I’ve been skiing since I was just about 10 years old. From age 13 to 16, my parents signed me up for “Mogul Ski Club” each winter, and would drop me off at a Denny’s restaurant at 5am on Saturday where a bus would come and pick up “mogul kids” and take us to Squaw Valley to ski for the day, and sometimes the weekend. I loved it and as a “Jack of all sports, master of none”, I would say skiing is one of my stronger sports. I can ski any run, love the sport and try and log in between 14-21 days on the slopes in a year.
This weekend my family and I went to our place in Mammoth Mountain, and I skied the lower mountain, while my son snowboarded. He’s 11, and really only started snowboarding this Christmas, although he’s skied since he was 3.5, and he’s coming along really well. Watching my son shred up the slopes, having a blast was great, but skiing all of the lower mountain runs was a bit boring. So day two, I decided to go for it and join him. I have good balance, have surfed since I was 16 (although not as often now as I would want), but snowboarding on a pretty icy mountain was a bit daunting at first. Is this really a sport that should be taken on in your forties?
First run of the day, I came off the lift, secured my back foot and started to navigate the mountain, following my son. I was tense, working way too hard, and felt pretty awkward. A run that might take me 5 minutes on skis, was taking about 3x longer. Although awkward, I was “doing it.” About half way down, just as my speed picked up, I hit an icy patch as I was transitioning to the heel side of my board, caught an edge and went down. My torso slammed into the unforgiving ice, and as the wind left my longs with a primitive thud it felt like I took a strong shot to the ribs from Anderson “Spider” Silva. “You’ve got to be kidding me!?”, I thought to myself. I picked myself up, took a few deep breaths to ensure I didn’t crack a rib, tried to remain composed and started again. I would be lying if I didn’t say that for a few minutes I wondered if perhaps snowboarding wasn’t for me, because I’m so darn comfortable on skies, and popping them on would be a lot easier and safer. However, I channeled my inner tough mudder and stuck it out.
About three runs later, I finally stopped thinking, my body relaxed, everything became a bit easier and I started having a blast. My son and I were zipping by each other, “high fiving”, pointing out bumps and jumps and were having a really great time. We snowboarded for over 6 hours and I had to have taken 30 plus runs. I’m so glad I didn’t let the very first run set the tone for my day, because it was one of the best days I’ve ever had with my son.
My ribs still hurt, but luckily nothing that I’ll have to deal with from an injury standpoint. In addition, because snowboarding is new to me, I worked very different muscles and my core and legs are really sore today – – in a good way.
Should someone in their forties take up snowboarding? Absolutely. As I’ve said before, don’t let age define what you can or can’t do from a recreational perspective. I’m still going to ski, but love being able to change things up from time-to-time and adding a new sport to the mix is a welcome thing.
Small steps add up!!!