Why I Went Snowboarding in Cairngorm Mountain When the Wind was Blowing 45mph
So here’s the story.
Invershnecky was dreich. It was blowing a gale but the mountain was surely bonnie. Because of the weather it wasn’t awfully hoachin. We put on a pair of red salopettes. I had to nip to the loo in the middle of the lesson, and it was a bit tricky because of the salopettes. We needed some scran after all the hard workout against the wind. Steakpie was pretty good. My leg was a wee bit schoogle by the time we were finished, but och, it was fun. We decided to take the funicular railway to shuftey. It was seriously blowing a gale. Swally that night sure tasted splendid. Do you ken?
Inverness was dark and cold. It was stormy but mountain was beautiful. Because of the weather it wasn’t awfully busy. We put on a pair of red snow pants. I had to go to the bathroom in the midd of the lesson, and it was a bit bricky to get off. We needed some food after the hard workout against the wind. Steakpie was pretty good. My leg was a little bit shaky by the time we were finished, but it was fun. We decided to take the funicular railway to take a look. It was seriously stormy. My drink that night was splendid. Do you know?
Well, that is just a short summary of what happened, but here is the whole story.
I got an email from Amy, our trip organizer, with a brief itinerary. One week full of activities in a country I’ve never been? Sweet! Then I saw a word I didn’t expect: snowboarding. Mixed feelings.
Last year around my birthday (November 1st), I made a promise to myself. I’m quite active when I’m traveling. I like doing stuff outside. I’d rather go hiking than shopping in the mall, but I wasn’t in great shape either. So I looked at an imaginary mirror and said “let’s do more outdoor activities!” and high-fived myself. Naturally, that became one of my New Year’s resolutions.
When I realized that snowboarding was in the itinerary, I couldn’t help but think about my accident on the slopes many years ago. Growing up, winter sports for me was snowball fighting, snow sledding, and maybe hiking, but never skiing or snowboarding. As I was getting more into traveling, learning one or two winter sports seemed like a logical choice. So I signed up for my first snowboarding lesson at Cadrona Mountain in New Zealand. After the lesson I went to ski resorts a couple more times back in Korea.
Then one day while I was trying to hold myself together with my fixed feet on the snow, someone who probably was as a beginner as I was hit me with his board while he was falling. The edge of the board struck the back of my thigh. The bruise lasted about one month along with a deep pain. After that accident, combined with my lack of enthusiasm for any sports including speed (I hate anything moving fast), snowboarding was pretty much out of my sight.
Snowboarding in the Cairngorm Mountain was scheduled for us, but it wasn’t a mandatory. I could back out if I wanted to. The last thing the organizers would want is for one of their guests to get hurt. But I thought ‘You know what? This is the perfect excuse to get back on the slopes and get over my fear.’ On top of that, snowboarding totally fits my New Year’s resolution. So I said yes.
The first day of the new year, Matt (Expert Vagabond) who is an avid snowboarder, Lisa (our local guide), and I headed to the Cairngorm Mountain while the wind was blowing 45mph. That’s right, it wasn’t the best day to go up to the mountain as a beginner to learn how to snowboard. But when in Scotland, you can’t control the weather. The Funicular Railway that goes up to 3,500ft was closed due to the weather by the time we got there. Nonetheless, we put on our salopattes and headed up the mountain.
It’s a strange feeling, when your feet are locked on this panel of wood. Skiing I understand, but I wonder what’s the benefit of making a fixed feet position. All the questions aside, I had to learn basic skills, step by step. Funny, I never knew standing up could be this difficult. I blamed my Buddha belly. Slow but steady, I finally caught up with all the steps without any big injury. Our instructor was very encouraging. That always helps.
We had to walk up the short slope with our board many times during the lesson. The short walk made me think of a lot of things. I blamed the weather, myself for not learning earlier in life, but at the end, I felt liberated. For any reason, I don’t like having negative opinions about something, especially if it’s just because I didn’t try. It’s okay if I’m not going to be the best snowboarder in the world, but I should at least try. So far, I’m proud to say only thing I truly don’t like are carrots.
My face was as frozen as the snow in the mountain, and the wind was getting stronger, but I felt like I achieved a small victory. Executing the New Year’s resolution, successfully, on New Year’s day, doesn’t come every year. Still, I wouldn’t snowboard down the steep mountain alone anytime soon, but who knows what the future holds? I’m just hoping my resolution to do more outdoor activities continues throughout the rest of the year.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
#Thanks Lisa Anderson for the photos!
#Thanks for the warm welcome Cairngorm Mountains!
#blogmanay is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by ETAG, EventScotland, Homecoming Scotland, VisitScotland, Edinburgh Festivals, Marketing Edinburgh and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Created and produced by Unique Events. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.