although, I’ve never actually been snow shoeing or snowmobiling before…
Back when I was a kid, I used to ski! Surprise, surprise I know! It’s pretty shocking, considering how much I love snowboarding and how much they are rivals. Yes, I was a skier as a kid. Although, we only got to go every once in a while. I remember taking skiing lessons (can you say “french fries…pizza”… skiing joke) at a resort that I can’t even remember the name of! I honestly think they changed their name as well!
But one day, and I literally remember thinking this, I just didn’t want to ski any more. I have no idea why, I just didn’t want to go skiing. And it wasn’t that I wanted to snowboard instead, I just didn’t want to participate in winter sports I guess. I’m not sure if it was due to my Mom getting a skiing injury or if just none of my friends were interested. Who knows! Kids are silly!
Then finally, when I was in high school, I decided I wanted to try a winter sport again and took a snowboarding lesson at one of the closest resorts: Eldora, just west of Boulder, CO. It was considered the “cooler” of the two sports and I took only three separate lessons throughout high school. With so much time in between visits to the slopes, I never felt confident in just renting equipment and hitting the hills, so I just took lessons each time.
I really enjoyed it, but it was hard to master and get good enough to feel comfortable. Due to the expenses, I never pursued going all that often, but it was always in the back of my mind.
One summer while I was still high school age, at an annual snowboarding sale, I bought a board for about 50 bucks but no additional equipment like boots or bindings, figuring I would have money later. That board sat in my closest for my 5 years of college until I finally decided to get back at it in 2010.
At the time, I was dating a guy that was really into snowboarding and he talked me into getting geared up and buying a season pass with the promise of being patient and teaching me.
True to his word, with a few visits up to Keystone, I could call myself a snowboarder! But it wasn’t easy! I remember having the hardest time just simply standing up on the board! I was a fairly fit person then, but it takes a whole different coordination of muscles, mostly core, to simply stand up! I constantly had to have him pry me up before I could even attempt to actually go down the mountain only to fall shortly after and repeat the whole process.
As the story goes, that relationship ended, but I still continued to board. I have bought a season pass every year since and have continued to get better and better. Every year I have awesome boarding buddies to go with.
I remember the following year, I was boarding with some friends, and even though they were patient and willing to wait and teach me more, I was not dating them, so I couldn’t rely on them as heavily to literally help me up. You know how that goes! The first time back on the mountain of the 2011/2012 season, I was terrified I would embarrass myself by not even being able to stand up….but I was in even better physical shape that year and surprised myself. That was a pretty rewarding experience – just simply standing!
Every season, I began to improve and work on more and more difficult things with the help of my wonderful friends (and maybe some liquid courage). That 2011/2012 season I moved on to blue (intermediate) runs from the green (beginner) runs of the previous year. In the 2012/2013 season, I finally made it to a Black Diamond (the advanced level, most difficult) run for the first time! It wasn’t pretty, but I did it! I also worked on getting more fluid “s” turns (for the non-boarders, a “S” turn is just literally turns back and forth down the mountain without leveling off and coming to a stop).
Which brings us to the 2013/2014 season on the slopes! This season has been amazing! We finally got dumped on with snow in the mountains from being pretty barren the last couple years and I’m moving on to even more difficult, yet fun, terrain and runs!
With the help of an excellent teacher ( 😉 the boy..who actually used to teach snowboarding at Breckenridge!), I have improved tremendously this season! It’s been a blast!
This season is also the first time I have be able to witness and watch live snowboarding competitions as well. In the past, I’ve just watched them X-Games or Olympics on TV. This year I’ve been to the Dew Tour and the Burton US Open! It’s pretty amazing to see professional athletes right up close. While I was working during the US open, I was up taking pictures in the terrain park which was the way the athletes had to go to get to the half-pipe and the slope style course. So they would cruise through multiple times! I saw so many pro-riders! Then even after they were done with their competition, I saw many just having fun and cruising around the park features with friends. Shows a pure love of a sport!
I met Danny Davis (an olympic rider) that weekend and recently realized I had met him when I was in Breckenridge for the Dew Tour as well at an autograph signing! Both interactions were very pleasant; he’s a very nice guy, and not at all rude like a lot of celebrities get!
Your Turn: Who enjoys snowboarding? Who skis? Why do you enjoy it? If not, would you ever try it?
ALSO: Check out my last post for a discount for the Prairie Dog Half on April 13th in Arvada, CO!!!!