What do single people do for Christmas when they aren't visiting family? Well, I'm sure you could do the whole dinner with friends thing or watch a movie. But I'm sorry, that's too boring for me. Instead, I wrangled up some friends and took them to Big Bear with me for skiing. I've been wanting to learn snowboarding for awhile now and this was the perfect opportunity.
I already knew I was going to have fun. But this was beyond belief fun....Out of this world fun....Blown out of our minds fun....Insanely gleeful fun....It was fun beyond fun.
The trip itself was full of adventure and mother nature was in quite a "mood." But nothing deterred us from having a good time. It rained for most of the drive up to Big Bear with temps just above the freezing level. The long, windy road up the mountain was slushy. Not fun to drive in a tiny little 4-speed Saturn. Chains were mandatory, however none of us had put chains on a car before. So Celina read me the directions while I attempted to put them on. Haha. Not working. Their directions sucked! Of course by now, I'm getting soaking wet, even though I had one of those emergency poncho raincoats. The problem was it suddenly got real windy and the hat kept blowing off, the poncho kept getting in the way of my hands and face, and I still don't have the chains on my tires. OK, so we ask some people. They didn't know what they were doing either. Sigh. So I just look around and see someone drive on the chains and then tighten them. That made sense. Why didn't the instructions say that! I drive on the chains, tighten them and finally we are off again! Whew.
When we arrive it's overcast but snowing! Our timing couldn't have been better for this trip. In the last couple of days Bear Mountain received its largest snowstorm in 35 years...4 feet of snow in 2 days! Seeing the snow everywhere was so exciting. It was truly a white Christmas for us. And the best part was yet to come.
The first part of the snowboard lesson was learning how strap the the board on and falling techniques. I must have a big label on my face that says "PICK ON ME" because the instructor chose me to demonstrate all the falling techniques. And this wasn't even on the snow. It was on the hard ground. Ouch. Now if I could just put these techniques into practice. I noticed that when you fall for real you are not really "thinking" about HOW to fall. You just fall. And the reactive action is to do the wrong thing....like trying to brace your fall with your hands (bad) or falling straight back on your tail bone (very bad) instead of choosing the left or right butt cheek.
Falling is very much part of snowboarding. I knew that in advance so I was completely prepared for it. Over the 2 days there I probably fell somewhere between 50-80 times. Mostly on the butt, with a few good head bangs. Amazingly enough I'm not that sore. Except my shoulders and arms which I used to get back up every time I fell!
The class progressed nicely from movement to movement but as the lesson progressed so did the weather. We went from snowing with a few windy gusts to an almost full-blown blizzard. Early on in the lesson I had just gotten up and was preparing to take my turn down the slightly slanted slope and a big gust of wind hit me. I went flying (and screaming) down the hill not having learned how to stop. Well I knew one way. Fall. Thank goodness for the goggles. They saved my eyes from the stinging snow pellets. The instructors kept debating whether to stop class or not. People start dropping out of the class because the conditions are now so extreme. Celina and I didn't care a bit. We were dressed for it and having the time of our life.
Next thing we know, there are only 3 students. Cool. Semi-private lesson. We learned more in the next hour than in the entire lesson. Who cared about a little snow storm? We didn't. Besides it made it even more challenging. And believe me, snowboarding is a very definite challenge. But by the end of the class I had a clue. And didn't fall as much.
I am so hooked. I found a new passion.
I am seriously thinking about getting a place in the mountains and learning bar tending so I can snowboard all day and work at night. Crazy? Maybe. Possible? Anything is possible in my book. I'm already signed up for a virtual snowboarding lesson here in LA and am going back skiing next weekend. It's just too bad I'm going to be in Florida for all of January and February.
Big Bear is so cute. It was a little quiet on Christmas night but we managed to find some cool places. This place, "The Pub" was like a big living room with couches, a fireplace, pianos, and a small stage. I discovered a new drink....hot apple cider with spiced rum. Yum! We weren't out that long (so we could rest up for skiing), but apparently we got quite a bit of snow in that time. So much so, that my car got stuck. It had gotten stuck earlier, but I was able to get it out with some pretty aggressive handling. This time it wasn't working. It got to the point where I asked my 2 friends to go push the car while I tried to back it up. Some people saw us and wanted to help.
It was a couple and they had some cardboard in their truck. We tried putting that under the stuck tire. That didn't work either. Apparently the tire was in some kind of hole. Another guy came and went to get something from his truck to help us. Meanwhile, out of the blue, these 4 gorgeous men appeared and offered to help us 3 girls in distress. They went to the front of the car and practically picked it up. Just then, the other guy came back and offered to drive the car out. I let him. Yeah! We were out. I high fived all the guys and the last of the gorgeous men didn't let go of my hand for awhile. Finally he released it and wished me Merry Christmas. After my moment of "wow," I realized I didn't know his name, his number or anything. Darn. Missed opportunity but a happy memory nonetheless.
The next day Shannon and her boyfriend Dan came to learn snowboarding too. Fortunately they brought the sun with them so it turned out to be a beautiful day. As expected they caught the snowboard "bug" just as bad as me and Celina. We are all so hooked and can't wait to go back. By the end of the day I could actually board on the toes (going backwards down the hill) without falling. It was quite an accomplishment. I have so much more control now and am eager to go to the next level.
Here's Celina, Stacia, Shannon and me at the end of the day....completely spent and happy. I can't imagine having a better Christmas than this...one with great friends and having an awesomely amazing time.