First Time

You'd think that being in my family would entitle you to snowboard lessons very early on in life. You'd be wrong. I did, however, finally manage to take my sister Elanor, who just turned 9 this month, out for her first day of snowboarding at Park City Mountain Resort. My dad scored a super cheap complete setup for her, and the trouble was just dialing in some time when I wasn't coaching, shooting for the podcast, or traveling. I guess good things come to those that wait, because we had a killer time.

We got there and it was a bit firm, but after about 30 minutes of practicing one-foot stuff, the snow started to get really slushy. El was getting really bummed out because my mom has been telling her for months that she was just going to jump on a snowboard and be ripping up and down the mountain. Now, my mom has never snowboarded before, and doesn't really know that there's a very basic progression that needs to take place in order for a person to learn how to snowboard, and it's very different from strapping into your buddy's whip at the local city park. Elanor's expectations were somewhat different than the reality of snowboarding, and for a few minutes I thought maybe she was going to quit. She just couldn't figure out how to do a toe-side traverse. Finally, after quite a few tries, something clicked and we were able to do toe-side and heel-side, and then start linking those turns together.
We grabbed some lunch in the lodge and then rushed back out for some more ski-boardin' because she was so stoked to finally be able to go about 50 feet without falling down. The rest of the day was just working on gaining better edge control and ripping down the First Time slope. By the end of the day, she could ride the entire First Time area without falling once, and at a pretty decent speed making toe and heel-side turns. I was pretty proud.
Sadly it's the end of the season, and she'll have to wait until the '10/'11 season before she can get back on her board, but she was pumped and ready to keep doing some more. I got a few slashes in the slush, and did some 180's (for the awe and entertainment of those riding the chairlift), and El promptly fell asleep before we even got on the highway. Learning to snowboard is tiring!

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