Monday, February 26, 2007

Big Bear

We made our second annual snowboarding trip to Big Bear last week. This time we went with the family of my younger son Henry's best friend Josh, and we stayed in a rented cabin. Nice place, much better than the hotel we had last year. Being able to cook our own meals and having some other people around for company didn't hurt either. We were directly across from the Moonridge Zoo, which is a curious collection of animals like American bison and reindeer.

On our first morning at Snow Summit we saw somebody fall off the ski lift on the beginner's slope. It was scary, and made me hyper-sensitive all week to the dangers of skiing and snowboarding (it seemed like there were far more paramedic visits this year). All of us have graduated from the beginners' slope to the intermediate runs now, so we were on the faster, higher ski lifts; and i was nervous every time one of the boys got on. Both of the boys have become fairly proficient though. Henry in particular has advanced far beyond where he was last year, which goes to show the power of peer pressure.

Our first real day of snowboarding was Wednesday, which turned out to be very warm. By early afternoon, the slopes were slushy, and we left before 2pm. We spent most of the afternoon at the house, with the door open because it was so nice outside. Other than eating and watching American Idol, we didn't do much. On Thursday, the temperatures were a bit cooler, but we still didn't last much beyond lunch. Two days of falling takes a toll on one's body. I managed to improve a bit. I can transition from heel edge to toe edge occasionally now, and i got pretty good at getting off the ski lift. On my final run, i accomplished one of my main goals-- i got off the lift without falling, and at the bottom i got out of my bindings without dropping to the ground first. There were a few falls between those two points, but i attribute those to experimentation.

Thursday night it snowed heavily, accumulating about 8 inches. I shoveled the steps down to the cars on Friday morning. The snow was perfect-- a thick, even layer of white powder-- and i really wished we could do one more run just to experience new snow. But we'd already turned in our rental gear, and we had to check out by 10, so we packed up the cars and headed for the nearest Starbucks. Afterwards, we started down the mountain. The first 5 miles or so were still snowy, despite having been plowed. Down to about 5000 feet it was a nerve-wracking drive, even with 4 wheel drive. Of course, i grew up in that kind of weather, but in Indiana if we went off the road, there wasn't a thousand-foot drop.

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