Trying something new requires money, time, and willpower. Tiny House blogger Jenna Spesard invested in learning to snowboard—and she loves it!
I don’t know about you, but my body sometimes feels like it’s falling apart. This sensation only became apparent in my late 20s. Activities that I did in my teenager years, such as running long distances and water skiing, now require a good deal of stretching (and are followed by two days of soreness). My muscles seem to be content with watching television and snacking, but my goals are different.
I want to try new things. Even if it challenges my body.
Growing up, or at least becoming older, is a difficult transition. At 30, I’m afraid of hurting and overstraining myself. These thoughts would have never crossed my mind 10 years ago. Extreme sports are extra frightening for my frail adult soul. I remember once wanting nothing more than to hang glide, but now I believe the only way that could happen is if someone pushed my unconscious body, strapped to a kite, off of a cliff.
And yet, three years ago, I decided to learn the body-straining sport of snowboarding.
Getting Motivated to Snowboard
I’m very pragmatic, so I created a list of reasons why snowboarding would benefit my life and increase my happiness. First, many friends are snowboarders, so learning would benefit my social life. Second, snowboarding would help me get in shape. And lastly, the thrill of riding down a mountain, in control, would not only be exhilarating but also a wonderful stress reliever. After reviewing my motivational list, I was convinced.
Snowboarding is not a cheap sport. My first year, I purchased a season pass for $500 before I even hit the slopes. This purchase was a conscious motivational spending choice. After all, it’s not easy to quit when you have a lot of money on the line!
At first, I rented snowboarding gear, but after a few days on the mountain, I realized it wasn’t benefitting my time and finances, nor strengthening my skills. Like hiking and backpacking, to become comfortable snowboarding, you need to be comfortable with your gear.
My first set cost several hundred dollars, covering my snowboard, boots, socks, pants, goggles, gloves, jacket, and helmet. Ouch! I was now invested in learning this skill. Another pro tip: Spend on kneepads and butt pads! Falling is inevitable, but your bum and knees will bruise less with the right padding.
I highly suggest taking lessons from a professional during your first two days on the mountain—I did not do this. Instead, I persuaded a friend to teach me. Both days I was too sore to continue after only a few runs, and was so frustrated I nearly gave up. My poor friend tried her hardest to teach me, but she learned how to snowboard when she was only 10 years old. For her, snowboarding was a natural ability, similar to how I feel about riding a bike or swimming. She couldn’t explain her technique, and therefore didn’t understand my struggle.
After a few days of limping off the mountain, I reconciled to pay for professional lessons. I took two half-day lessons with a group of adult beginners. The total cost was $120, and worth every penny.
It was reassuring to see other people my age having a hard time standing up and staying up on their boards. I remember being terrified of getting off my first chairlift. I turned to the girl sitting in the chair with me. We registered the obvious distress on both our faces, and there was some comfort in that. It broke the tension. At the top of the hill, we jumped off of the chair together. One of us fell.
OK, we both fell.
Motivation: Self Improvement
My snowboarding lessons helped me gain confidence and understand what I was doing wrong. After that, learning to snowboard was all about practice. Every time I hit the slopes, I tried something new. Perhaps I turned a little faster, went on a steeper hill, or practiced standing up straighter. Slowly I worked my way up the mountain. Different colored squares represent difficulty levels, with green being the easiest—I mastered the greens, then the blues, and finally I was boarding on the blacks. I celebrated that I was getting better.
Three seasons have passed since I first put on my snowboard boots. Sure, I still get sore, but I can now go down the mountain with confidence and moderate speed. I hardly ever fall, unless I try to enhance or expand my skills. I’ll never be as good as my friends who have been boarding since childhood, but I’m not interested in being the best on the mountain.
I snowboard for the fun, the thrill, the exercise and, yes, to relieve stress. I’ll never regret the money and bruises that I sacrificed while learning this new sport as an adult. I set a challenging goal for myself, and achieved it. Now I get to enjoy using these skills for the rest of my life. I chalk it all up to self-growth, both physical and mental. Because when I’m up on the mountain, it’s difficult to worry about anything other than the snow.
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