On December 21, 2021, I took a semi-private, two-hour snowboarding lesson with my son Đán for the first time at Attitash. Our instructor was a young man in his 20s. In our conversation, he told me that he had taught snowboard and ski. I was in awe.
In our lesson, I could barely keep up with Đán. I fell on my ass so many times. My legs were burned and my feet were in pain. The worst part was when I lost my balance on the magic carpet. I tried to push my left hand again the snow, but I landed on the mechanical part of the conveyor belt. My fingers didn’t get chopped off, but my thumb bruised and I was in pain for months afterward.
After our lesson, our instructor told us to keep practicing on the bunny slope, but Đán went on the lift to the green slope. He fell, got back up, and kept snowboarding. He advanced to blue and black, and double-black terrains on his own. As for me, I gave up on snowboarding and focused on skiing. I eventually advanced to blue, black, and double-black terrains on skiing. I was a happy skier, but I was not completely satisfied. Maybe it was my own egotistical, but I felt as if I had failed to learn snowboarding. Then the instructor’s words came to mind. If he could teach skiing and snowboarding, I could learn both. I set out a challenge for myself.
Exactly one year later, December 21, 2022, I took another snowboarding lesson at Okemo. Even though I signed up for a group lesson, the students were just me and another young lady. We had the instructor to ourselves for the entire day. She and I were around the same level. The lesson was also tough. We fell over and over again. Once we were on the green slope, I skated on one foot on a flat terrain, but I couldn’t stop as I picked up the speed. I fell and twisted my ankle. It was a weird twist, but somehow I didn’t sprain anything.
After the lesson, I practiced on my own and continued to fall until I couldn’t feel the pain anymore. I could not skate off the chairlift without falling, but I determined to push forward. It took me a couple of days to stop falling and to control my speed. I watched YouTube lessons to advance to blue, black, and double-black terrains. It was not the right way to learn. I should have taken my time to learn to ride smoothly on the green slopes first before progressing to the next level. After having survived the double-black slopes, I went back to learn proper riding techniques on the green and blue slopes. Because I survived black and double-black slopes, focusing on the techniques was easier.
Skiing and snowboarding are great winter sports. They get me out of the house and off my digital devices. I used to hate the winter because I was afraid of the cold and I kept getting sick. Now I love the winter and I hadn’t been sick during the winter in the last two years I started skiing and snowboarding. If you never tried skiing or snowboarding, you should definitely give it a shot. You can start at any age. I wished I started earlier, but I got into these sports in my 40s. You can choose skiing or snowboarding or both.
I am glad that I have learn both skiing and snowboarding. Even though they share the same playing field, they are two completely different sports. I had to switch my brain from one to another. I still have more techniques to learn in both sports, but I am happy with my journey. I have achieved my personal goals. Now that I know I can do anything when I put my mind to it.