Snowboarding Crystal Mountain

With prompting by Steve (of the Ferguson's) we decided to take today and head up to Crystal Mountain to learn how to snowboard. When we got up the sky was clear and the air was calm. We couldn't ask for a better day to indoctrinate ourselves into hitting the slopes on a snowboard. We woke up about work time early and I got all suited up. Our wives joined us to hang out for some relaxation time in the resort's lodge and were great company. After a drive with the sun in our eyes nearly the entire way, the ladies staked out their spot for the day and Steve and I signed up for lessons and rented our gear.

We took a 2-hour session wherein Neil taught us the basics of turning and balancing on the head-edge of our board first. The lesson group we were in was pretty small and ranged in age from a couple young Boy Scouts up to Steve, myself, and another older guy. Sooner than we knew it we were in line to head up the "Discover" lift. My only apprehension came from getting off the lift since my last experience a few years ago up at Snoqualmie wasn't the best. I think I bit it every time getting off the lift there and hurt myself one of those times. Neil showed us the best ways to get on and off. I bit it a bit the first time but had less trouble subsequent runs and pretty much figured it out by the end of the day. I could confidently slide off the lift with one foot loosely on my board without falling at all. Big step up, if I do say so myself.

After our lessons we joined the ladies and had some lunch to power ourselves up for the afternoon. Once done there we set a goal to do two more runs and three if we felt good. So that's what we did. Pretty much every time we went up the lift we were joined by a stray kid. They were all cool and we made sure to be really nice and help them feel like they'd be OK. My runs down the hill got pretty smooth except for the occasional fall. I wouldn't have minded so much but this run was heavily used and was packed pretty hard. Every fall, no matter how gentle, hurt. I kept to one side of the lift which seemed slightly softer but it still didn't help much. I'm definitely good to go on my heal edge but got some nice transitions to the front edge down. My swath is pretty wide on the toe edge so I still need to work on the control there. I also probably didn't help that the slope we were going down was bowled into the center a bit which had me going faster and further on my toe edge. Steve did really well on the day and only got frustrated a couple times. I was fast enough our third time down that I headed back up for one last run. Unfortunately for me I was tired enough to mess up once and bit it pretty hard catching my heal edge and landing on my butt and right hand.

We did, however, make it out of there without any major injuries but with only the to-be-expected aches and pains that come with the territory. The drive back was good with a couple stops to snap photos at Skookum Falls, to get coffee and gas, and for a snack of milkshakes and sandwiches at Wally's in Buckley. Thanks to Steve for partnering up with me to help talk one another through our new experience. Our goal is to head up a couple more times this year to see what we think of it all. From there, who knows, maybe you'll see us both in Vancouver in 2010 -- OK, maybe not. ;)

Mt. Rainier and the 11th Street bridge in Tacoma start our day off right as we head out of town

The sun peaks up on a beautiful clear morning as we drive along River Road out of town

The view of Mt. Rainier so many see when commuting home toward Bonney Lake

That's me all geared up for our snowboarding lesson this morning

Me lookin' ready for some winter fun

Steve's the smart one wearing a brain bucket

Plenty (but not too many) people out for some snowy fun on this beautiful Saturday morning

A picture perfect, snow-covered hillside

Steve and I ready to hit the slopes

Ripples of loos snow cruise across the slopes in this shot taken by Sarah

The beginner slope we frequented was crowded by still good fun

There's me getting in some practice at the top of the hill

There's me in the middle of a field of fallen snowboarders

Look at me go -- if not for Sarah snapping these photos, I'd have no proof I was even up there, aside from some soar muscles

I'm practicing my balance riding the back edge of my board -- about the only thing I remember from the last time four years ago

Workin' the toe edge a bit -- definitely my weakest side

Don't know what I was doing there

Taking a sit to wait for Steve after a pretty successful run

There's Steve!

I may not be green but I thought I was cool like the Hulk

Kevin and Steve doing fine after a good run down the hill

Waiting in line for another try

One of the young kids that joined us on the chair -- we were really nice to them

The "after" shot of two tired guys just kicked in the butt a bit by snowboarding

Sarah, Steve and Angela on our way back to the truck

Skookum Falls - we made a brief stop on the way home so I could snap these falls

Skookum Falls - close-up of these frosty and beautiful falls

Skookum Falls - close-up of these frosty and beautiful falls

Skookum Falls - the upper and frigid portion of the falls

Mt. Rainier from Enumclaw as a beautiful day gives way to a colorful dusk

Long live Wally's in Buckley -- may their BBLTs (that's double the bacon) bring many a smile to happy customers for years to come

posted Feb 11, 2006 under crystal mountain, lessons, snowboarding  


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