Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

The Next Level: 2 (or How I Finally Stayed Riding the Whole Time)

This last weekend Keith, Cort, and I went to Tahoe again for some more snowboarding. We went three weeks ago and I had a lot of fun taking the level 1 snowboarding lessons. This time I took the level 2 lessons to try and improve on my skills and actually make it down the hill. We went to Heavenly on Saturday and decided to goto the smaller Boulder Lodge because it was on the Nevada side and had easy access to the rest of the resort for Cort and Keith but also had a green run and school right there. I think that was a good plan overall because it is smaller and was less crowded. So, I got my lesson, lift ticket, and rental package and Cort and Keith took off up the lift. Unfortunately the rental gear was step-in bindings, but they were infinitely better than the step-ins I’d used in New York (I’m much more partial to the strap bindings now). When I finally got out there for my lesson at 10am I was ready. In the time I had to wait I tried to see if they rented helmets, but they said they only did that for kids. Being a little leery of riding without a helmet I decided to buy one (the Nine.9MX in matte black from Giro, but I ditched the silly BMX-style visor it came with) and I’m really glad I did. As the lessons started they separated us into levels of riding and there ended up being only three people in the level 2 class. Our instructor was Taco Shibamura from Japan. He started off by apologizing for his broken English but I had no problems understanding him. The first thing we did was a small refresher in the school area on stance while we just standing there and then we got on the lift. I’m very surprised that I exited the lift without falling the first time (and that’s not to say I didn’t fall the next time, but it was a lot less difficult than I thought it would be). We then started down the green run with Taco giving us a little explanation of what we needed to do and then he would head off and show us. The three of us would follow and stop where Taco was and he would critique our ride and tell us what to try differently to improve. This continued all the way down the hill and along the way Taco would help us improve and show us new things or new ways to do things we might have learned in our first lessons. There was a bit of falling and a lot of stopping and getting up which only helped to make me really tired. After we got down to the bottom we went back up to the top and did longer stints on the slope with Taco providing more instruction. At some point I was going pretty fast and took a hard crash. This is where I’m glad I got the helmet. I hit pretty hard and without the helmet I might have been laying there for a long time. As it was I sat back up and continued down the slope. At lunch I realized I was super dehydrated from all the up and down on the slope and the workout it provided. Keith and Cort met up with me at the lodge for lunch and I chilled out for about an hour trying to get my strength back. Afterwards we took the same lift up and they went over to a lift to more difficult slopes and I stayed on the green. I got in two runs overall but then realized I was so wiped out I couldn’t do what I needed to do safely. I had taken so long to get down on the second run it was almost time to meet Keith and Cort at 2:30pm to go back to the hotel. I turned in my rental gear, grabbed a bottle of water and a beer, and waited on the deck in the sun for them to come down the slope. We went back, did a little shopping and got some more gear, food (including waiting in line at the Raley’s next to Heavenly Village, which means it’s worth it to drive to another store), and a Spider-Man 2 DVD to watch back at the room. We ended up ordering the same pizza as the night before from Fat City Food Company because it was so damn good (small deep dish with sausage, pepperoni, and meat ball…yum! and by the way, I don’t know the delivery person’s name, but it was the same person both times and she was super cute. If you ever order from them and get the redhead delivery woman you’ll see what I mean :) Then we just chilled at the hotel and I ended up passing out at about 8pm. I was very tired and a bit sore so the sleep was just what I needed. The next day we packed it up and headed to Kirkwood for a half day before going home. This time I bought a lift-ticket with Keith and Cort but I didn’t ride with them. I decided to stay on the pretty easy green area at the Timber Creek Lodge. Going down there was nice and easy. My only problems were with how sore and tired I was and the board I borrowed from Keith (his old one). While grateful that he loaned me a board so I didn’t have to rent one there the bindings were hard to get on and the board was much longer (164 vs. 156) than any of the rental boards I’d had. The board just seemed unwieldy and was very difficult to control. I’m going to have to try out some more boards before I find what I want, but I think I’m going to stick with the shorter boards for the first bit because I felt like I had more control on them. All in all it was a great time and I’m looking forward to going again next weekend. Hopefully I’ll get to do enough riding to improve without hurting myself to much.