Monday, February 05, 2007

No, don't touch, that hurts, too...

NS, a few of his friends from work, and I went snowboarding yesterday. Um, I'm very sore today, in fact, can barely move...we need a hot tub!!

I managed to make it off the ski lift once without falling. I'm not sure that's ever happened before. I'm starting to think I could jump off and run more easily than trying to slide off on my board like I'm supposed to. I'd like to start a movement for all ski resorts to have an alternative for snowboarders to get up the mountain. Lifts in no way help riders. We still have to go somewhere and stop and strap in our other foot, and most of us sit down to do this, which can create quite the obstacle course. I can see the benefit of lifts for skiers; it gives them a start and helps to get them going. Considering this little push just seems to help me fall, I'd prefer to do without. Whistler had these great gondola things that you would stand inside, board off, and ride up the mountain. You get off, walk to your preferred spot, put on your board, and go. That was just heavenly, and I wish it was the norm.

Anyway, I still had plenty of falls yesterday, but I was able to practice my turning, which I'm getting more comfortable with. One rather hard fall where I dove forward has caused some pain in my right shoulder. I knew immediately after falling that my arms and shoulders were going to pay the price, so at least it's not a shock. After lunch I apparently needed to have a terrible practice run. I just kept falling and falling, harder and harder, and even ran into a sign, burying my goggles and hat in piles of snow at least a few times (which, by the way, renders the goggles useless). Those falls have left me with a bruised left knee and what feels like whiplash. Yesterday was a day that a helmet would probably have been a good idea since I did bounce my head on the ground a little bit (um, more times than I'd like to remember). It's a good thing I don't give up easily, though, because the run right after that terrible one? Not one single fall and managed to turn more than a few times on my way down.

All in all it was a lot of fun, but I've realized that I'm a little afraid to go fast, which doesn't really work out well when you're riding on a mountain and runs with a lot of flat spots.

One of the things that really stood out from yesterday's trip? Blind skiers. I'm not sure what could possess someone that cannot see to want to go flying down a mountain at several miles per hour. They have guides with them, but they are not tethered together, at least the pair that I was behind for a little while wasn't, so the guide really can't stop the blind skier from hitting people or things; he just tells the skier to stop or to move. The pair I was behind seemed to still be in somewhat of a learning phase. The guide would try to direct the skier, "Left. No, left. More left!" The skier would move s-l-o-w-l-y and then stop. It took me a couple minutes to get to a place where I could get around them, but this was the gist of my brief encounter with them. Now, for someone that was perhaps very good at skiing prior to losing the sense of sight, I'd imagine this could be a much more dangerous situation. This person might be more comfortable with attaining movable speeds, which means the guide needs to pay very close attention to what the skier's doing and where he's going. I don't know how many of you realize this, but there's a lot of stuff to distract you on a mountain full of skiers and snowboarders, especially a smaller mountain that is only partially open, so everyone is contained to a few runs. There are races and jumps and just people falling (like someone falling facedown and somehow ending up spinning on their butt...ahem, like me;>). That stuff can get your attention and hold it for at least a second or two, but it only takes a second or two to run into someone that isn't going as fast as you or cuts in front of you or to find yourself not going straight down the mountain and instead straight towards a tree. What happens if the guide gets distracted? That blind skier is relying on his guide to be his eyes. Even if the guide doesn't really get distracted and focuses on the skier at all times, how can he make sure the skier does what is necessary, like stopping quick enough to avoid hitting a tree or swerving far enough, yet not too far, to not plow over a child in their path? I don't see how it could be done. I admire the attitude and the spirit of the blind skiers, but I cannot understand how that notion gets planted into their brains. Who told them it was a good idea? I cannot imagine thinking this to myself should I find myself no longer able to see.


briliantdonkey said...

I know zilch about skiing, since we very VERY rarely get snow here in Florida, and my driveway is about as close to a mountain as you will find around here. It DOES look like it would be fun though if I could do it. Considering I have a hard enough time just skating I doubt that would work out for me. As for the blind people skiing, I see your point. I imagine it is more often than not 'just to prove I can do it' sort of thing, but I could be way off base there. Glad you had fun, and didn't get too hurt at least.


Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

NS tells me learning to ski is easier than learning to snowboard; he tells me this now that I've opted to learn with the board. Oh well, the boots for snowboarding are significantly easier to walk around in, so I'll live;>

Ah, Florida...I need some warmth soon. I can deal with flatness provided there are palm trees. I don't know what it is about those trees, but they have me spellbound.

briliantdonkey said...

I know I am going to feel monumentally stupid when I see the answer but I have been meaning to ask. What does "NS" stand for. Pretty sure it is ( )Son but no idea what the N part is. I used to think it was "NEW Son" but since he is snowboarding he is either realllllly talented or that is wrong lol.


Celebrate Woo-Woo said...

NS stands for Navy Sweetie. He's the boyfriend;>

Susan said...

I don't want to know how to do either. My one experience skiing was a little too Sonny Bono, if you catch my drift. Glad you're improving though!