Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should
Yesterday, while snowboarding at Northstar, I (re-)learned an important lesson: Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should.
For if I paid any mind to other sign, the one that screamed “WARNING: THIN COVER,” I might have known I wasn’t ready for White Rabbit.
White Rabbit, for the uninitiated, isn’t a trail so much as a mountain face that dumps you down the backside of Northstar’s Lookout Mountain. From what I heard “it’s a rare treat,” as it’s only open a handful of days per season. Yesterday being maybe one of two days in this alarmingly dry year.
The problem with thin cover, I discovered, is… well, the thin cover. Yes, Northstar had just been pummeled with 4-6 feet of fresh powder, but without the benefit of a thick base layer, it looked like a minefield of bushes and branches and rocks and things.
What followed was a rather exhaustive 50-minute run in which I snagged every snag and gracelessly tumbled down the mountainside, roughly six yards at a time. It was a seemingly interminable journey that saw me riding, crashing, struggling to get back up, riding, falling, repeat, until finally unclipping and “walking.” (And by “walking” I mean plunging my legs into waist-deep snow, and somehow, thank God, finding the will to lift them back up for the next step.) Finally, I decided to ride my snowboard like a toboggan, to very mixed results. Sometimes I’d get going and tear off 20-30 yards. Other times, not so much.
At about the midway point, I took a long break. Sitting there, cold, wet, wiped out, and increasingly annoyed at my oft-uninformed optimism (“It’s a rare treat? Oh, I’m in!”), I started to think about things. Namely, the logistics of an airlift.
What might that cost?
And perhaps more importantly, What would they possibly think when they found me? It’s not like I fractured my femur.
Knowing it would be a lonely, humiliating (and extraordinarily expensive) ride back to the resort, I began drifting back towards reality…
Which is to say I started thinking about what awaited me at the bottom of the hill.
I’d like to think it was my survival instinct… my Liam Neeson Into the Grey Alpha-manliness.
But sadly, it was something much simpler.
The fantasy of a cold beer.
And a good laugh with friends.