Things have been a tad strange at Casa Scully on this first day of January. We awoke to find a light crust of ice over the house, car, and driveway. I had been hoping we might find an excuse to drive in to town for a nice breakfast, but with all the ice, it made more sense to scrounge up something at home. Just as I was about to scramble some eggs and make some toast, the power went out. Without our electric range, we had to put the meal on hold. Fortunately, we had a few home-made biscotti left over from our trip, and the coffee had finished brewing.
After a light breakfast, we decided to go on our first snowshoe expedition of the season. Rick and I would have preferred to have four feet of snow on the ground, but with the warm winter we’ve had so far, we decided to take advantage of the five inches we did have. We tromped about on our property a bit, found some animal tracks (most likely rabbits and deer), and then proceeded to trespass on our neighbors’ fields. By the time we returned home the power had been restored. The lights on the porch were a welcome sign as we made our way back up the steep, icy driveway.
Sometimes, you have to improvise or jump in to a situation even when conditions are not exactly what you’d like them to be. This year we have a lot of plans that we want to try to put into play, and we’ll most likely need to be flexible in order to have success. Here’s hoping that at least a few of our ideas will come to fruition.
At the end of December my temporary job with Vermont Ski Areas Association will end. I’ve greatly enjoyed working there and may come back again next year. One of the perks of the job is free skiing and snowboarding for the staff, and each year we also have a ski day at one of the resorts. I was hesitant at first, as I have never skied or snowboarded before, but eventually I decided to participate by taking a snowboarding lesson.
My first experience was challenging and exhausting, but fun too. People warned me that I would spend several hours doing nothing but falling down on my butt. Well, it wasn’t quite that bad, but neither can I say that I have much natural skill for this activity. I’m more used to roller skating and blading, where you have to have a certain amount of control and balance, but where gravity plays a much diminished role. Much diminished. In snowboarding (or “riding”), gravity is a major factor, and for the beginner, it is an adverse force. It will pull you the wrong way, or before you are quite ready. It will even take your board away from you at very high speed if you aren’t paying attention and let it slip (this almost happened…almost). And after every run downhill, you get to battle gravity as you hike back up to the top with the (heavy) snowboard bound to one foot.
During the 90 minute class, I glided, fell, practiced turns, fell, got going really well and then panicked and fell in order to keep from riding off into the parking lot, and did a lot of hiking up the hill. After a while we moved to a steeper section of terrain and practiced “traversing”, where the aim is to go across the grade of the slope rather than taking a straight shot downhill. The idea is that, after a lot of practice one will be able to build up a repertoire of moves (straight gliding, J Turns, traverses) that allow one to regulate their speed and direction as they navigate a trail. Snowboards don’t have stops or breaks like skates do, so you have to tame gravity by learning how to subtly shift your weight and stance. I understand these concepts in theory. Putting them into practice is another matter.
Still, I did enjoy myself and got one of the best workouts I’ve had in recent memory. In the afternoon we went snow shoeing, which takes more energy than snowboarding but is much less technically difficult to master. (Yes I was painfully sore the next two days.) I will be buying snowshoes as soon as possible, and hopefully in the not too distant future I’ll be able to take another snowboarding lesson.