Have Snowboard Will Travel
I like to snowboard. Seriously.
I only began snowboarding in earnest during the 2005-06 season, but I have made the most of the past few years. You can find more details and photos from my travels on the blogs below.
This season I can be found snow reporting on Fridays at Mt. Hood Meadows. In 2009-2010 I got more than my share of riding in as the daytime, weekday snow reporter. I hope to find some time this coming season to visit other local mountains as well, studies permitting.
These blogs document my progress on the respective Ski Challenges for each state, as well as subsequent seasons - visiting 39 different ski areas. Dozens of blog posts; most include photos. You can also find some movies at my youtube site.
I decided to join the club
Normally I am not much of a joiner, but I've found a lot of fun and friends through the clubs and activities of the NWSCC:
- as a member of Mountain High Snowsports Club (since 2006)
- as Treasurer of the Northwest Ski Club Council (2008-2010)
- as a participant in the Northwest Ski Challenge (since 2005)
- as a PACRAT racer (since 2009 - go Rat Racers!)
I have had the pleasure of many wonderful days snowboarding, but I have also suffered injuries on the slopes. I wear a helmet and carry a whistle for safety, but I still do a lot of solo riding in marginal territory. Injury avoidance and recovery are important skills that I am working on.
My first major injury snowboarding was a broken leg on a very icy slope. My helmet probably prevented me from suffering much more severe injury. I was out for almost four months in 2007 due to the fracture. My only other significant injury was suffered on the 28th of April 2009 - I crashed into a tree, and my left knee took the brunt of the impact. The initial diagnosis revealed no broken bones or permanent damage, and I was back on the board by my birthday the following summer.
I might not be the best person to take snowboard safety tips from, but experience is a teacher like no other. The single biggest factor in the severity of an injury is almost always speed. Therefore, the best way to avoid injury is to maintain a reasonably pedestrian pace - obviously this is not entirely desirable, so speed is always an area of compromise. Part of the thrill of riding is the speed - and the grace of moving fast and smooth.
The second major factor in injuries is jumping - going airborne is always a danger, because you have very little control once you leave the snow. This tends to be a bigger problem for snowboarders than for skiers. They usually have more trouble with trees.
Trees are the third major factor in injuries, and a typical scenario would be a young male snowboarder along the edge of an intermediate run. This was the case for me, and my impact with a tree ended my season about four weeks early. My advice - go between the trees, always.