Here in Western New York the winters tend to be long and snowy. For those who don’t enjoy winter sports it can be quite dreadful. Before last winter, I was one of those people. I didn’t grow up skiing like many people in Upstate New York, so I really missed out on some of the best winter recreation available. After having ACL reconstruction surgery following injuries in both of my knees, skiing made me very nervous.
For some reason, though, snowboarding always piqued my interest and seemed better-suited for my skills (and clumsiness). The first winter dating my partner, a lifelong skier and ski racer, also happened to be his first winter snowboarding. He was a natural and eventually snowboarding completely replaced skiing as his go-to winter activity. Fast-forward to the 2014-2015 winter ski/snowboard season and he was ready to get me out on the mountain with him.
We purchased a ski club package, offered through Rochester Young Professionals, that provided 12 weeks of Tuesday night twilight lift tickets at nearby Bristol Mountain. Since my partner gets a season pass at Bristol Mountain every year, we agreed to go each Tuesday after work from mid-December to early March.
One of the biggest selling points of this package was that it included a group lesson each night, if desired. I took advantage of this option a couple times and, because I was the only snowboarder interested in a lesson on those nights, the group lessons actually turned into one-on-one lessons with a snowboard instructor. This was incredibly valuable, especially when I was first getting started. My partner was also able to provide helpful tips and instruction, though his patience turned out to be equally as beneficial as his knowledge.
Challenges of my first snowboarding season:
- A collision with a skier who slammed into me from behind, causing severe lower back pain and bruising that lasted for weeks.
- Getting the right equipment and gear – I had never even skied before!
- Trying to master the toe side turn without catching an edge – I fell a lot.
- Getting over my own fear of falling and crashing.
- Getting easily frustrated with myself, and taking it out on my very patient, very loving partner!
Highlights of my first snowboarding season:
- Finally getting my heel side and toe side turns!
- Improving my technique and increasing my confidence.
- Acquiring a few favorite trails. By the end of the season I was most comfortable on blue square trails.
- Getting to experience all types of snow conditions for the first time: fresh powder, packed snow, slush, etc.
- The Morning Star Cafe aka The Waffle Hut. I’m not ashamed of how much I enjoyed this yummy mid-mountain treat!
- Spring snowboarding in 60-degree weather in April!
- Bonding with my partner in a new way that brought us closer than ever.
Check out this highlight reel of my partner’s snowboarding videos from last season:
Overall it was an amazing winter and I learned that my love of the mountains definitely extends to snowboarding as well. I’m already eagerly anticipating the start of the 2015-2016 season – come on, snow!
What’s your favorite winter activity? Share your thoughts in the comments below!