Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Snowboarding: Not Like Surfing

At least that's how I felt after last weekend at Mt. Hood Meadows, where I spent a few hours tearing up the bunny hill -- literally tearing holes in it with my ass, my knees, my elbows, and my wrists.

I had snowboarded twice before this on my home "stash" at Mt. Ashland and actually made some progress, going from their beginner run one day to some blue runs the next. But that was 5 years ago, before I started surfing again. It seems like my learning curve made a serious bear descent as a result of the new skills I've picked up in the ocean. Here are the biggest differences between surfing and snowboarding:

1. You can't move your feet.
2. The snow-covered ground hurts.
3. It takes forever to get your boots strapped in.
4. Most of the time, your knees are being tweaked at awkward angles.
5. You can slide sideways pretty fast down a steep hill (until you catch an edge).
6. You can actually slide backwards down the steep hill before crashing too.
7. It is a real bitch to stand back up after you fall.
8. If you "just go straight" you go faster than on a wave.
9. There are big poles, trees, and little children on tiny skis in your way.
10. You need to clip your toenails before wearing the boots.
11. Goggles really squeeze the bridge of your nose, which can hurt if it's broken.
12. People can easily push you down.
13. It takes longer to get to the mountain than to the beach.
14. On a positive note, there is nice music playing all the time and beer close by.

Don't get me wrong, it was such a fantastic day on the mountain. It was alternately sunny and snowing every couple of minutes and the air was so clean it was like sinus rejuvination with every breath. My wife absolutely loved it and she proceeded to show me up in her ability to connect turns and keep herself under control (i.e. going at a snail's pace down the hill with perfect form).

I'd like to thank the following people for making it possible: O.S. for the day passes he gave to us for Christmas (we just barely squeezed it in before the mountain closed!) and Kato and Roomy for lending me gear and a board (pictured) which several people offered to buy off of me - one even offered to trade a new CI surfboard for it.

Today I'm taking my aching arms surfing.

Bonnie "Prince" Billy "A Minor Place"


OS said...

Glad to see you finally made it up to the mountain.

One question: what's colder, snowboarding in Oregon or surfing in Oregon?

Chum said...

I would have to say that surfing is colder, but only after 3 hours in water >50 degrees and during the quick change back into street clothes.

foul pete said...

Dude you went snowbrewcing? Hope to see you doing something sensible, like surfing, asap.

Chum said...

Haha. Went surfing Tuesday and had a great time. Didn't bring a camera, but it was pretty much a perfect spring day. See you out there this weekend?

TedZSurfer said...

learning to board is a bitch, especially if the snow is packed. But once you get it and stop falling so much, the getting back up is not so much of a concern. The comment on your knees makes me wonder if you need someone to check out the angles on your bindings.

Once you get to intermediate level and hit your first fresh powder day, look out - it is unreal. You stay back on your rear foot to keep the nose from pearling and it is just like surfing. You can fly down black runs with abandon knowing that falling in a foot or so of powder does not hurt. You live so close, stick with it. I think it actually helped my surfing.

Chum said...

Thanks for the the words of encouragement, Ted. You make it sound more appealing. God knows J.Lopez found something he liked about the sport, and now he's a fellow Oregonian.

Chum said...

I mean G-Lo.

TedZSurfer said...

Oregon must have some good snow because I could never understand why a guy who can ride pipe and probably be given any wave he wants would ever leave Hawaii.

Tahoe isn't known for great snow so the times I got great powder were few. But it was enough for me to understand why so many people are gung ho and live the snowboarder lifestyle in other areas.

Diane said...

Just me, enduring more descriptions of your endless injuries. I guess you are making up for all those years I spent protecting you. Can't blame you. Life growing up must have been such a bore.

tokyo rooftops/kato said...

glad the board worked out. maybe it is worth trading up. i hope you knocked over any kids who got in your way while you were tearing up the bunny hill. ow!

Anonymous said...

Jeez man, you seem pretty negative about snowboarding.