Epic tales in snowboardese

Riding ski lifts a great way to meet new people without the possibility of being stuck talking to them after the conversation sours, because eventually the lift ends.

These short interactions bring forth unique characters, too, such as the guy riding a snow-skateboard (a skateboard with a ski attached to the bottom), who broke down the whole history of the snow-skateboard during the lift ride, even as the other riders carried on their own conversations. And then there was the guy who kept explaining how his friend’s girlfriend was a slut. There are also the hard-core snowboarders who were difficult to understand, because they only speak snowboardese.

“Dude, have you bombed the mountain yet?” a hippie chick asked my boyfriend on the lift at Sierra-at-Tahoe on a recent Sunday. “How’s the powder? Is it epic?”

Well, the powder wasn’t exactly that, but it was fresh and ice-free. There were, however, other epic moments: The lines in the morning were epically long—longer than on New Year’s Day. After a couple rides on the main lift up Grandview, we decided to try the double-chair lift, which operated more slowly, but there weren’t any lines.

However, had I known I’d be left dangling from the lift, I would have opted for the crowds.

The double-chair lift inches up the mountain, but then whips around the corners, dumping off skiers and snowboarders like a model flinging her hair in a Vidal Sassoon commercial. And there isn’t a gradual decline from which to coast gently off the lift. By the time I leaned forward to push off, the snow beneath my board had disappeared and my boyfriend and I were hanging three feet in the air like a barrel of monkeys. We quickly let go, my boyfriend landing gracefully—even spicing it up with a 360.

But I landed square on my tailbone and it was painful—epically so.

Another type of character on the mountain is the beginner who thinks they’re good enough to try a black diamond. You know, the people sprinkled all over the hill with snow in their mug, beanies and goggles a few feet behind, ruining an otherwise beautiful run for expert riders.

Last Sunday, I was that beginner.

Usually, my scene on the mountain is limited to the intermediate slopes, where I can practice carving. But I was coaxed into trying a black diamond when my boyfriend assured me that, if all else fails, I could make it down “falling leaf” style.

But as I peered down the face of the first slope, I knew “falling leaf” would only bring forth a blowout. An epic blowout. Instead, I went off to the side, plopped down with my board in front of me and sledded down on my butt.

Next time, I’ll leave the epic experiences to the experts—and other naive bombers.