Last Wednesday, the day before Turkey Day, I took a 2 1/2 hour drive up to Killington in the green state of Vermont to ride. Day one of the season. I was pretty amped for it. Making it more exciting was the fact that I was going up with a friend who I had never rode with, and it was just his 3rd time on shred stick ever. He told me what he could do and what he has done, and much to his credit he didn’t hype himself up and claim to able to charge it when in reality all he could do was the falling leaf. Emphasis on “falling”. Because if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s when a person is all like “I get sick with it on a snowboard” and when I ride with them they are exposed as a fraud. That’s grounds for tar and feathering. I never hype myself up. Never. Once someone finds out I ride and am then asked if I’m “any good” at snowboard riding, I usually laugh it off and say something corny like “I guess, I dunno, I just like to have fun.” I rarely explain that this is my 21st year riding or that I have taught people how to ride as an instructor since age 15 (though long since worked as one) or that I once had USASA Level 2 coaching certification and coached freestyle snowboarding (park) up at a little hill in New Hampshire. Me? Brag about shit like that? Never.
Anyhow, my buddy was very humble and said he wasn’t good, and he even feared that I would get upset at his lack of skill and be pissed he was holding me back from having fun. Nonsense. I love spreading the stoke, especially when it’s to a friend doing something I love. He even bought my lift ticket as a “thanks for sticking it out with me” show of appreciation…or simply because he’s the shit.
There were only a handful of trails open and the “bunny hill” wasn’t one of them so I looked at him and said, “guess we’re taking it to the top”, as I pointed to the gondola. I could tell he was a little scared at what he was going to face at the summit, but I assured him the green runs were really mellow, and that he wanted a bit more pitch as it’d help him out. Riding up in the gondy, he was snapping pics on his phone, sporting a giant grin and looking more excited than nervous.
I won’t go into the specifics of what was taught and how, as we’ve all been there and can pretty much imagine what went down. But know this: he had his balance and could control his board from killing people downhill from him. However, he could not turn for shit. Yet. The length of the run we were taking was probably just under a mile. Took us almost an hour. Constant stopping, coaching and assuring he was good and not going to kill himself or others if he just gave turning a try. Got to the bottom. He was SOAKED with sweat, and he didn’t layer too heavily either. He was getting a serious workout. We each slammed a bottle of water down the hatch and decided to run it back. Off to the gondola we went.
This time, he finally started to link turns, riding with shit tons more confidence, and stopped less frequently. Making it even more impressive, is that the man-made snow was turning really mashed potato-like and becoming harder on the legs to keep the edges up. He didn’t care. He rocked that shit. The level of stoke and confidence he had hit was the highest I saw all day. All of what I was saying to him was starting to click. Total time, on the same run, to the bottom this go around: maybe 30 minutes. He was exhausted. And rightfully so. Called it quits after that, which is something I told him there is no shame in. I told him only he knows when he’s had enough and when to walk off the hill before possibly getting hurt. I also explained to him to never call last run. He understood. So I took a few solo runs, and I too got tired. After all, it was my first day of the season and my legs were burning.
We both had a great first day. On the ride home we discussed his progress, music and where to eat. I was going to introduce him to the glory that is Tacos Tacos in Ludlow, but he was adamant that I drive south to Brattleboro and hit up The Vermont Country Deli. I had never been and I was happy I took his advice to stop there. HOLY SHIT is the food there great! I got a cup of baked potato, cheddar and prosciutto soup and a honey bbq ham sammich in a garlic & herb wrap. Both were quite tasty, but the soup was good enough to stab someone over if they got between me and it. The fact that it looked like baby vomit did nothing to deter me from destroying it in a matter of minutes. I could have gotten so much more awesomeness too; they had pulled pork, mac & cheese, pot stickers any sammich your little heart desired and more candy, pop corn, chocolate and pastries than your little heart could desire. I had wished I had smoked before stopping in just so I would’ve ordered more…because the worst case scenario is that I’d have leftovers.
It’s safe to say that I am looking forward to playing snowboards this season. Got yet another person addicted to it. And in no time, I’m sure, he’ll be slaying it along my side. If you haven’t had a chance to ride yet this year, I feel bad for you. It’s pretty much all that and a bag of chips…but I’m sure you already knew that.
As far as other shit that happened since then: there was Thanksgiving (meh), and then Black Friday when some shopping was done by yours truly and topped off by rewarding/punishing myself with McDonald’s breakfast. Egg McMuffins just need to be had sometimes. Also, there was football. Specifically, Giants vs. Packers football. Suck it Wisconsin. And finally, I went to a job fair yesterday to see if I could become gainfully employed again. Seeing as I have been riding the #Funemployment wave and watching oodles of Law & Order, Law & Order SVU and Law & Order Criminal Intent, I figured I’d shoot for the stars and get me a lawyer or detective job. Didn’t want a property manager or building super position though…they, more often than not, seem to be the ones that always find the dead bodies and have to call it in to the cops. Dunno if I could handle that kinda responsibility on top of finding the drain snake to clear the obstruction in the sink in apartment 5E. Anyhow, no such luck finding any jobs that I liked or that started off with a salary of over $500,000/year.