I started skiing at age 7, and by age 10, I had advanced to the intermediate level. I didn't ski again until 1989 when I was 22 years old. In addition to a re-introduction to skiing, I also tried snowboarding for the first time.
I hadn't skied in 11 years when I arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado. This was the day I saw my first snowboard. Someone was going down the slope, and I turned to my friend to ask what they were riding. The next weekend I returned for my first snowboard lesson.
The first run took forever, learning my edges, stop drop and roll vs. trying to make a turn. I was guaranteed a pain free lesson by a new friend. He was partially right. On the second run, I made it all the way down the slope, and only fell once when someone shouted from the lift. I thought it was a friend of mine and turned to look... big mistake.
After the second run it was all down hill. I must have been tired. I caught edge after edge and was slammed into the snow a good 50+ times. On top of this, my "friend" decided to nail me with a snowball every time I fell. I persevered and I rode/fell all day. The next morning I had whiplash so bad I could hardly get out of bed. I actually had to roll on my stomach in bed, slide my knees onto the ground, and push up with my arms. I'm sure I don't need to mention the huge initiation bruise on my left (lower) cheek. I can also remember hobbling around and having people at work asking me what happened. They were shocked when I told them it was from snowboarding -- it was a pretty new sport back then -- and even more stunned when I said I couldn't wait to do it again. I remember saying, it even hurts to comb my hair.
For several nights I went to sleep picturing myself snowboarding and thought about my heel and toe edge. I knew I was catching edges because I would let the edge of my board drop too much and focused on correcting this in my mind.
Since the resorts closed down for the season, I wasn't able to snowboard again until the following winter. When I did go, I only fell 7 times on my second day of snowboarding. I was well on my way. I never skied again!
My snowboarding skills advanced a lot when I lived in Summit County in the winter of 1993/1994.
I was living in Tampa, Florida when I decided I needed to take a breather from the business world. Since Florida isn't known for snowboarding... nada. I moved to Summit County (Dillon) Colorado for the winter.
A good friend hooked me up with Bruce VanAusdale, who was looking for a season of skiing. For several months, snowboarding, hot tubbing, and having friends over became my daily routine. We both loved to joke about the ski slopes being our office.
Bruce was responsible for helping me make major strides in my snowboarding ability. He is one of the best skiers I know, and I followed him everywhere on the slopes. He introduced me to the steep chutes and gave me good pointers. An invaluable lesson he taught me was to look a short distance in front of me, rather than looking all the way to the bottom. This prevented me from freaking out because it was steep. Now, I enjoy the rush.
By the way, I converted Bruce to a part-time snowboarder, but he still prefers two boards.
I traveled through the Alps for three months during the winter of 1996/1997. This was quite a change from my 1994-1996 snowboarding seasons in Tahoe, while living and working in San Francisco.
Listed below are the resorts I visited during 58 snowboarding days:
As a bonus, I was fortunate enough to see the X-treme Snowboarding competition in Verbier, Switzerland. This is one of the top extreme competitions in the world, where the riders have to be invited to compete. This event inspired me to consider new challenges in my own snowboarding.
The resorts in the Alps offer the following benefits:
Disadvantages were few. Among them: