Friday, December 31, 2010

snowboarding .

So I went to Camelback Ski Resort today, which I have dubbed my home mountain. All I can say is what a perfect day for it. 40 degrees in temperature, fresh powder on the slopes, sunny day; the only thing that was detrimental to the day was the fact that there were a ton of people there. The drive up went smoothly despite one bottleneck from an accident. All in all, it was a great way to sort of finish out the break [I'm leaving for Clemson on Tuesday].

Snowboarding has got to be one of my favorite things to do, and even though it's so expensive, I'm pretty much willing to run my bank account dry if I can get myself out on the slopes. It is certainly nice to have my own gear so that I don't need to rent from the mountain because Lord knows that is redonkulously expensive.

Today was particularly a good day in general. Although the lift lines are long, coming down the slope makes it all worth it.

You stand at the top of the slope. You pensively plan your route down, looking for the powder and making note of the patches of ice. You can see the entire bottom of the mountain, and the land as it yawns out toward the far away mountains. The interstate bustles beyond the edge of the resort, but from here the cars look like they're barely moving, and everything looks miniature. A rainbow of dots pepper the snow in front of the lodge, as if they are pixels in a video. You inhale the cold mountain air, and it's as fresh as can be, but it burns as it enters your lungs from the frigidity. You exhale, and listen to the air rush out of your mouth, and see the foggy steam as you take another deep breath.

You've planned your line. You check your bindings one last time, slamming them tight. You bring your bandanna up over your face and your goggles down over your eyes, as the sky turns from a rich blue to a tinted auburn from the shade of the lens. And all of a sudden ...

You're off! You drop in, rapidly picking up speed, slam to heelside and a cloud of white powder sprays up but you're not done yet and you turn back to toeside and the air still burns as you're breathing fast now and your heart's racing and you're legs shake as they absorb the shock from the snow and you see it coming in front of you, the perfect place for liftoff, and you're still flying down the hill cutting less now building speed -- all noise is silent and time stops still as you hit the jump perfectly and sail through the sky, floating magically through the air. You enjoy this moment as you reach down to grip the sharp edge of your board, executing a perfect indy... but this moment is short-lived--

THUD. You stomp down the board back to the snow and the swishing and sliding resumes as you're back the races and carving smoothly down the hill as the wind begins to make your eyes tear and you can feel the burns in your legs from your muscles working. Your jacket seems to be holding you back you're moving so fast and the people you weave your way through begin to blur and suddenly ----- it's over. You see the bottom of the slope, the crowded lift lines, the noisy skiers and riders. And that sacred peace from riding is broken, but you know that it is attainable, waiting for you to capture it again on the next run down.

And that's the way it is for me. That experience never gets old, and it's an indescribable feeling. I have a list of places I eventually want to board -- I've been stuck on the east coast for now, riding in North Jersey or Pennsylvania. I have ridden Vermont once for 2 days, and loved it. Bigger mountains, more challenging trails, and despite the cold, some of the most fun riding I could ever do. But I also want to be sure to hit the west: Colorado, Utah, Nevada. And then of course there's Alaska, the backcountry and the big mountain riding. And of course Canada as well, in addition to the Alps and other various places in Europe. It's going to be a ridiculous amount of money, but it will be so worth it. There are gorgeous sites to see, fresh powder to ride, and jumps to fly off of. Honestly, I can. not. wait.

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