Margaret Hair: Limping in a winter wonderland | SteamboatToday.com

Margaret Hair: Limping in a winter wonderland

Margaret Hair

Steamboat Springs — Sitting at my desk, poking the giant welt that used to be my left knee with a pencil, I'm trying to think of something that I've been more of failure at than snowboarding. — Sitting at my desk, poking the giant welt that used to be my left knee with a pencil, I'm trying to think of something that I've been more of failure at than snowboarding.

— Sitting at my desk, poking the giant welt that used to be my left knee with a pencil, I’m trying to think of something that I’ve been more of failure at than snowboarding.

Nothing comes to mind.

Minor stumbles – slicing my hand open with a chopping knife my first night in Steamboat, almost having to retake jogging in college, confusing “McCartney” and “McCarthy” more than once in print – don’t seem to stand up to the fact that Saturday, it took me almost two hours to get down a green run.

How did I even get bruises going that slow? Doesn’t seem like it should be possible. But they’re there, all red and blue and green and painful. And they’re sure to stay for most of this crazy, six-month winter.

I’m trying to tell myself that this will be like anything else that’s difficult to learn. That snowboarding will be like cooking a really killer cheesecake, or memorizing the Mozart clarinet concerto, or picking up enough random colloquial knowledge to do the New York Times’ Sunday crossword.

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And directly after telling myself those things, I’m telling myself to stop being such a huge awful liar – snowboarding is absolutely the most unnatural recreational activity I can think of (except maybe for the guys on ESPN who pull semi-trailers with chains. That’s just subhuman).

The real pain is that I have to learn. I don’t have a choice. I’ve already spent all the extra money I had on renting a snowboard and boots, and getting outfitted in all the warm, waterproof gear that makes the reality of being facedown in snow for hours at a time a little more bearable.

What I keeping hearing is that the learning curve here is steep. So if I step up and go for it, forget that I’m terrible, sailing down a mountain with my feet strapped to a board won’t seem insane. If I can be optimistic about it, Colorado winter will be fun.

Well, my knee is still squishy. I’m not optimistic about that.

Here’s what I’ve come up with to keep me going to the mountain until this becomes anything resembling enjoyable: Not knowing how to snowboard is the hardest thing about my life in Steamboat Springs. And if playing in the snow is the biggest obstacle I’ve got, I’ll keep doing it.