This was only my fourth time riding this season, so I decided to take full advantage of it, and whats more, I had a buddy to board with. Mike's pretty good, but not to the level that I'm at yet, so we hit chair one and took it to the top and just sort of winged the day. However, at the state I'm at now, just going up to the mountain and 'riding' gets a little boring after a while, I'm ready to get onto the next step.
That's freestyle. You know, going airborne, doing the jumps, going through the trees, that sort of thing. You have a natural inclination to progress with something.
No different with Snowboarding really. So me and Mike are trying different things, went through the terrain park (which was getting a little sad because of the snow melting thing.) One specific jump I tried had a pretty good start, however it went up quite a bit and then just dropped off more then I was expecting. I probably fell 7 feet or so. That kind of killed me on those, there was no transition after the jump, just sheer drop and the slow wasn't giving a lot of speed so it was kind of a THUNK kind of thing.
Well, after trying out the terrain park a couple of times, I went back to the top of the mountain and tried discovered the trees.
Trees are bliss. Along the green run from the top of the mountain are a lot of little trails weaving in and out of the trees, many of them landing in jumps going any which way. I had never really gotten into these, but when I finally did, I had a freakin blast! I didn't always get back up on my feet when I went airborne, and sometimes I would slow a little to much before I caught accurate speed to really clear the little heaps of snow people had piled up for the jumps, but I still had fun, wipe outs and all. Mike was a little self conscious at first with me being better then him and not wanting me to see him fall on his butt, but I reassured him that such was not the case. I happened to have plenty a fall on my own. I provided the guy with plenty of amusement that's for certain.
Anyway, coming out of the trees one time, I had done this run at least twice before when all of a sudden a girl appeared out of nowhere and I had to try desperately to not hit her. I think I slowed down enough to cause limited damage, but I still knocked her off her skis and felt like dog crap after it happened. The grandmother assisting the young girl (who was probably no older then seven) was glaring at me from the background and all I could do was apologize profusely.
Unfortunately, I think I just reaffirmed another skier's hatred of snowboarders. Definitely not my intention.
However, the run-in with the girl kind of caught me off my guard, and I proceeded down further with caution. I didn't want to hit anybody else (and it had been so long since I had run into another person on the slopes, though it doesn't stop them from hitting me from time to time, and even getting an occaisonal push from some kid) that I started to take it easier down the slopes, checking myself more then I should instead of riding the suckers out. Still, I was having the most fun in the trees and we went back up the mountain one more time.
Mike was lingering out in the slopes as I carved to and fro through the trees once more. Then I got a little lost in the trees and he didn't know where I went. Therefore, he continued down, hoping to catch up with me later.
What really happened? Well, I was loving the trees and all, but I decided to get a little to close to one, and it certainly didn't love me back. I checked myself at the wrong time, saw a tree coming in my direction and thought "oh crap..."
The image of that tree is seered, seered into my memory. If I were to go back up to the mountain a year from now, I could tell you exactly where that tree is.
And no, no damage was done to it. It knocked me flat on my back and I lay there in a daze for all of ten seconds just thinking to myself 'ok, you're a bit jarred, don't cry, its not that bad." Truthfully, if I had gone much faster, this hit could have snapped my neck and I would have gone the way of Sonny Bono, sans skis. The only thing I had on me to survey the damage was a camera, so I snapped a picture of myself. I had blood on my chin. And I thought to myself "well, that takes care of that for the day." However, I actually felt good enough to get back on my board and continue the rest of the way down the mountain, so I did. I took the easy way down so as to not risk a fall, and I didn't know how well my equilibrium would hold up, but I did fine and felt no worries. In fact, by the time I got to the lodge, I could have gone back up the hill if not for the fact that I had a stream of blood running down my frontside from my chin.
Mike caught up to me as I made it to the lodge, and his look of pleasure from seeing me turned into a look of 'what the hell happened to you?'
I still had him take a picture of me.
I didn't really look to bad, fortunately I hit in a place where it didn't show to much, but this thing is going to leave a killer scar. I hit the first aid station, they cleaned it up a bit and gave me some gauze and then me and Mike called it a day and he drove me back to my car. I called my mom to meet me, as it probably wasn't wise to have me drive anywhere until I got checked out by a hospital, but when all was said and done, I got 14 stitches on my chin. 7 are on the inside and 7 on the outside. It was a pretty deep gash. Didn't hurt to bad, and I was cracking jokes the entire time.
Truthfully, I think the entire thing is a riot (wouldn't be as funny if I had done something such as kill myself) but fortunately this time to the emergency room on account of snowboarding, my memory is in tact and my military benefits from my deployment are still in swing. So this trip should be covered.
At least, I can only hope. But hey, what's worth living if you don't knock some brain cells loose from time to time?