After making my way down Cornice on my backside – twice – I decided it was time to break off from the more testosterone driven members of the group and explore the mountain solo. For anyone who has never skied or snowboarded alone I seriously recommend it. You get to cut the chairlift lines, which can double the number of runs you do in a day, and you explore the mountain at your own pace.I hit up the backside of Chair 2 coming down St. Moritz and made my way back and forth between Canyon and Main lodge traversing Goldrush and Canyon Express. I also got to challenge myself on some more advanced trails. As I sideslipped down Patrolmans and Spook, I realized that the way I snowboard is really similar to the way I lead life.

I’m relatively comfortable on a snowboard. I could do practically any run on the mountain using my safe heel side slide technique. But to truly enjoy a slope you have to carve. Carving requires you to shift between a heel side and toe side turn, and this is where it gets tricky. I’m comfortable on my heels. But transferring from heels to toes requires that you let go, momentarily point your board down the mountain and trust that you will regain balance on your toes. It’s exhilarating and can be terrifying on steep inclines.

Every time I attempted a one of these steeper slopes I found my self sitting back comfortably on my heels. I would transfer my weight, begin to point the board down hill, gather speed and then cut back into the hill…back on my heels. Over and over again I used this technique. What was going on here? I was afraid of being out of control. Afraid of falling. Afraid of hurting myself.

Fear is probably my biggest challenge in life. I am often plagued by fits of anxiety and my sentiment seems constantly overcast my fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. Fear of loneliness. I do my best to challenge these fears, to carve forward, onto my toes. Sometimes I momentarily am out of control, vulnerable. Occasionally I fall, and from time to time I get hurt. But I only truly feel failure when I reach the bottom of the mountain without ever even having attempted a toe side turn.

1 Comment
  1. March 31, 2009

    okay this is sort of random since it’s been so long, so first off, hi bryce, um yeah i read your blog occasionally. :0) glad to see you’re doing well. second, i was just in tahoe for spring break and it was my 3rd time snowboarding ever so i rely on my back edge a lot. and then my thighs burn. like hell. i have this fear of trying to catch a front edge because 1) having my back face the bottom of the mountain is a horrifying thought 2) fear of falling. so, i’m glad to see that i’m not alone here – AND to share this fear with mr. entrepreneur here? sweet! haha.
    – renee chen (middle/high schoolmate)

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