December 19, 2009: Love Hate Relationship

Soft Booting on Vail Mountain

Soft Booting on Vail Mountain

Beaver Creek, Colorado – I’m kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. The very thing that is causing me doubt, sadness and disappointment is also the only thing that makes me feel better. Snowboarding might as well be my significant other; I’ve sacrificed a lot and given it my heart and all my effort, yet we have fights, sometimes I hate it and sometimes it hates me. Of course most of the time I love it and it loves me back. It’s a pretty twisted, dysfunctional, love/hate relationship, but one that I keep coming back to.

The drive back from Telluride was difficult. I had five hours alone to think about things – what I did wrong in the race, what I needed to do in the next World Cups and how badly I want to win. I so desperately wanted to come home for Christmas with great news and have an extra special and happy holiday. But now I’ll be plagued with the stress of the upcoming Europe trip.

I was just going to take my freestyle board on the hill today for a play day but then I thought I’d better take my race board up to work on some technique. I’m not giving up without a fight so I need to work on some things. The snow was amazing! I know I say that a lot about Colorado snow, but each time I go it truly is amazing. It really makes me fall back in love with snowboarding. I worked on getting the board up on edge and seeing where it would take me. I had some good runs, ones where I felt that I slowed down the toeside and generated speed, and my heelsides where connecting and not halting my progress. My friend who is also a racer told me to bring my back hand to the back of the board, and try to touch it. It was difficult to touch, but when I did it the board would stay on edge and I could really feel the snap out of the heelside turn. That’s another good thing to remember when I ride.

After a few hours I had to physically stop myself. I wanted to keep going but I was to meet up with a friend to ride around in Vail on my soft boots. It was so hard to pull myself off that mountain! Throughout my years of snowboarding all over the world, I’ve always felt that Beaver Creek is the best mountain for carving, and I just love being there. It was weird to think that the next time I’ll be on that hill will be after I know whether or not I’ve made the Olympic Games.

After a short break, the rest of the afternoon was spent tooling around Vail Mountain on my freestyle board, which was almost equally as fun. I remember ten years ago when I first moved to Colorado and rode around Vail for the first time. Gosh that was a long time ago. So much has happened in those ten years! It was fun just pointing it straight down the hill and going as fast as I could. There was one time when my board almost caught its edge and my heart leaped out of my chest, thinking I was going to eat it for sure. So scary, but so exhilarating.

It was a glorious day reminiscent of my first days of snowboarding and showing me how far I’ve come. I hope the rest of this season will be just as exciting.

Vail Mountain

Vail Mountain


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