A Day in the Life of Walter

April 21, 2017
By , Amery , WI

Hi everyone.  My name is Walter Reinous.  I like to think of myself as a professional snowboarder, but many of my friends would argue that we are still novices.  I have a group of four friends that I ride with.  Two of them are girls and the other two are guys.  We have been on the slopes for about 12 years now, since I was six.  Which would make me 18 years old, and a senior in high school.  Last night was the biggest snowfall of this year, about seven inches.  The snow made my drive difficult, but it will be worth it.

Sitting in the parking lot of my favorite resort, Crystalline Mountain, I can look out the car window and see the bright white slopes.  They are covered with approximately seven inches of fluffy snowflakes that sparkle, similarly to glitter.  It is 8:30 a.m. and the chair lifts haven’t started.  The first thing on my agenda is to obtain a lift ticket.  I walk into the front lobby and hand my season pass to the woman behind the register.  She scans my card and prints a pass for today.  The second thing to do is get dressed.  Into the basement I go and find a place near the window so I can look out and see the hills.

I begin with my Solomon snowboarding boots.  I slide them on and lace them firmly.  Weaving the laces under each other with every stage.  This will be my first ride of the season and my first time in these boots.  The boots are the proper size and my feet do not slide around like they did in my last pair.  Tying laces is a little more time consuming than turning the wheel of a pair of Boas, but they should last longer.  I catch a glimpse of movement from the chairlifts, and a faint creaking can be heard.  The slow turning of gears as they begin to drag the chairlifts up the long accent to the top of the hill and back down, over and over.  The final touches to my outfit are my helmet and goggles.  The sun is out, so I use the dark lenses.  On my way out, I grab my snowboard and start walking toward the hills. A friend interrupts me just before I reach the base of the hill.
“How’s it going, Walt?”   His name is Charles, and he snowboards just like me.  He even participates in many competitions and is one of the better riders that I have met.  We ride often, but we didn’t plan to meet here today.  I probably shouldn’t be surprised to see him though, because he is after the same snow that I am. 
“I’m doing quite fine myself.  How are you doing?”  I asked him.

His reply was what I expected, “I’m doing amazing.  Thanks to all this powder that we got last night.”
As we began to strap in our lead foot.  I remembered that this will be the first ride with my new boots.  “I can’t wait to get out there and ride.  This will be my first run with the new boots, so I hope the powder will be fun.”
Charles, always reassuring told me this.  “There will never be a bad day, if you receive more than a half-foot of powder.  Plus, the sun’s out; it’s too beautiful to be a wasted day.  As long as you are able to enjoy the outside.”  We finished strapping our boots into our bindings and slid down to the entrance of the chairlifts.  “Sick, we get to be the first riders up the chair today.”

“Yeah, it always feels so weird when there is no one here, but it’s also peaceful.”  He agreed with my statement.  We skated anxiously up to the line where the chair picks riders up and waited.  The chair swung around and nudged the back of my knee, causing me to sit down a bit sooner than I had planned.  Suddenly we were on our way up the hill.  The chair starts at about three feet off the ground, and at the highest point, it reaches 46 feet above the slopes. 

“So how has your week been?”  I inquired of Charles. 

“Well, the snowfall is easily my favorite.  The worst part would have to have been taking the ACT yesterday.  I feel as if I bombed it,” was his response.

“Oh?  You actually took the ACT already?  I thought you would have taken it with my school,” I asked him in disbelief.

“I guess I could’ve taken it when your school took it, but.  Someone opened the door for me to complete the test, so I took it,” offered Charles.

I groaned, “I guess that works, I just wish that you would have taken it with me.”

“Sorry, but it fit into my schedule to take it sooner, rather than later.  My family has a ton of things planned for this winter.”

As he told me this, I began thinking about what the rest of the season would look like.  I asked him, “When you say that you have a ton of things planned, what does that mean for the rest of this winter?”
Charles informed me, “My family has reservations at a resort in Fiji for the whole month of December.  So, I will be gone that whole time.  After that I have a week of free time, the 1st to the 6th.”  He paused to think.  “On the 7th of January, we leave with Phoenix as the goal, to visit our relatives that live in Arizona.” 
“Wow, you really are busy.  It must suck that the first snow arrived in the last week of October.”  I cut him a bit short because the gap below us was shrinking.

“You have only heard a portion—hey, don’t miss the landing.  It’s time to get off,” he warned me of the approaching end to the lift ride.  I rotated my board around to point the nose in the direction of the hill we planned to ride.  The ground rose up to touch the bottom of my board.  Snow crunching beneath was a pleasant reminder of all the years that I have been riding.  The snow is amazing.  It was thick due to the amount of powder, but it wasn’t warm and sticky.   

We skated over to the entrance of the hill.  The name of the hill is Jillian’s Run, and it is a double black diamond.  This run has always been one of my favorites and is one of the best hills to ride, if a large quantity of powder is available.  The hill seems to stretch on forever, you can barely see the end.  This run is approximately one-mile-long and follows an angle of about 45 degrees.

The anticipation of taking a ride down this hill causes me to rush a little more than usual.  Sometimes slipping and ending with my knee in the snow.  I finally arrive at my destination; it is on the far right of the hill, and under the only old pine.  The pine stands 60 feet tall and its branches reach ten feet out, over the run.  There is a small snow pile that works as an amazing chair.  It is actually a rock, but it still works just the same.  I take a seat and attempt to take in the magnificence this resort has to offer.  Before I can take a ride down the hill I must attach my second boot to my board.  Strapping in my back foot is always a bit annoying, especially when there is powder.  Skating leaves a pile of snow in the binding of your back foot, which needs to be removed.  This is the first thing I do before I fit my boot into my binding and strap it in.  The final clicking finalized the combination of my legs and board.    The best riders allow the board to become a part of them, which is what my goal is to become.  With my bindings snug around my boots, I stand up on my board and test the flex by rocking back on my right leg.  Lifting my left off the ground and then doing the reversed. 

“Are you done yet?” I asked Charles.  Who was still sitting on the ground next to my snow stool, staring off into the distance.

“What are you talking about?  I have been waiting for you this whole time.”  He declaimed to me in his bored and impatient voice.

I knew this was a lie.  “Don’t lie.  You were just staring off into the distance admiring the glittery hills.” 

“Well, you got me there.  I just can’t take my eyes off of them.” 

I was getting more anxious as the seconds ticked by.  “What do you say about taking a run down the hill?”

“That sounds like a great idea.  Ladies first.”  He told me in the most gentlemanly voice he could.

“I’m not admitting to being a female, but I will go first so you can’t wreck the path that I want to take.”  With that I pushed off and began to ride through the powder.  The snow pulled on the front of my board, dragging me down.  Just as I teach my students, I rode with most of my weight on my back leg to keep the nose of my board from digging into the snow.  The snow slid around my boots and felt like water, but it didn’t slow me down.  On the way down I saw a log in the perfect position to act as a nice jump. 

There are a few ways to regulate speed, my favorite is carving.  I carved to the right by bending my knees and pushing down on my toes.  To reverse the turn and go to the left, I need to rock back on my heels and allow my toes to rise off of the snow.  As I picked up speed, I can let my body sink closer to the snow.  Until my face was about a foot away.  The bottom of the hill was coming up fast so I turned into a skid to slow down.  Charles was behind me and we had a blast throughout the rest of the day.

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