Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

And Then There Was Blue...

So, in the continuing saga of snowboarding I made another trip up to Tahoe this weekend. I was supposed to go with my roommate, but he had a cold and fever and decided to stay home. So, I went up with Martin and Ian and we stayed at a cabin that Martin and a host of others rent for the season (note to self: look into this for next season). This was my first trip to any North Lake Tahoe resorts. On Saturday we went to Squaw Valley. There were a few good green runs up on top of the mountain and I mostly hung out there for a while. Now, as a note I was starting out on new gear. Not just rentals, but I got my own board (Burton Custom 158), boots (Salomon Dialogue), and bindings (Drake Matrix). I have to say, I love the gear. It made such a difference, and now I don’t have to get used to rental gear again. I also picked up a new jacket from Burton that was a dream. I didn’t have to think about it. There were pockets where I wanted them and it kept me warm or cool as needed. It’s such a great difference. So, I rode on some greens (beginner) and then went down and easy blue (intermediate) and some more green before lunch. Martin and Ian hung out with me, but I sent them on because I just wanted to get used to my gear and build my confidence. After lunch I did a green again and then hit another blue run twice. There were a couple of steep parts and I wussed out on them by just sliding down on the back edge when it was beyond my confidence level, but I did that run twice. Squaw has a long run from the about 8,200’ elevation upper mountain area to the 6,200’ base village. When I got done with my second run I just sat there looking at the map and thinking how far down it was. My board was itching to go, but I was not, I was just too tired. Thus I unstrapped and walked to the Funitel (gondola) and rode down. On the way down I was watching people on the mountain run down and realizing it was a really long way and I was very glad I didn’t do it. We met at a bar, had a few drinks and then headed home. Or so it would have been. On the way to the car we saw a man laying on the ground with blood from a head wound. One of our party, Gabe, was helping to perform CPR. It’s not clear if the man had a heart attack and collapsed or passed out and stopped breathing when he hit his head. Regardless, Gabe and the others that were there when he fell kept going until the emergency response team arrived. Later Gabe told us that they worked on him for 30 minutes after his 15 minutes and then were able to get him in an ambulance. I’m just glad people like Gabe were there. While I know CPR I’m not currently certified and I was minutes behind them. In that situation time is critical and Gabe helped keep him alive. On Sunday Martin, Ian, and I headed to Northstar-at-Tahoe. I split off from Martin and Ian early because they wanted to go do some terrain park riding. I just cruised down some long green runs a few times and really built my confidence level. I met Ian at the top of a lift and we both rode a blue but I still did the back sliding thing because I was very unsure on steep sections. I then kept doing my own thing and rode the same blue a couple of times more, still chickening out. At noon we were supposed to meet in the village but the guys called me from the slope. We decided to just keep going and Martin wanted to ride with me. We went back to the same blue and this time Martin walked me through making turns on steeper sections. Riding down we hit a different lift and took another blue down. By this point I was really tired and ended up crashing a few times on the way down to the village. Overall it was an excellent time. I feel a lot more confident riding and next time I’m going to start fresh on the blue runs. There are definitely a few things I need to work on still: – turns on steep slopes

– keeping moving on catwalks/traverses

recognizing when I'm tired and riding so I don't bite an edge and
smack down

Ideally I’d like to go for at least two more trips this season. I think that should be possible. The thrill of cutting back and forth on a run with your hands at your sides and knowing you can thread your way through the people learning like you were just a little over a month and a half ago is great. Now I see why my friends like it so much. Update @ 08:10 Tuesday, 1 March 2005
I nearly forgot to mention: goggles. Oakley A Frame with VR28 Polarized lenses. Yeah, a little more expensive but on sale and very worth it. They worked excellently in all but one lighting condition and that was when clouds moved in as the sun was waning causing a very even ambient light. It was hard to make out anything with or without goggles. I would really recommend the Oakley A Frames, you get a great fit and really good peripheral vision. They are also vented well and stay clear throughout the day. If you’re in the Bay Area I’d recommend Tri-City Sports in Fremont for getting them. It’s a drive, but the prices can’t be beat (and they also have a lot of other gear there too).