Growing up in the Midwest has its positives and negatives if you’re into adventure sports. One huge positive is that the cost of living here is super cheap so you can afford to travel to other parts of the country. This also means that you have more money to buy high-quality gear for when you go. Unfortunately, the terrain here pales in comparison to the Rocky Mountains of the West or the Appalachian Mountains of the East. Because of the fact that I didn’t grow up with epic mountain terrain in my backyard, snowboarding wasn’t really on my radar for the better part of my youth. In fact, it wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I strapped into some bindings and took the mountain (more like glorified hill) for the first time.
I vividly remember my first snowboarding experience. I was on a high school church retreat to northern Michigan which included a day dedicated to skiing and snowboarding. At that point, I had been skateboarding for about 6 years and assumed that my abilities on a skateboard would translate into talent on a snowboard. So in blissful ignorance I bombed my way down the slopes, never turning, just putting my hands down if I felt like I needed to slow down. It wasn’t pretty, but I had a reasonably good time. Michigan snowboarding is pretty tame and forgiving, so you don’t need to have much in the way of talent to get by. Unfortunately, what little talent I did have wasn’t enough as my first snowboarding experience ended with a bone crushing slam on a ski jump (but that’s a story for another day).
A year later, my family and I took a winter trip out to visit my grandfather in Vermont. While we were there, I once again had the opportunity to do a little snowboarding. Having a vivid recollection of how my last experience ended, I opted to take a lesson from a professional to learn proper riding techniques. An hour of sacrifice and patience translated into more fun and satisfaction later on in the day. By noon, I had hit my groove and was slowly but surely developing a passion for boarding.
Since that time I’ve added Vail, Colorado to my list of snowboarding experiences and have even invested into some of my own equipment. (Thanks for the boots Mom!) But, the important thing is that my passion for snowboarding is in full bloom. I’m sure that some of you reading this have similar stories; not just with snowboarding but maybe with skiing as well. Others of you might be sitting there shivering at the thought of being out on a snowy mountain all day long. Needless to say, I wholeheartedly think that everyone who has a chance to take up snowboarding or skiing should do so because it truly is a rush.