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Snowboarding: My Fit Bottom Survived…Barely!

Posted Feb 22 2012 6:00am
snowboarding, legs, arms, workout, snow, mammoth

Christine, Tish and Mike the Instructor.

I suffer from a problematic syndrome called “But that Won’t Happen to Me.” I tell you all this because as I sit here typing, I’m STILL perplexed that I’m sore from my first snowboarding adventure in Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Everyone told me I’d be sore, I’d need pads, I’d fall, yada yada. I listened not. Instead, my problematic syndrome kicked in and convinced me I’d be different.

I had always loved the snow! I’d skied before and taken to it like a pro. I’d gone on a blue diamond my first try/run and survived, so snowboarding would be easy. Fall? Me?! Ha! I even had evidence to support my delusions. I had been power lifting and doing mad push-ups for weeks. I was strong! I was good—no worries. WRONG! I should have done the yoga . Snowboarding is a total-kick-your-arse workout! Muscles you never knew you had will ache and yearn to be stuck in the snow.

snowboarding, boots, board, snowboard rentals

Lacing those boots up tight!

Starting at the Beginning

I wasn’t a complete fool going into the trip. My boyfriend, who happens to be a phenomenal snowboarder, convinced me that I’d need to go to snowboarding school before hitting the slopes, so I arrived at 9:30 a.m. ready to learn. Mike Taly was my cool and patient instructor for the day. In the first round of the class, he taught me and another gal, Christine, how to fall, how to slide/move/shuffle with your board, and how to stop. I have to be honest, the falling part went in one ear and out the other (should have worn ear muffs!), but I definitely got the hang of the shuffling and falling.

I knew I was in trouble during that half of the class because I had to stop for water many, MANY times. The altitude combined with the leg strength required to slide your board sideways and fast was a bit tough. Mike the Instructor was cool though, and didn’t judge my heaves too much.

Pumpkin Run

The second part of snowboarding school consisted of us getting on this cute little pulley contraption that takes you up a small hill. It was on this hill that I learned how to “carve,” going left to right on my board. I had trouble making my board go where I was pointing/yearning to go, so I got really comfortable riding my heels down the hill. Do you know how hard that is on your legs?! The burning! The fire in my quads! Apparently burning wasn’t cause to slow down the training, though. Before I knew it, Mike was coaxing Christine and me to hit up our first green. It took me an hour and some change to get down one of Mammoth’s green runs, Pumpkin .

I made it off the lift without falling on my grill, but it took me a bit to stop hyperventilating about going on a real mountain on a snowboard. The whole riding on my heels wasn’t going to work, so I started flying down, crashing on my butt, face, hands and wrists every dang time. Finally I got sick and tired of beating up my body, decided not to wait up for the gang, and took it like a G, racing down the rest of the mountain.

The Aftermath

I knew I had managed to squeeze in two good falls that left my butt singing opera-like notes, but I never imagined I’d be as sore as I was. Every time I fell, I had to push my body back up. This required me to do those bad-ass push-ups you see peeps doing on TV where they use their fists. That type of push-up made it impossible to raise my arms above boob-level the next day. I couldn’t lift my legs up stairs, and when I attempted to get back into the gym three days later, the squats I did made my tailbone ache so bad my teeth throbbed. Total-body workout. Brutal total-body workout! Now I understand why the Winter Olympics Nike folks showed us snowboarding workouts.

I bow to a snowboarder’s body, stamina and muscles! It’s that respect that has me wanting to go again…next year…after I’ve fully recovered. Next time, I’ll make sure to get in a good month’s worth of push-ups and squats before hitting the mountain. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20!

Have you ever snowboarded? Notice any changes in your legs’ awesomeness after a session? —Tish


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