The rumors began buzzing as early as last Wednesday. Although it was only mid-November, it was cold enough for the ski resorts to begin making snow. If the predictions were correct, our local mountain would have one trail open for the weekend.
Upon hearing this I drifted into a dreamlike state, happily reminiscing last year's snowboard contests and the blizzards, musing about how this would the winter when I would go all out. It was my turn to rule Nashoba Valley. Then, all of a sudden, I was hit in the face by reality. I was still recovering from a broken ankle, was hardly able to walk up a flight of stairs unassisted, much less control a snowboard at my usual pace. If I wanted to go riding on opening day, I was going to have to shape up. This meant doing stretches and strengthening exercises double-time.
Consumed with anticipation for the approaching season, I took my softened joint to its limits over the next three days. In addition to my exercises, I would constantly walk around the house on my tip-toes. If I was sitting still in class, I would rotate my foot. I began to skateboard rather modestly. I even made a ridiculous attempt at jogging, which resulted in a rapid limp.
At last judgement day arrived. At nine o'clock on Saturday morning, I was greeted by two of my friends at the chair lift. As I was binding my weaker leg to the board, I felt a nagging soreness, which was overcome by the sight of the white, gleaming snow which propelled me to the lift.
My first few runs went smoothly. Although I was able to ride, I quickly discovered how limited my abilities were. I was no longer able to ride switchstance because that put too much pressure on my bad ankle. I was able to get some air off of what jumps I made, but just the fact that I could not ride switch took away half of my tricks. My personal menu had now been narrowed down to a small assortment of old school grabs. I was complacent with this only because I was thrilled to even be on the mountain.
However, the day did not run by flawlessly, On one occasion as I was carving down the hill, some kid cut me off and narrowly missed me. I had to come to a sudden stop by digging my heelside edge into the snow, but I could not do it. The pressure was too great and my ankle simply gave out. After I slid to a full stop, I laid motionless in the snow in pain. Minutes later, realizing that nothing was rebroken, I slowly proceeded down to my waiting friends. I told them that my boot lace had come undone and they should go up for another run while I fixed it.
After ten minutes of recuperating, I was ready to rejoin my friends. I rode well for another hour or so until I took another spill. While I was in the air after hitting a jump, I pulled my board all the way behind my back for what is called a Method. This was one of the tricks I had been stressing all day, but somehow the landing went wrong. I was completely off balance and found myself trying to make a short stop once again, this time on my toeside. The ankle again folded and left me in more pain. I forced myself to go home before I really hurt myself. As I was leaving I thought how I was now a worse snowboarder than last year, which discouraged me only until I realized that I was now able to ride when only days before I was hardly walking straight. So, in spite of having a comparatively bad day on the hill, I was in the midst of a speedy recovery. t
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.