So if by now you haven't noticed, I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, where you don't
see or hear think of snow. There was once a Nokia phone with a snowboarding game but that's about as much exposure as I had previously had to snow. Now that I live in Canada though, it is either embrace or despise it. It had taken too long for me to get into winter sports but this weekend I decided it was time, after all better late than never.
There are a bunch of things that go into winter sports. First, you pick which sport; mine is snowboarding. (Thanks Nokia) Then you pick a favourable location; for those close to the Capital Region (Camp fortune, Calabogie & Mont Tremblant), they all have bunny slopes for beginners. Then to get your gear; if like me, you can't quite commit to buying gear outright, ski resorts offer rental services for the equipment.
I'm still not sure what got into to me to willfully decide to drive an hour away from my bed on the morning of Saturday FEB 20. I left my bed for this. MY. BED.
Anyway, I got to Calabogie excited to snowboard with the blissful ignorance of a toddler, I had no idea what I was in for. Obviously I am the only one of my skin palette at the peaks but everyone is almost more excited for me than I am for my self. I notice the glances my way and I take the smiles on their faces as warm welcome from fellow Canadians, happy to share their beloved winter sports with me.
My friend, Alex, had agreed to be my sensei, Mr Miyagi in my journey through the desert frost and I was the young grasshopper. He was very gracious and patient with me through the entire process. I'm not sure which was more fun for him, watching me fall countless times or laughing at how unique each fall was. Either way, I'm glad he had fun too, teaching is tough.
Lesson One: Sit down
At this juncture I need to stress how much sitting on your butt in the snow is involved with snowboarding, especially for a beginner.
Any time you need to strap in, bless the snow with your cheeks.
Can't control your speed? Please be seated.
Want to take off the board? Have a seat.
About to fall? Chair.
Obstacle in your way? Sofa.
Can't get back up? Couch.
Lesson Two: Strap in.
You would think tying your boots to a piece of wood with straps is easy (it is), but until you figure it out, it is actually such a pain. There is a special buckle, the like I've never seen before that holds the straps in place. I thought I was an engineer and I went to school, but clearly all I learned was a fairytale and useless in winter. I spent a good 30 minutes figuring out how the levers and buckles on the board worked. Mr Miyagi just sat there laughing while I struggled.
Lesson Three: Stand up. No Seriously, Stand up.
A snowboard is literally a smooth piece of wood that slides over snow, no brakes or nothing. This means that standing up is going to be a b... bit tough. I did not know how much friction standing upright required till then. Physics class was not a lie nor a complete waste of time. At a point a younger girl had to help me up, I was just happy none of that could be caught on camera. Thank God.
Fall A lot Brake & Move
At this point, Mr Miyagi said something about how moving your heels and spreading the weight in your feet & knees did stuff to the movement of the board. I listened when he said it, I really did, I just don't think my body could understand that though. I was just falling left, right and center. I stuck with it and kept trying. Eventually, I made a few slow trips down the hill without falling. I am now an expert of falling with a snowboard, perhaps knowing all the ways to fall can help avoid such in the future.
Lesson Five: Realize your butt is on fire.
Please See Lesson one.