I’m in Vermont to go snowboarding at Killington. It’s the third year that I’ve made the trip with my frat bros (yeah, you heard me, I was in a fraternity).
I actually didn’t start snowboarding until I was twenty-three years old. I skied growing up. I remember in middle school that lift tickets left on your jacket for school on Monday seemed like a status symbol. I was the only person in my family to be remotely interested in skiing, though.
My mother was painfully unathletic and my father wasn’t the most agile guy. So, when ski season came around, I did ski club at school, eventually coming to enjoy the charter bus on Saturday evenings. I would put my cassette of Van Halen’s 1984 in my Walkman and doze off before getting picked up in the cold in the parking lot of my high school. I left my lift ticket from Swain on my jacket for Monday.
One year I got my own skis. In August. August was when ski stores sold all of the equipment from the previous season to make room for the new inventory for the upcoming season. It felt like a big deal. They weren’t the really nice ones like Rossignol or Volkl, they were Harts, I believe. But they were mine.
College came around and I didn’t have time for skiing. I left my skis in the basement to collect dust.
Then, at my first dot com job, we organized a company ski trip to Vermont. I hadn’t skied in five years and I thought, I’d like to try snowboarding.
At the time, this was a dumb idea. Our company was growing and we would have a few new hires every Monday. First, it was Gerry, a front end developer like me. He came in with a brace on his wrist.
“Oh, I tried snowboarding for the first time and broke my wrist.”
The next week a new biz dev person came in with a brace on her wrist.
“Oh, I tried snowboarding for the first time this past weekend. Broke my wrist.”
Then a new producer came in on crutches with a knee brace.
“Oh, I tried snowboarding for the first time over the weekend and I impaled my leg on a tree branch.”
Impaled her leg on a tree branch.
Three of us tried anyway. It was me, a developer named Marc and a copywriter named Abby (I totally don’t remember but that’s what I’m going with). We had a lesson with a great instructor with an unintentionally great sense of humor. He would tell us a bad joke, no one would laugh, then he would wait a beat and say, “That was a joke.”
His delivery of, “That was a joke,” was hilarious. But I digress.
I actually picked it up pretty well. A lot of people say it’s difficult but I felt good once I got my turns down on a green circle trail. I was surprised as I am my parents’ son (not particularly athletic). I would be at the bottom of the hill and look back up and see Marc gingerly coming down the hill with his knees bent and his arms out, like he was walking on a tight rope. We lost track of Abby. We would catch up with her later. She would have a cast on her hand.
“Sorry, guys, I broke my wrist.”
Since then I’ve been a snowboarder. I try to get away a couple of times a year, if I’m lucky. I went to Hunter Mountain a few weeks ago and it was icy as hell. It’s sure to be icy at Killington tomorrow, too.
The kids in middle school who would flaunt their lift tickets always used to say things like, “Have you been out west? I went to Vail with my family, it’s so much better out there.” But I’m a northeast snowboarder. Bring on the scrape of board on ice.