Tip of the Week

Roll with the punches! Life is gonna smack you right in the face when you don't expect it. If you're head's on straight, you're certainly gonna handle it just fine. Roll with it. Complain a little bit, and let it go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Watson Wednesday: Oh, Colorado (Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains)

Goal Number Four: I will snowboard six times.

{If you’ve been paying attention you will notice that I skipped number three. Well diligent reader, I’m going to hold off my third goal (losing 6 pounds by my birthday, April 12) since it's only March. Instead I’m going to tackle and destroy goal numero quatro.}

I’m from Colorado. This large rectangular state is home to, among other things, 1) people who think it’s appropriate to drive 50mph in the fast lane 2) the Denver Broncos 3) Chipotle 4) and some of the best ski resorts in the country. In my childhood years I was forced to reverently observe this regional ritual of skiing. My mom (who moved West for the mountains) enrolled me in skiing lessons at an early age. Every weekend we would wake up early, get dressed in the appropriate garb, and drive the hour or so to the ski resort with the expectation that I would come to love the sacrament of snowy downhill slipping and sliding. These lessons were meant to instruct me in the culture of my people and make me a more assimilated Coloradan, but mostly they functioned to free my mother from the burden of an uncoordinated six year old while she enjoyed runs on her own.

Of course, with most things of this nature, I grew up and started to resent the whole event. I didn’t want to get up early, dress up like a marshmallow, and strap sticks to my feet just so I could slip down a hill and play “Don’t hit the tree or the tourist.” Arguments ensued and eventually we stopped going.

*Zip Zap!*
Fast Forward

During my junior year of high school, my mom and I were invited by family friends to spend New Year’s at their ski condo in British Columbia. We arrived in a blizzard and a proverbial winter wonderland of skiing, boarding, and the most incredible snow you can imagine. I had face planted into the Mecca of winter sports and the pilgrims who sought it out. The enthusiasm of the environment was contagious. I woke up early, battled my ski boots onto my feet (if you’ve ever worn ski boots you will understand this), clipped into my skis, and hit the mountain. As luck would have it I hit a mountain that hit back. Punch after punch sent me skidding and slipping all over the sloping battlefield and try as I might I could not reclaim the skiing glory long since lost to my youth. It was in this moment of turmoil and despair that I was converted.

As I dislodged myself from the upteenth snowbank of the day, a snowboarder went gracefully racing past. Snowboarders (for those of you not familiar with winter sports) are the vulgar, hip, and much hotter arch enemy of any two stick sporting skiier. This particular boarder was a wonder to my goggled eyes and so I resolved to ask my mom if I could trade in my chunky boots and skiis for snowboarding equipment. My mom agreed. The next day I went out with two other girls, put my new boots on, and stepped into the bindings. I felt like a champ, I could do anything, I could be anyone. Look out world! After this brief moment of ecstasy I spent half the day toe heeling down the bunny hill and the other half on my back side. Clearly the ease that I had seen in the more experienced boarder came after years of practice. I was on day one. But don’t despair! By day two I could turn (then I would fall, get up, get going, turn, and fall again.) By day three I could link two turns. By day four I was so sore I couldn’t move.

This was the beginning. I came back to Colorado and was so excited by this new activity that I started going up every weekend with friends. Even when I was at school in Ohio I would devote at least two days of my winter break to boarding. Now I’m the one who asks my mom to go to the mountains. Why? because there is nothing like it. You never know who will cut in front of you, or where a jump will be, or which edge could send you tumbling; every turn is new. You can’t anticipate anything; you are alive in every moment. No other sensation compares to turning on a snowboard, being on a mountain, knowing that if you ride harder you’ll get better and faster. The faster you go the closer you get to flying.

Your Wicked Workout Partner,
L. Watson

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