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Getting Back on a Snowboard After 10 Years

The key to surviving your first day back on the slopes: plenty of rest periods.

“It’s just like riding a bike.”

That’s what all my friends said when I told them I was thinking about getting back into snowboarding this winter after a 10-year hiatus.

To put that in perspective, the last time I headed up the mountain, I didn’t even have a driver’s license.

I snowboarded pretty regularly in middle school. But once I got serious about track, my coaches sort of discouraged it. For someone as clumsy as injury-prone as I am, traveling down an icy mountain at excess speeds isn’t the best way to supplement a budding athletic career.

So I traded my board and boots for running shoes and a treadmill. And that was the extent of my “winter sports” repertoire through every winter since — until now.

This past weekend, I finally got back on the saddle. To be honest, I wasn’t overly optimistic about the outcome, despite my friends’ words of encouragement. I’m glad I didn’t go in with soaring expectations, because let me tell you, those first two runs were pretty rough. Just ask my knees and my tailbone.

But once I found my balance and got reacquainted with the technique I had learned more than a decade ago, I had a blast. Even a mid-afternoon graupel storm couldn’t keep me from squeezing out every last second of time on the slopes.

As I was gliding down the hill, I thought, “Man, I have to get up here more often. I can’t believe I’ve missed out on this for so long!”

The next morning, however, was a different story. I woke up with more aches and pains than I’ve had after any track workout or race. My enthusiasm for taking on round two dwindled a bit, but after a few hot baths and some ibuprofen, I think I’ll be ready to go.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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