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Return of the Quasar (Day 2)

Updated on April 25, 2020
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My first real day snowboarding in four years. This is how it went.

To read the previous hub, Day 1, please visit this link:

My class.  Clockwise; me, Coach Jason, John, Vincent, Emily.
My class. Clockwise; me, Coach Jason, John, Vincent, Emily.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Because I went to bed so late the night before, I had trouble getting up. As it was, I didn’t sleep very well; most likely because of anxiety and anticipation. But it turned out to be a GOOD thing I’d brought my sleeping bag and flannel nightgown! The camp didn’t provide full-on bedding as it had in the past, and the night was very cold; the air is so bone-dry, it doesn’t hold heat well. I’d probably better buy some Vaseline at Govy General. Anyway, dealing with hot flashes was heavenly; all I had to do was throw off the covers (the camp provided blankets).

But I was still the first up. I rose at 6am, and followed my usual custom of making coffee for everyone. This time, I added local honey to it (I’d asked permission to do so the night before, at Timberline Lodge). I had bought the honey at a grocery store while I was touring Portland with Jim. I had ordered it over the web 2 weeks before, intending to use it before coming; I had discovered eating local honey prevents allergies, and I had no wish to repeat the miserable experience I’d had here in 2007, when I suffered from allergies for 3 days. But the honey arrived right when I was to leave for camp (on a Sunday, when I could not pick it up at the post office), so I sent it back and bought it right there in Portland. It’s from Eugene, which Jim told me is the allergy capital of Oregon. Hopefully it will protect me, even though I haven’t had a chance to eat any yet.

Everyone appreciated my making coffee, though some went to the Coffee Shack in town and bought a more expensive concoction. They most likely are used to driving through an espresso stand every day.

Breakfast was between 8:10 and 8:40, at which time we were to meet at Cobra Dogs to catch vans to the slopes, beating the youth crowd. We brought our snowboard gear with us to Boardwalk, and made our lunches before getting our breakfasts. There, I saw my roommate Krista, who had never showed up last night. “Where were you?” I asked her.

“I live in town,” she answered. Lucky her!

Lucky me too, since I now had the whole room to myself.

Inside Timberline Lodge, getting ready for the slopes
Inside Timberline Lodge, getting ready for the slopes
Top of Magical Mile lift.
Top of Magical Mile lift.
Pop's Group
Pop's Group
Me, in my hologram goggles.
Me, in my hologram goggles.
Looking up to Mt. Hood
Looking up to Mt. Hood
View from top of Magical Mile chairlift
View from top of Magical Mile chairlift
High Cascade Snowboard Park sign
High Cascade Snowboard Park sign
View of HCSC snow park
View of HCSC snow park
A snowboarder catching some air
A snowboarder catching some air
A member of the digging crew
A member of the digging crew
Catching serious air
Catching serious air
Riding a box
Riding a box
Riding a narrow box
Riding a narrow box
Edge of the glacier
Edge of the glacier

After breakfast, the staff loaded our gear on top of two vans, we climbed in, and set off. Once at Timberline Lodge, we tightened our boots, stretched, got our lift tickets and collected our gear, then set off to the slopes. Because it was so late in the season, we didn’t need to strap on our boards to ride the Magical Mile chairlift; when we reached the top, we walked off. I thought to myself this was ideal for someone who was new to snowboarding, so they wouldn’t have to ride down that steep ramp with only one foot strapped in – a situation I have never gotten used to.

The weather was windy and nippy at Timberline resort, and was even more so while riding the lift, so it’s a good thing I’d brought my warm Bonfire suit. I wore my new camp t-shirt with it, and a silver matching petticoat under the accompanying tutu. I also sported hologram goggles I’d gotten off eBay several years before; they depicted the 2002 Olympics. Fortunately the hologram hadn’t faded yet; the glasses I’d bought with huge eyes back in 2008 had done so, which is how I discovered holograms don’t last forever. Everyone admired my outfit and goggles, and when it was time to take pictures of our coaching groups, they wanted me to be in all the shots. I was flattered!

I expected we would all take a warm-up run on Magical Mile, which is ranked for beginners, but instead we hiked up the ramp to the Palmer lift, strapped on our boards, and rode to the top. Perhaps this wasn’t an ideal time for new snowboarders, after all. Besides, High Cascade doesn’t even have their Soft Start program this session.

I dismounted the chairlift with no mishap – relief! True, the Palmer exit is virtually flat, but I still find it unnerving. I remembered something I had been taught a long time ago; if you slide the heel of your free foot slightly over the edge of your snowboard, it’s easier to make heel turns. You can also make toe turns by doing the same with your toes.

We all grouped around our coaches. The people in my class were John, Vincent and Emily. John and Vincent both rode goofy (right foot forward) while Coach Jason, Emily and I rode regular. “We’ll leave our backpacks up here and do a couple of laps,” Jason told us. Our backpacks contained lunch, water, sunscreen, and various other items. Leanne, my other roommate, had given me 70 SPF sunscreen, which proved VERY necessary; not only was I getting a full scale assault from the sun, but by its reflection on the snow as well. My phone and camera were in the thigh pockets of my snowboard pants; shred outfits house them in strategic places that are the least likely to get hit if the person falls. My gray jacket has a pocket on my right shoulder; Coach Justin from my HCSC session in 2008 even had pockets on his pants behind his calves, where he kept his lunch!

If only I’d thought of using my thigh pockets during my holiday vacation in 2009! My Bonfire outfit doesn’t have a shoulder pocket, and I’d had my camera in the standard one. I wound up breaking it when I wiped out trying to mount a table. Thus, I had to buy a new camera; however, this one was even better quality, and it cost me less than half as much ($135 at Sears, versus $289 at Costco).

Back to snowboarding. After leaving our backpacks in a pile, Coach Jason talked with us. “When was the last time you went snowboarding?” he asked. All the others stated a few months. “Two and a half years,” I told him, referring to the time I did a couple runs on Mauna Kea. It had gotten only 4 inches of snow, but I was so desperate, I went up anyway. Except the backs of my bindings broke off my ancient board! That’s why I had gotten in only 2 runs.

“What do you remember about snowboarding?” Jason asked us.

No one else answered, so I did. “Sit on the toilet, don’t smell it,” I responded, and they all laughed.

“I’ve never heard that one before,” said Jason.

“I found out the hard way that the backs of your bindings help you with that stance,” I explained, telling them about my experience on Mauna Kea. “So actually, the last time I snowboarded was 4 years ago, not 2 ½. That means I’ll be the class klutz, even though I have the biggest mouth in the group.”

“You’ll do fine,” Jason reassured me. “We’ll take things easy today.” Then he told the class, “Remember this; when you’re on your heel edge, pee like a girl. When you’re on your toe edge, pee like a boy.” He demonstrated the stances, and we all laughed again.

We proceeded to snowboard down the steep slope. I wound up doing much better than I’d expected! I side-slipped the first few yards, but was able to link heel and toe turns. We met at a couple of spots mid-slope, then returned to the bottom of Palmer lift for another round. I was the slowest one, but no one minded at all.

After a few runs, we entered the HCSC Park for lunch. Jason gave us an overview of its features, saying we would try some tomorrow. We wound up lapping through the park until the Palmer lift closed at 2pm. I noticed even though this was Session VI, Mt. Hood had a lot more snow than it had when I came for Sessions IV and V in 2007. Back then, we had to remove our boards and walk from the park to the top of Magical Mile run. This year, Mt. Hood had been blessed with a heavy snowfall the previous spring. I found, much to my delight, that I could still ride switch; I traded off heel and toe edges while heading for the Palmer lift.

The HCSC Park closes at 3pm, though riders can leave anytime after 1:30pm. Youths have to wait at the bottom of the park until they could find a staff member to ride down with. We adults had to do the same that first day, but afterwards we were free to go on our own. I find that a good rule; that way, you don’t have to worry about anyone being left behind, and after the first day, adults should be able to find their way.

We shredded to the bottom of the hill, during which time I finally faced Magical Mile. It was a nightmare! Though the slope was gentle, the snow was so heavy I was wallowing in it. I kept catching my edge and falling; I could only stand up on my toe edge, then it was really hard to get going again. Patches of dirt slowed me down; my first session here, I found them comforting, but here they posed a menace, since they threw me. Now I know why we didn’t take a warm-up run here! This is definitely not a good time for beginners! It’s better to come to an earlier session, and deal with Magical Mile’s steep exit ramp!

When we got to the edge of the snow field, we had to remove our boards and walk several yards to the parking lot. There we checked in with a staff member, then rode a van back to camp.

Afternoon activity for adults was a hike by Clear Lake. Wanting to practice skateboarding, I checked the afternoon activity for youths; it turned out to be arts and crafts, with no skateboarding involved. Since it was very hot, and I was so tired, I figured it was just as well, so I went to Clear Lake.

We wound up not taking a hike after all. We were driven straight to the lake’s edge, and relaxed by it. Some of the men actually went for a swim! Since it was cold and breezy there, I decided not to; I spent my time stretching. Some people tossed a Frisbee, and a few played bocce ball. But for the most part, we relaxed.

We returned to Government Camp and had a pizza dinner at the Ratskeller. Normally I don’t drink at snowboard camp except on the last evening, because I’m afraid it will affect my snowboarding, but seeing all those microbrews, I couldn’t resist; I had a beer, and Chris bought me a second one. Some people played horseshoes.

After dinner, many went to Charlie’s for more drinks, but I was totally wiped out, so I walked back to Creekside and went straight to bed. But I was jubilant; my first day had went well!

To read the next hub, Day 3, please visit this link:

© 2014 Yoleen Lucas


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