Outdoor Dreamer: Snowboarding from a skier's eyes

We reside in one of the best states for amazing snow and winter sports. Weber being only a half hour to 45 minutes from three great ski resorts — Powder Mountain, Snowbasin and Wolf Mountain — every WSU student should either get out and shred the mountain or at least learn how to.

I have been a ski instructor for three years now, and absolutely love sharing the sport I enjoy. Being a ski instructor, I have made a lot of friends at the resort I work at, a lot of them being snowboarders. As most people know, snowboarders and skiers have been rivals for as long as the winter sports have shared the mountains. My friends who snowboard have been bugging me to get on a board all season. I was extremely reluctant until a few weeks ago, when I finally gave in to strapping both feet to one board (very out of my comfort zone).

I reversed roles. Always being the teacher, I had to give that up for a night and let someone else teach me. As my boyfriend explained to me how to skate on a board, I realized that snowboarding was far more difficult than I thought it would be. I began to become fearful.

At Wolf Mountain there is a small bunny hill where you can ride a conveyer belt to reach the top. I use this almost daily to get my students started. As I slid onto it, like I have done many times before, I began to freak simply because I no longer had the safety and dependability of my skis.

Doing something new for almost everybody can be scary and fun. I had to get over the fear and begin to enjoy myself. As I rode the magic carpet very slowly up to the top, I felt exactly what my students feel: a little nervous with a hint of excitement. Now when people explain to me they are scared, I can sympathize much more than I could before. Since I have been skiing since I was 2, I have no concept of fear on skis. It’s as easy as walking to me.

Snowboarding felt extremely different, and I wasn’t used to not being able to move my feet independently from each other. After the small ride up the magic carpet, it was decided we would head to the lift. With excitement and uncertainty, I agreed.

I got on the lift just fine; it was getting off I feared. As soon as we reached the top, I motioned for them to slow the lift down (thank goodness I wasn’t in uniform). They did and, to my surprise, I got off without falling.

I strapped into the board, but was stuck on the ground. It felt as if my butt was superglued to the snow. My ab muscles were so not used to getting up from heelside. I had to have my boyfriend help me up. Finally, after three or four times falling down, I got smart and realized it was easier to flip over and get up from toeside. Only problem — now I was going to have to learn how to turn so I could face down the hill again.

Beginning to feel comfortable and able to make it down the hill, I was enjoying myself. At least, I was enjoying myself until another person came close. Even though I knew how to slow myself down, I worried and ended up doing two somersaults, almost taking out the skier and filling my goggles with a lot of snow. I apologized to the guy I cut off and began to laugh at myself.

Take it from a skier on a snowboard: Although learning something new is scary, it can be extremely beneficial and fun. It may even open your eyes a little bit — you know, after you clear the snow from your goggles.