Best day on a snowboard

by Arlyn on March 11, 2009

I spent all last week with my family in Mammoth Lakes snowboarding, hanging out and generally having one heck of a good time. I managed to get 7 consecutive days on my brand new snowboard which began to feel like I was in a stage race.

So why am I writing about snowboarding on my cycling blog? Well, squint your eyes a little and this’ll sound like just the sort of adventure I have on a bike – and how could I not share?!

Mammoth Mountain

Mammoth Mountain (from space!)

The wind blasted snow at me sideways at 50mph. I hunched down a little farther on the chairlift, bowing my head, trying to avoid the stinging snow. Even with all the layers and fleece, I was freezing. I unloaded the chairlift into a near whiteout. As I buckled my rear foot, I vowed this would be my last run – it was too cold, this was too crazy.

Only the faint outline of a tree line helped guide me back down the mountain. At first, my brain freaked out because I was snowboarding without much visual input. I told my brain to “feel the mountain through my toes” which seemed to help a little. I felt like Luke Skywalker, using “The Force” to see the mountain which made me laugh a little at myself.

Canyon Express

Canyon Express – this is at the bottom of the mountain!

There were not many people on the mountain and most of the ones braving this blizzard were sticking to the narrow swath of groom down the center of the main runs. I was having none of that. I got my speed up as I paralleled a drop off to my left and when I figured I was in the right spot, I cut hard left, dropping down a steep embankment, dropping out of the clouds and leaving the groom behind.

There was three feet of fresh powder on top of 10 feet of packed base. I was in heaven. Suddenly everything got very smooth and very quiet. Turns were made more by thought than action. I was floating down a mogul run except the moguls gone under the powder. Stay right to carve the steepest sections. Nothing is too steep in a meter of powder. Jink hard right at the bottom into the trees and catch a little jump coming out the other side.

Halfway down.

By the time I get to the bottom it’s so good, I’m waving my arms to the music in my head and singing along. I’m no longer cold and my heart if full of nothing but joy and love.

One more run. I text my friends, “I can’t stop, it’s too good.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

uncadan8 March 12, 2009 at 1:39 am

I have really gotten into snowboarding this year. I just wish we had more snow! Most of what I can board on is manufactured and is nowhere near as fun as the real stuff. Sounds like you had a blast, and I can totally identify!

Arlyn March 12, 2009 at 7:41 am

Dan, I stayed on the groom for years and it wasn’t until this trip that I began experimenting with the soft stuff. It took some practice (and some binding adjustment), but I finally got it. Sounds like all you need is a good road trip 🙂

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