And Now For Something Completely Different: Snowboarding at Crystal

19 Feb

Sorry, I know there have been a lot of snowboarding posts but that’s pretty much how we’ve been spending our weekends. We have some non-snowboarding stuff coming up in the next few months though, like a trip to New York with Julian (April) and Yosemite with Cat and Scott (May). We’ll finally start to explore the US!

But anyway, on Friday we went to Crystal Mountain with Chuck. Chuck hates crowds and only goes skiing on weekdays. He broke his cardinal rule when Stevens got like 34″ of snow earlier this year but afterwards he was like “never again!!!”

I probably shouldn’t have gone because I hurt my back awhile ago deadlifting (it turns out my glutes aren’t activating so I’ve been overusing my back for a long time), and then it got worse last week at Stevens. I decided to go for it on Friday and definitely paid for it afterwards! Funnily enough falling on steep hills didn’t hurt my back at all – it was stuff like sitting on the chairlift and doing up my bindings that really hurt.

Crystal was super fun though! It hadn’t snowed in awhile so the coverage was patchy (at one point James’ board scraped a rock) but it was a beautiful day. Everywhere we looked there were breathtaking views.

The last time we went to Crystal I thought the greens were harder than the greens at Stevens. It turns out that (some of) the blues were harder too, which actually worked out well because we’ve been doing the Stevens blues for awhile now so were ready for a step up.

Chuck took us to do the Green Valley at the start of the day. They were his warm-up before he went on to do blacks and double blacks. You can see him in the yellow going down the run.

I’ve noticed this in a few snowboarding photos, but the camera visually flattens the terrain. In that photo the hill looks like a gentle green but it was actually really steep. I remember getting off the lift, looking down and thinking “you’re shitting me.” (Is that a phrase in the US? I’m not sure. In Australia it’s a more emphatic way of saying “you’re kidding me.”)

Luckily we’d done a short black at Stevens that was about this steep so I knew that I could turn on it, but damn.

This is me about 3/4 down the hill looking up. Not looking so flat now, is it?

Chuck took James on a slightly steeper run but I decided to keep doing Green Valley to work on my dynamic turns. It’s very exciting to have goals that beyond “don’t fall”. I also need to get more confident straight lining it or I’ll always be the slowest. That’s something James is much better than me at – I get nervous going straight because I don’t like going fast.

Sitting down for lunch was actually when my back really started protesting. Afterwards I couldn’t bend over so James had strap and unstrap my bindings – I must have looked like a real diva. “Now remove the toe strap, peasant.”

That evening I could hardly move and it was even worse on Saturday! It took me several minutes to get in and out of bed and James kept fetching things for me and giving me worried looks. 

I went to the physio yesterday – he said now he thinks I have a bulged disc. He worked on my back, taped me up and gave me some exercises to do (I’m no longer allowed to do the previous exercises he assigned me). I also have to suck in my stomach whenever I move because that puts less strain on the spine. Magic! He laughed when I asked about my chances of snowboarding this weekend. He said he’s not worried about the actual snowboarding (which he is actually somewhat approving of because my core is engaged); it’s the drive up and the sitting on chairlifts that he doesn’t want me to do. Eventually he said 50/50. =D

Yesterday I thought that was super optimistic but today now that I’m all taped up and my back muscles are no longer spasming I feel amazing.

Stevens Pass I am coming for you on Sunday. I am going to slide on your face!

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