Monday, March 7

walking in a winter wonderland

First off:

The past weekend was amazing for my husband and myself.  We celebrated our third wedding anniversary on Monday -- I can't believe that it's been three years, already! -- and we spend the weekend driving southwest of Pittsburgh to Seven Springs Mountain Resort for a weekend of snowboarding. And the past weekend was epic for me!

Ryan and I just learned this winter.  Well, Ryan grew up on a skateboard, so it was a really smooth transition for him.  Both of us skied growing up and wanted to get back on the slopes, but also wanted a more cost effective way to do it.  So... it just so happened that last August, Ryan stopped at a HUGE Dick's Sporting Goods in Novi that we normally never go to as it is an hour drive from our house.  While he was there, he saw these beginner decks that were on sale for $50 each, which is really an insanely low price.  That said, he bought a new 5150 snowboard deck for each of us.  Below are the pictures that Ryan messaged me when he told me his plan.
FRONTS: my board is the pink, purple and white one.  ryan's is the black and green one
REARS: obviously my board is the pink and white one.  ryan's is the green and white one.

So, now that we had the decks, I had to work my internet magic and find some cheap boots and bindings for each of us.  Which, for the most part is where I really got lucky.  I found beginner Burton boots for both of us, both were from the same online retailer and included free shipping.  SCORE!  Burton Coco boots for me were only $50 and the Burton Invader boots were only $65 for Ryan.  As for bindings, Ryan went to our local ski and snowboard shop (within walking distance of our house, no less) and bought a $75 pair of bindings.  I did a bit more bargain hunting and found an earlier year version of the Burton Stiletto Bindings (normally $159) for $50.  So I got my entire kit for $150 -- which in my mind was a reasonable enough cost to say that if I end up not enjoying it, not big financial loss.

The first time out and I LOVED being outside and in the snow.  *Confession time:  I LOVE WINTER! I LOVE SNOW!  I LOVE SHOVELING THE DRIVEWAY!* So I could not wait to be outside in the snow.  Except that I din't pick it up as easily as I had anticipated.  I SUCKED.  And I spent more time on the snow than I did on my feet.  My husband was particularly frustrated by this because he was already conquering the slopes and I was not and he wanted us to be at the same spot.  I was not. 

At Christmas, my family planned a trip to Iron River, Michigan, for a few days to go skiing and snowboarding as a family at Ski Brule for a two days.  I stunk.  I actually had to sit out the second day because I was SO ACHY EVERYWHERE.  I could not lift or turn my head without excruciating pain, so there was no way that I would have made it a second day.  Please understand that even though I was dreadful, I still truly enjoyed every second of it -- with the exception of the day I sat out.  

I kept plugging away but still was really having a lot of trouble connecting all of the pieces of snowboarding together, specifically linking turns.  Then, one of the late thaws cleared up all of the snow and I worried that we were out of opportunities for the winter.  

The same weekend that it was 50 degrees out, Ryan and I found ourselves at that same Dick's Sporting Goods in Novi where he had purchased our original decks.  They were having another sale.  Ryan was going to by a new OK-but-not-good deck for $65, however they had all sorts of Burton and similar decks that were in the $120 range, which for a Burton deck PERIOD is an amazing price.  I convinced him to spend the money on one of those.  My theory was that for what he was getting, he was still not spending a whole lot of money and the product was exponentially greater.  For $120, he ended up with the Burton Process Mid Wide V Rocker Snowboard 2011.  Read more about his board, here.
2011 burton process v-rocker snowboard

I was looking at decks too, even though my husband was trying to talk me out of it.  Then the salesclerk pointed out the Rossignol One MagTek, which every ski & snowboard shop we had previously visited, all of the clerks raved about.  It's a $450 board, that was marked down to $150.  Sold!  I was a little disappointed on the look of it at first.  Let's face it, from a chick standpoint this board is kind of blah.  But it should be a good fit, should I get to try it out.  And Ryan was envious, but it was mine and it was sized right for me!  
2011 rossignol one magtek (best ride ever!)

So we made our way home, wishing we would have the opportunity to try our new purchases out this year.  As we neared our house and literally turned onto our street, it was as if God was giving us the OK because it started snowing. BIG. FLUFFY. SNOWFLAKES!  We tried to act nonchalant and not get our hope up, but pretty soon the earth went from brown, muddy and ugly, so snow-covered.  Within two hours, there was about 4 inches of POWER on the ground.  It was undeniable that we were going to have to go out to Pine Knob that night.  In good winter weather, it's about a 20 minute drive which on this night took us a very cautious 40 minutes. But when we got there, it had snowed about 8 inches, was STILL SNOWING and the resort was absolutely DEAD.  We practically had the whole mountain to ourselves.  


Let me just say that once I strapped that new board onto my feet, everything INSTANTLY connected.  I was able to link turns.  With no effort!  The powder certainly helped the situation -- there really is no fear of pain when you fall on a marshmallow -- but that new board.  It just made all of the difference.  The other board was just too stiff.  Too unresponsive.  By no means am I a perfect snowboarder, but it was amazing to realize that the troubles I was having on the mountain were really not because I was not getting it, that it was the deck itself.  

Did I suddenly feel competent as a rider?  Good God, NO!  But I certainly felt more confident and capable, and that, my friends, was incredibly liberating!!!!

In conclusion:  I LOVE snowboarding.  The cheap, inexpensive boards that we started out with were enough to convince me that it was worth the investment.  And once we reinvested, the result was a game-changer that made me love it so much more.
--happy living

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