Autumn has to be my favorite season out of the year but winter is where I have the most fun. What sort of fun you ask? Snowboarding fun! I picked up the sport in 2009 when I went on a trip to Toronto with a few friends. We discovered that the Blue Mountain Resort was located about an hour outside of the city and so that’s where I first learned to snowboard. This sport, whether it’s recreational or professional, truly tests the type of person you are. First off, you’re either a snowboarder or skier. There’s always a preference and not many people like to do both (at least that I’ve seen). Secondly, participating in either sport truly tests your pain tolerance and perseverance. If you can push through all the falling, tripping, slipping, sliding, bumping, soreness, and much more then you are one bad ass motherf*cker . . . even if you go slowly down the mountain like I do. I don’t care. You made a personal goal to learn snowboarding and through it all you still decided to stick with the sport. That says something about you.
The first day of snowboarding we woke fairly early, ate a hearty breakfast, and started our drive to Blue Mountain Resort. We soon realized that the hour long drive that Google Maps told us would take stretched out to two hours. Oh yea . . . Google Maps doesn’t take into account road conditions, like snow, so we had to drive slower than expected (*hand smack to forehead*). When we arrived, we drove through a cute little town named Collingwood. As we were coming up on the resort butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. I was nervously excited. My seasoned-snowboarding friends were all prepared with gear from head to toe. I still had to rent boots. I had bought a jacket, pants, and gloves but no boots in case I wasn’t going to take up the sport. I was blessed with some great friends who instructed me despite their urge to take off and do a few quick runs down some harder slopes.
Blue Mountain is no Whistler Mountain but in hindsight I’m thankful for that. We arrived each day for the night boarding session with all night trails available. So for three days I learned to snowboard. Not very well but that’s no fault of my instructors. I learned the basics – toe end, heel end, how to break, and leaf down the mountain. I pretty much stayed on the green slope most of the time. I did venture out to some blue slopes just to try it with my friends. Bless them for their patience, really. My friend that taught me the most, Angela, was the real trooper. She stayed with me most of the time and even got video footage of me! I fell what felt like hundreds of times. My knees and wrists were not very happy with me. My thighs and calves were burning with every trip down the mountain. The lodge was decent. Pretty typical winter lodge with average food. We would hop in there periodically to take a break from boarding but mainly from the chill. I understand that Canada is cold but I didn’t think it was that cold. It was definitely a chill I had never experienced in my life. At the end of each night, when it was time to drive back to Toronto, that was the worst. We were so exhausted and I feel like that’s an understatement. Coffee, energy drinks, sugary snacks barely kept us awake for the drive back but we managed.
On the very last day of snowboarding I was very happy with what I had learned thus far. However, my ultimate goal was to learn to carve or S-curve (as I was told it was called). It’s what you see experienced snowboarders do – go down the mountain and curve left to right essentially making an S in the snow. But seeing as my fear of falling had gotten the best of me, my chances of learning on that last day were pretty slim. I did muster up the courage to go on a blue trail. Bird had told us about some trails clear across the mountain that were less crowded (and apparently more room for fun for him). So all of us walked across and got on the Rinus Run chairlift. It took us to the top of the mountain and that’s where we got some beautiful night views of Collingwood.
But I wasn’t quite ready to hit a long blue trail so Angela, Aaron, and I slid across the top of the mountain and went down a trail that would end me back on the Graduate Slope. I still had to go through blue trails but at least I ended my run with something familiar and much easier.
We ended the entire trip to the mountain by walking through their village. We were pretty famished from snowboarding and knew we were going to eat dinner there but didn’t know at which restaurant. Still covered in our snowboarding gear, we figured Rusty’s was a good place to eat. There was a bit of a wait time but luckily their mountain-facing patio was equipped with heat lamps and fire pits. Needless to say, we enjoyed the fire pit. The restaurant was lively with all the music and socializing. We figured out quickly what each person wanted to eat but it was recommended to us by the waitress to try out their butt rub mayo dip. And like starving, mindless animals we took the recommendation. Thank goodness we did because that stuff was delicious! We ate dinner, socialized a little, and enjoyed the atmosphere at Rusty’s. It was a great way to end the evening.
Through all the aches, pains, and falls I still love the sport four years later. It’s something that my friends and I reunite every year to do. I leave you with a little video that Angela took of me on the Graduate Slope. Please excuse our language – we were making inside jokes with each other. Enjoy!