December 2, 2009: Taking the Tumbles

San Vigilio, Italy – We had the past two days off due to inclement weather and travel from Austria to Italy. The two days off were good although I was definitely getting antsy to do something physical. We were able to squeeze in a gym workout but I was anxious to get back on snow.

We drove to Italy in the morning and got to a resort to do some slalom gate training since Sunday’s race will be a parallel slalom. The resort, Olang, happens to be where I had my first World Cup race so it brought back some nice memories. It also happened to be the last qualifying World Cup for the Olympics four years ago when I didn’t make it so it brought back some sad memories as well. But it is a great hill, perfect for training, and there is a lot of snow unlike on what seems to be the rest of Europe. We couldn’t set a course so we just freerode the vast terrain and powder that this amazing resort has to offer.

I’ll admit that I can get rather clumsy riding powder, mostly due to inexperience and the misguided thought that I can’t hurt myself because of the soft landings. This ill combination usually results in some pretty spectacular and frequent head-over-heel tumbles which normally don’t do too much damage but provide much entertainment and laughter. We were in a bit of a powder field and I spotted a section on top of a small hill that was untouched, which at time didn’t occur to me to think why it wasn’t untouched since virtually everywhere else had tracks. I was just so excited to get some fresh snow. Well I come over this blind little hill pretty fast and discovered that the reason why it was untouched was because it just fell off like a mini cliff with no downslope to ride, only a pit to be swallowed into. So I said, ‘oh <bleep>’ and got a bit of air and plopped straight down into the pit of snow. But because I had so much forward momentum my body hurled forward with my board following and I cartwheeled. I still had momentum, not enough for another flip but just enough for my body to jolt forward, but with my board stuck deep in the snow my front ankle took the brunt of stopping all that force. It felt like my binding or boot or even ankle snapped but thankfully everything was okay except for a very sore ankle.

I rode for a bit to shake things off and then took a trail into the trees. The snow was probably about thigh deep and I took another tumble where I probably did two full cartwheels but it was such a soft landing that it must have been comical to see, so all I could do was laugh. After digging myself out and hiking out of the trees I was so exhausted that I couldn’t ride anymore so I called it a day. My ankle hurt pretty badly so it was a good thing to stop, but it was really a lot of fun. Good to get those days in once in a while where snowboarding and laughter come together.


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