I took up snowboarding five years ago, around the same time I started to get serious about running. It was a few months before my wife and I started dating and I was willing to try just about anything as I searched for happiness within myself. Unfortunately, I was still rather far from finding the happiness I was looking for, but snowboarding was a nice distraction from the self-hate.
Unlike running, snowboarding isn’t a year-round activity, the season is only a few months long so I generally do my best to make the most of it. Unfortunately, between warmer weather and a busy schedule, the last two seasons were a bit of a wash, I only went once each. However, I’m resolved to make up for it this season. I’ve got a triple play for Mountain Creek and three free lift tickets to any area mountain of my choosing so, at minimum, I need to go six times. Thanks to training for a spring marathon for the first time ever, it’s going to be really tough to fit it in, but the weather seems like it’s going to be great so I’ll find a way.
Anyway, I made my first trip to the mountain–Mountain Creek in NJ was the mountain of choosing for this trip–of the season yesterday with a few coworkers. We got a bit of a later start than I would have preferred, but part of that was due to my attempting (and failing) to run a 10 miler in -2° F on snow-covered roads at 5am.
Perhaps most excitingly, this was my first trip snowboarding presenting as a woman. To help make sure I actually looked something like a woman, I recently replaced all my snowboarding stuff with women’s gear. New snowboard, bindings, goggles, gloves, jacket, pants, hat, and even socks. The only thing I kept were my boots which looked gender-neutral enough to keep…which is good because had pretty much already spent three times as much money as I could afford to have spent. As far as I could tell, no one thought much of me, which is good because I just wanted to have a fun day snowboarding without any worry of being misgendered or stared at by some snot-nosed kid.
Of course, yesterday wasn’t the coldest day of the past few, but it was still pretty chilly out! My car didn’t want to start in the morning and when I pushed the clutch in it was really slow to come back up. Luckily, my new jacket and gloves are very warm so it wasn’t too bad out there. Though, we stopped at a ski shop near the mountain so my friend could rent skis (it was his first time) and I decided to throw on another layer while standing in the parking lot. It was a base layer so I had to strip down to just my sports bra for a moment in the middle of the parking lot (I was standing outside the car since I was putting my boots on while waiting for my friend). Those few moments were absolutely freezing!
Even though the mountain was crowded thanks to a hefty snowfall the day before, the lift lines weren’t actually too bad. We spent much more of the day waiting for our first-timer coworker. At the end of the day, I think we got in seven or so runs, but it was lots of fun and I was pretty tired by the end anyway. We did half the runs at the terrain park, but I only did a couple smaller jumps. With marathon training starting tomorrow, I didn’t want to risk hurting myself in any way.
The new board turned out to be pretty awesome. I was a little worried I’d have trouble controlling it because it’s a rocker style board instead of a traditional camber, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. The board was much faster than my old one and more stable, forgiving, and easier to control at higher speeds. My only real issue was on some of the icier parts of the trails (New Jersey mountains, amirite?!), it was harder to get the board to carve in and grip the ground enough to control it. Still, it was much more enjoyable to ride than my old one! Plus, it’s pretty cute!
Hopefully, this will be the first of many trips this season! If anyone lives in the New Jersey or Eastern PA area and wants to hang out on the mountain, let me know!