Snowboarding uplifts my spirits. To me, there is nothing better than strapping on my board at the top of a mountain, looking for some powder and then shredding down. I have only been out on my board twice since my first daughter was born. Once about 6 months after she was born and once when I was pregnant with my second. Since having kids, it has not been easy to make the time for a mountain ride. On December 28, snowboarding uplifted my spirits in a way that I’ve never experienced before. This time it wasn’t the feel of the board beneath my own feet that made my heart swell; instead, it was the sight of my oldest daughter with a snowboard fastened to her tiny boots for the first time that pumped me up. Times like this have made me realize that there is nothing better than sharing what you love with your kids.
I fell in love with snowboarding when I was in grade 6. I went one time and was immediately hooked. My parents, who had very little money at the time, somehow managed to surprise me with a basic snowboard package for Christmas. There was another obstacle to my dream of being a snowboard bum though…I grew up in Saskatchewan, which must be one of the flattest places on earth! Fortunately, there had to have been others like me in the good ol’ Canadian prairies, because somewhere along the way a giant mound of garbage had been converted into “Blackstrap” – a downhill ski and snowboarding hill. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! My older sister and I would drive out every weekend, rocking out to AC/DC. We called the hill “the pimple”, as it literally looked like a pimple amongst the smooth prairie lands of Saskatchewan.
I could get down that hill in 9 seconds flat. Each time, those would be the best 9 seconds of my week.
The hill was unique. At the very top when you got off the chair lift the icy steep ramp would have you flying towards a mini ‘cliff’ side that you would have to manoeuver away from to go down the hill instead. Besides navigating the ice and hairpin turn, we’d also try to evade the mice that would occasionally scurry across the path. I could get down that hill in 9 seconds flat. Each time, those would be the best 9 seconds of my week. We typically spent our time either racing down the hill at top speed or goofing around in the snowboard park. If we were not able to head to ‘the pimple”, I would go over rails and jumps constructed by my group of friends at the school hill or head to my friend’s farm. This friend and his band of brothers had put together a number of metal rails and jumps that we could ride with our boards. The lack of a hill on the farm land was overcome with a ski-doo and a rope.
I soon signed up for the Whistler snowboard Newsletter, hoping that someday I would get to shred one of the world’s best mountains. I bought magazines whenever I could. My favourite boarder was Tara Dakides. She rocked my world. In high school, I managed to go snowboarding in the mountains two times. The first time was a weeklong school trip, and the next was when my family spent the week in Fernie staying with extended family. Those trips only reinforced my love of the sport and further imprinted my psyche with a need to snowboard.
After highschool, I found ways to get to the mountains more often. My husband and I lived in Vancouver for 5 years and we went snowboarding often at Whistler. To think, one of the best mountain resorts in the world a stone’s throw from where we lived (compared to the distance from Saskatchewan anyways!). It was a dream come true the first day that I rode that mountain, and it was just as good every time after that. You’ve probably gathered that I could go on and on, but enough about me.
Snowboarding uplifts OUR Spirits
We were not at a mountain or even at a hill as big as the little pimple I grew up cruising down. We were at the local school hill when my daughter put on her little mini snowboard for the first time. It was a birthday gift in August, and she’s been asking about it on a weekly basis since then. With a smile on her face I pulled her with the retracting cord attached to the nose of the board, and she instinctively bent her knees for balance. She laughed at the feeling of her feet gliding over the snow, and I saw the same joy in her face that I had felt the first time I had strapped myself into a board. I could see it in her eyes. She was hooked.
By the time we reached the edge of the hill she had mastered the proper snowboard position, a perfectly balanced squat. She was a natural. When we neared the top of the hill she was determined and ready to try shredding the gnar’ herself. I set her up halfway from the bottom of the hill, she struck her perfectly balanced stance, and bombed straight down the hill with me running beside her. She soon fell on her bum, and with a huge grin and a high five, she was ready to do it again.
We had successfully achieved our snowboarding goal that day, which was to have a great time and end loving snowboarding. Mission accomplished!
She went up and down the mini hill more times than I can count. She managed to carve to a stop on her backside at one point and even practiced some board slides. She fell on her bum countless times, after which she sat looking all cool in her hand-me-down Patagonia snow suit. We had successfully achieved our snowboarding goal that day, which was to have a great time and end loving snowboarding. Mission accomplished!
I can’t wait to spend more days snowboarding with my girls. There is something about sharing what you love with your kids and it’s even better when they look up at you and say “Snowboarding is awesome Mom!” All I could think in those moments was, “Believe me, I know dear.”