I've always been a quick learner.
Unfortunately, sometimes (read: almost always) made me overconfident. Hence, when my 16-year self decided to learn how to snowboard, he decided to SKIP all forms of training.
Might not have been the best idea...
"...are you nuts?" Dad asked as I checked the box for "Snowboard" as my family began getting their equipment.
"Yeah, I want to try something new," I told him, trying to figure out what goofy-footed meant. I figured I was pretty goofy, so I checked that box too.
"Whatever. It's your head," Dad muttered as he went to go collect his skis. An unfortunate prediction, as it turned out.
We were all fairly good skiers, having been taught by a Polish foreign exchange student a few years back; I'd learned the quickest, but was slowly losing my bragging rights as the rest of the family caught up to my level of expertise. Hence the snowboard. Also, I was curious about it--my lab partner in college was an avid snowboarder, and I'd heard enough about it to want to try it. It couldn't be that hard, right?
I had my gear and was out the door before the rest of my family had their act together. "Where are you going?" Mom called after me.
"Meet you on the slopes!" I yelled back, making a beeline for the nearest ski lift before she could order me back.
I definitely preferred being on my own for first attempts at...well, anything. My family was great, but they would tease me mercilessly if they saw me wipe out. By the time they came out, I was at the top of the hill and deciding which side to ski down. I settled on a blue hill--not as easy as the green beginner hills, but I figured the black hills would be a bit too hard for a beginning snowboarder. I pushed off.
The first twenty feet were great. I even managed a gentle turn, before trying to cut back the other direction. I cut and...
...woke up a few minutes later, flat on my back with my head ringing. Really glad Mom didn't see that.
I checked my watch, verifying that I'd only knocked myself out for a few minutes instead of, say, an hour. Apparently, the back edge of my board had caught the snow, slamming me on my back so fast I never even realized I needed to catch myself. Fortunately, the ice had kept the massive lump on the back of my skull down to manageable conditions, so I dizzily pushed myself to my feet and set off again, wiping out about every 30 feet.
Finally, I made it to the bottom and wobbled my way over to the ski lift. The ride back to the top cleared my head somewhat, so the next hill (a green--I used my head for something other than blunt-force trauma for once) went easier...easier here meaning I fell every fifty feet instead of every thirty. Not being a quitter, I headed back up to the top, deciding that I'd definitely been concussed on the way up when I almost fell off the chair.
Oh well, what can ya do.
I started down the next hill, and was on my best stretch yet (100 feet!) when I heard yelling and hollering. From...above? I looked up and went board over head into the nearest snowbank. I rolled over and looked up.
"RADAR! RADAR! RADAR!"
Ahh, Dad and Squirrel on the ski lift. I should have guessed. "What?" I snapped back angrily.
They both smiled angelically. "Don't wipe out," Dad suggested before they both dissolved into laughter.
Unfortunately, the snow was too powdery for decent snowballs, but that didn't mean I didn't try. Trolls. I picked myself back up and gave it another try. And another. And another. For about an hour.
Finally, I threw in the towel. My head hurt wayy too much for another shot at this. I figured (and subsequent days proved) that I'd figured out how to do it, but my dizziness and headache was preventing me from actually pulling it off. Plus, I was pretty sure I'd sprained my wrist about a half an hour ago. I returned to the ski lodge front desk.
"Hey, can I swap this out for some skis?" I requested.
"Sure thing! Can't figure this out?" the man asked, not unkindly.
"Pshh, I'm doing fine," I lied unconvincingly. "I'd just like to...um...practice both today."
The man pretended to believe me and accepted my gear back, giving me a set of skis. I got them on my feet with a minimum of attention and walked outside to switch the boots around--apparently, I'd put them on the wrong feet. Oh well.
I got back in line at the ski lift and headed back up to the top. Given my impressive record on skis and my past ability to ski black hills easily, I went to the black hill right at the front--the one facing the ski lodges below. I kicked off confidently.
...and suddenly remembered: a) I was massively concussed, b) I was dizzy (and thus couldn't turn), and c) this hill was considerably more vertical than I remembered, although that might have just been the concussion talking. Unfortunately, I was going warp factor 5 by the time those thoughts finished crossing my mind.
I was told later that Nemesis and Dad were headed up the ski lift immediately adjacent to the hill I was on. Nemesis caught sight of me--moving far faster than anyone else--and whipped his head around to follow me, so fast Dad thought he gave himself whiplash. Then he turned to Dad and asked, "Was that Radar?"
"Nah," Dad replied. "I just saw a streak, but he's not that stupid."
I taught them a valuable lesson in underestimating me. I was going so fast that snowplowing was about as effective for breaking as flapping my arms was to flying. In other words, I couldn't stop, I couldn't turn, and I couldn't fall down (again, going too fast). To my horror, I saw that I was headed...straight for the ski lodge. Lord, save your people! Specifically, this idiot!!
I may have been screeching. Fortunately, I was not on target for the wide-open door to the ski rental area--who knows when I would have stopped. Unfortunately, I was directly in line for the imposing (and very solid-looking) front log cabin wall of the lodge.
I had just registered that when my skis hit the six-foot-wide asphalt strip right in front of the lodge. They stopped abruptly. The rest of me, unfortunately, did not. And by did not, I mean my boots were ripped right out of the skis and I sailed, completely vertical, straight into the wall.
I probably knocked the lodge backwards a few feet. I definitely rebounded so hard I was thrown back to my skis, landing spread-eagled between them, half on and half off the asphalt. I decided to just lay there a bit and let the snow cool the bump on the back of my head. Interestingly enough, my face didn't hurt as much as I thought it was going to. Maybe it will later--
My musings were interrupted by an elderly gentleman walking up to me. He offered me his hand, tears streaming down his face. "Do you--hahahahahaha--need a hand up-*snort*hahahahaha--young man--hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha--I'm so sorry, but...oh, hahahahahaha I can't help it!!"
I couldn't help snickering a little myself. "No problem, sir, that probably was pretty funny." I turned my head to look around. Most of the other kids nearby were literally rolling in the snow laughing. The adults weren't much better off--most of them looked halfway ready to join their kids on the ground. I laughed, promptly regretting it as it went straight to my head. "I think I'll just rest here for a moment, sir. What do you think, I should avoid that hill today?"
That did it. He staggered off, laughing so hard he started coughing. I sighed, looking up at the sky. "Thank goodness my family didn't see that," I muttered. "Although...I'm never going to hear the end of this one."
Finally, I sat up. Most of the laughter had died down by this point, and I waved off the few others who offered assistance. I picked up my skis...
...and got back in line for the ski lift. I was nothing if not resilient. Besides, if I remembered correctly, there was a hill that had jumps on it down the back side.
Maybe I'd have better luck there?