So there I was… a young man, about to embark on a long awaited adventure.
The adventure of snowboarding.
I grew a special big beard to help protect me from the alpine ravages.
It had been along time coming. It had been 11 years since I had last touched snow but often had I thought of blasting down powdery slopes of pure white powder.
The time had come … I was there, and I had bet my friend 5 dollars that I would be better than him in one hour than he was after his two days, so dedicated was I to my dream of learning how to rip down the mountain.
I went straight to a level two lesson having already mastered standing up, going along and coming off, getting up and then going along.
The lesson was good and I milked the poor instructor for everything I needed to know.
Then a couple of runs ripping down the baby slope before heading uphill with my mate for operation “Christen by fire”.
Down the harsh blue slope went Wez.
Zoom went Wez.
Swish went Wez.
Over went Wez.
So by one o’clock I was linking turns and going down steep runs and only completely eating it a few times.
I had mastered the art of only crashing into snow although even snow is hard when you hit it at speed.
I even managed a few accidental jumps and often took on cliffs I definitely could not handle and got good at crawling down them like a terrified grom*.
At one point I came off while going down a snowy bank at high speed and somehow my arm stuck in the snow while the rest of me kept going… Wrench!
My left arm now a useless and painful dangling appendage I carried on.
I am not the type of person to let the destruction of my body prevent me from having a good time (see previous stories for clarification of this).
My special protective beard was coated in thick snow and ice and had not protected me in any way.
It had started to harm me. Painfully chilling my lips blue and chasping my cheeks ruddy.
Almost every part of me had been repeatedly slammed on, wrists, bum, knees, back, hips and elbows.
This only left my chest and head.
I was now going down the slopes terrified of coming off as I was in so much pain.
So I started making sure I only slammed on my chest.
Until one big chest slam left me gulping, winded and in so much pain I actually cried. After spitting a few times, checking the spit for blood and taking the few shallow ragged breathes that my body would allow, up I got and away I went.
“Cannot crash, cannot crash,” I thought as I gathered speed whipping down towards the chair lift.
“Is that ice up ahead? Hmmmm better do a big slide and wash off some speed.”
WOOSH! SMACK! BOING! . . . SMACK!
I knew I was sitting up with my eyes open although all I could see was gray, I heard distant faint sounds which was my friend yelling “Wez! Hurry up the lift is closing! Wez! …Wez!…Wez?”
As my sight came back my whole body was all pins and needles.
Cursing, I shakily stood and moved about touching my head to make sure it was still on. It was. I was intact, and apart from a strange spaced out feeling that dissipated later that night and a bleeding chin I was ok.
I got back to the lift and went back to the baby slopes to grovel about for the last half hour of the day happy in the knowledge that the five dollars was as good as in my pocket
Oh the next day when I woke up I couldn’t move or speak and I felt as if someone had crept into my room and beaten me all over with a very hard stick.
Seven days later I was all better except my left arm which I could only use for simple tasks.
* Grom: A young and inexperienced surfer, skate boarder and snowboarder who is the butt of the older guys jokes and painful pranks, hijinks and tomfoolery. What the grom lacks in skill and style, he makes up with simpering propitiation and unkillablity.