. . .Okay, I actually didn't break my arm. But I do have a ton of bruises. And it got you to click on this link, didn't it?
I have never snowboarded before.
I skied once. I was nine and went with the family of a friend. They ditched me the second we got there and left me to fend the mountain by myself. It was fairly traumatic. I never had any desire to hit the slopes again.
So, while I was a mean sledder as a youngster, I am as novice as they come when it comes to winter sports.
While covering the X Games in Aspen, I was "strongly encouraged" by my bosses to learn how to snowboard. And, as if that wasn't bad enough, I was, ahem, advised to film this experience.
Just what every girl dreams of. Making a fool of herself on camera for thousands of people to see. The things I do for this blog.
I am fortunate enough to have the expertise of my friend Shandi, a former snowboarding instructor. And she's from Utah. Obviously she's going to be good at snowboarding. Obviously.
We're joined by Shandi's friend Steve. Also from Utah. I'm not particularly confident about my own abilities but I am confident in those I am learning from. Not sure that this will help me when I face plant into a tree but at least they'll know the right things to say to the trauma team.
We head up the mountain on Saturday afternoon. It's a perfect day outside. Unfortunately everyone in the Aspen area seems to think so too. We have to wait in line just to get on the chairlift.
Once we're finally on the lift, I remember how much difficulty I had simply getting off the chairlift earlier in the week. Panic mode sets in. I am going to die in Aspen. I hope it's quick and painless. And doesn't involve mountain lions.
We finally reach the top of the mountain. Time to get off the chairlift. I clutch on to Shandi's arm like a five-year-old in a haunted house. The lift operator seems to sense my fear. Or see the look of death on my face. Either way, he stops the lift so I can slowly get off.
Embarrassing? Sure. But nowhere near as embarrassing as falling off and getting knocked over in front of the crowd of people at the top of the mountain.
We sit in the snow as Shandi and Steve try to explain to me how to strap into my board. I find this quite challenging. I probably should see this as an omen for the rest of my afternoon. I do not.
After several minutes, I attempt to stand up on said board. Turns out I can't even stand independently. Wow. This is demoralizing.
Shandi and Steve grab either side of me and force me down to an area they assure me is the equivalent of a bunny hill.
We get to the area. It is most definitely not like the bunny hill I was hoping for. I try not to cry.
Turns out we have to make it down to the bottom of the mountain. That's 2,000 feet. That may seem like common sense to you, and every other person on the planet, but it just never occurred to me. I kind of thought we would hang out on a hill designed for little kids, take the lift down and then hang out in a hot tub with fun adult beverages. Begin pinching my arm so I don't cry.
I am informed there is a part of the hill where I can practice before we make our descent. All I have to do is make it about 50 feet down and then a moving tow line will pull me back to the top.
While I am able to awkwardly bumble my way down, I can't figure out how to grab onto to the aforementioned line to bring me back up. I try to grab a handle. My glove gets caught in something that I have yet to identify. I fall to the ground. Next thing I know I have flipped over and my snowboard is now being dragged by the line. A muscle in my leg that I didn't even know I had has most certainly been pulled.
Did I mention I hate snowboarding?
After untangling myself and watching my life flash before my very eyes, we decide maybe the tow line isn't right for me. I may not be ready to take on the mountain but our options and time are limited.
I spend the next 45 minutes in a pattern of attempting to stand up, awkwardly trying to find my balance, making it about 200 feet and then falling over. It's a humiliating process.
Defeated, I fall to the ground and ask how much longer it will take to make it down to the bottom. Shandi and Steve look at each other with a look that is mixed with sympathy and pity. They finally tell me it will be another hour. I fall back to the ground.
I contemplate faking an injury in hopes of getting put on the back of a snowmobile. Come to think of it, my leg is kind of killing me.
Decide that I'm better than that. Steve offers to give me a piggyback down the rest of the mountain. I jump at the chance. Literally.
Sure. I may be a quitter. But at least I'm alive. And I made it down the mountain using the least amount of energy ever. And in record time. So in my mind, I'm a winner. Isn't that the American way?
The people at the bottom of the mountain, hoping to see their favorite X Games athletes, also seem to think I'm a winner. They yell all sorts of comments I can't repeat here as we gracefully glide past.
So in conclusion, this snowboarding thing is a piece of cake. Maybe I'll try the SuperPipe tomorrow. I bet my bosses would like to see that on film.