Romancing the Slopes

My husband & I decided to have our date night for this month with the New Mexico Adventure Racing Club.  The club had organized a “Moonlight Snowshoe & Ski” event on a Saturday evening at the Sandia Crest Ski area.  The event was planned to begin just before sunset, to hike up the slopes on snowshoes (with ski’s or snowboards strapped on our back) and then ski down in the light of the full moon.

We had invited our friend Ian and his son to join us.  They had some trouble renting snowboards, so in our true fashion, we were running late.  We dropped our kids off at the baby sitters, and we all got up to the parking area about an hour late.  The Adventure Racing group was nowhere to be found, they were long gone headed up the mountain.  To cut some time off, we decided to drive up to a spot where we wouldn’t have such a long vertical climb to catch up with them.

We parked at a snowpacked service road that we could walk on that would take us straight to the top of the mountain without much of a hike.  We strapped our snowboards to our backpacks and set out in the moonlight.   20 minutes later we made it to the top of the mountain, we immediately saw some familiar faces from the Adventure Racing group getting their ski gear on.  The walk had warmed our bodies, we were hot & sweating.  We took a brief break on the deck of the restaurant to look at the city lights and to take photos.   Then we headed down the stairs to the top of the slopes to begin our moonlit adventure.

I strapped on my snowboard and tried to stand up on it.  The snow was crusty & I fell back on my butt.  Then it hit me: what was I thinking.  I hadn’t been on a snowboard in YEARS.  Since well BEFORE both of my kids were born, close to 5 years prior.  And even then, I was mediocre at best.  I was a much better skier, I had only picked up snowboarding after I blew out my knees playing soccer.  I had never gotten really good at snowboarding, certainly not good enough to try it in the dark with backward footing (my husband had accidentally rented me a “goofy” footed board).

I stood up again, and tried to glide on my heel edge of the board.  I maneuvered the board downhill to try to make a turn like I remembered how, I picked up too much speed, got scared, & fell back on my butt.  I did this again, and again, and again.  I was already exhausted and I had only gone 20 yards from the top of the slope.  Adrenaline & fear was running through my body.  I was breathing so hard & loud.  Charlie, Ian, & Ian’s son were all waiting for me, encouraging me.  I panicked inside.  What if it was going to take me all night to get down this mountain?

I remembered that I just had to swallow the fear of speed inbetween the turns, to remember that the speed would be brief before turning onto an edge.  I decided right there and then, that I HAD to do it.  That I wasn’t going to let the fear suffocate me & ruin this night, that I was going to get up and snowboard, to quit falling & quit being scared & timid in my actions.  I took a deep breath & focused all my energy in remembering how I had done it 5 years ago, pushing through the fear of speed and just going with it, following it through, being patient.  Then it happened, I was headed down the slope, gliding next to my husband, and the other few people who were taking it slow due to having cross-country ski’s on.

We all encouraged each other, laughed, joked, fell, rested, snapped photos, and it ended up being such an exhilarating experience.  We were gliding amongst the quiet night air, guided by the moonlight, the air was crisp, our bodies were warm & excited.  It was magical.

It took us around 45 minutes to get down the slopes, mostly because I was going slow but partly because we knew that that was our one & only run, there was no chairlift running to take us back up for another run.  We really savored and enjoyed the moment.  I really surprised myself for being able to pushing through my fears.  Charlie said he was impressed that I did so well after my fearful & stumbling start at the top.   I think with the love & support of someone beside you, you can do most anything.









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  1. Trackback: Operation re-connect (2012 New Years Resolution) | Irresistible Chaos

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