Growing up in Oklahoma, I never got the privilege of being able to drive a few hours to a ski resort, board all day, then drive home that night. Now living in Arizona, I have that opportunity.
Someone might wonder.. "How do you snowboard in the desert?" Well, let me tell you. If you drive from Phoenix, AZ about two and a half hours north, you get to a super sweet mountain town called Flagstaff (also the location of Northern Arizona University). In Flagstaff, there is a ski resort called Snowbowl.
Snowbowl might not be the most extravagant or largest ski resorts ever but it is almost like another home to those of us that have a desire to glide down a mountain. The people are kind, the mountain is just the perfect size, and most of all not too cold like it would be in most other places because well... we are still in Arizona.
I have only been snowboarding for two years now but I feel like I have gained a lifetime of fun spending some weekends or day trips in Flag. So here are a few things I have learned already.
1. Things are NOT easy.
Granted snowboarding isn't very very difficult to learn and pick up (with the exception of those who are naturals and have been doing it since birth), but it is possible, if you try. The first time snowboarding, you spend more time on your butt wondering what you did wrong and thinking of how to fix It on your next run than you do actually up and riding. Fall after fall all you can think about it how the other people make it look so easy, why can't you? Getting back up every time after you fall seems to get harder. I know that it's cheesy and lame but it's true, these rules apply for life as well, not only snowboarding. It's hard to stay up on your two feet and sometimes even after taking a hit, staying down seems like an easier option. All of this being said, when you find your groove and you finally feel like you have a handle on things, you want to keep going, you want to keep riding. Suddenly you wonder why it was ever so hard for you to get up again in the first place.
2. YES, the mountains ARE even more intimidating when you're on a board but it makes you want to ride it even more.
Once you get off the ski lift and glide over to the top of a run, strap your other foot into your bindings, and stare down the mountain you're about to conquer... your heart stops. Just the thought that one wrong move or the way you turn could result in an injury is scary. The mountain is huge, it's massive, there is something about it that just wants to make you go! You think about how time and time again people have ridden this run or gone down the same path as you, so you want to accomplish the same thing they did before you. Once you get to the bottom where you can reload onto the lifts, you unbind and stare back up, you think about the beast of a landform that you can handle, that you actually have a grip on, and it feels good.
3. Snowboarding is one of the most BEAUTIFUL sports.
I never realized how amazing and therapeutic something like this could be. Not only is the scenery amazing and breathtaking, obviously. But something about it being you, your board, and your mountain can just clear your mind. Riding the run or trail you're on and not even having to think about your next move is something impossible to explain unless you've done it yourself. Your mind is blank and you're just in the moment enjoying life. It's not very often that we get to do that anymore. In other sports you must constantly be thinking, what's my next move, how can I help my teammates, listening to a coach yelling. But snowboarding is just you, there and in the moment.
4. It's all for fun.
Nobody on the mountain is there to judge. Everyone boarding or even skiing are there for the same purpose... enjoy the day. There have been times where I felt intimidated by others more seasoned than me on the mountainsides, but I then think to myself, they started where I was at one point also. Most of the time, the people are kind and want to help you better yourself and your skills so that you can ball out just as much as they are! Snowboarding while an individual activity, is somewhat a team or community. Everyone is there to uplift each other and congratulate each other when they do well. We all do it for fun.
5. AWESOME picture opportunities are on top of those mountains too!
We all know that as a college sorority girl, pictures are necessary when on adventures like ones of snowboarding. The beautiful skies in the back, your cure ski goggles, and of course your board make it almost impossible to not snag a picture right before you tear down the side of a mountain! ;)