(1) In the Beginning... I sucked.

I was 14 years old the first time I strapped a board to my feet. Unfortunately, it was not pretty. Anyone who knew me was confused as to why I was going to attempt snowboarding. A lot of people kept telling me maybe I should start off on skis and see how I liked it before I tried something that hard. I was so clumsy just walking from one place to another it was almost impossible to vision me snowboarding. I had joined my high school ski club because that was what my friends were doing. They had promised to help teach me and that I would catch on quickly. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was getting into.

I remember the first night I stepped out of the bus at Snow Trails. It was dark already, there were kids running around the parking lot, some sliding on the ice. It was chaotic. We got to the  rental building only to find the line for renting equipment was out the door and around the corner. My friends told me they would wait for me on the bunny hill while I got my stuff and left me to fend for myself. When I finally got through the line and got outside I realized I had no idea where the bunny hill was. I saw a group of people wearing ugly matching jackets and decided to ask one of them. They looked a little crazy but nice and were more than willing to point me in the right direction. There was something about the look in there eyes that made me curious. You could see the happiness in them.

I took my time walking to the bunny hill, not really sure I was going to make it through the task ahead of me, but still willing to try. My friends were waiting over there just as promised. They showed me how to strap in, how to push around, and how to get on the lift. Tripping over myself along the way we got to the lift and went up. Of course, I fell at the top and couldn't get up. Got hit in the head by the chair and tripped the people on the chair behind me before the person stopped the lift. I crawled my way over to the side, apologizing as I went, and got helped up by the the lift operator.

The short version of what happened next is what I've come to know as typical beginner luck when you don't take a lesson from someone who knows what they are doing. I spent most of the next hour falling on my face and butt. Not just an "opps I slipped" kind of falling but a teeth gritting/bruise forming/muscle pulling kind of falling. About an hour after my friends started to help me they decided they wanted to go ride the bigger stuff and left me on the hill. Of course, they promised they would be right back. But I didn't see them until I got back on the bus later that night. I spent the next month sitting on the bunny hill alone watching snowboarders go by. I'd get up here and there and attempt to move like they did only to fall back down. My friends had given up trying to help me but I was not going to give up. I took a lesson but there were 30 students in the class and all I had at the end was a cold butt, runny nose, and learned nothing more than I had already known. That was when I met Laura. Someone who had joined ski club at my school to try snowboarding but was having no success.

We spent the rest of the season attempting to stand up on our boards, sitting on the hill people watching, and sledding down the small hill of snow by the pond. We got nowhere but I enjoyed the time I spent there. I liked the atmosphere, the cold, the quiet surroundings, and the occasional echo mixture of boards and skis scrapping the ice and people laughing. The end of my first season came around and I left with a smile on my face.