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Tips up!

This weekend I was lucky enough to be invited to yet another snowboarding weekend at Mt. Baker organized by some coworkers. In predictable computer programmer fashion, the organizer had rented a van, rented the cabin, made an elaborate time table for picking everyone up and renting equipment at G.I. Joes (never, ever go there if you can avoid it), and essentially planned everything down to the smallest detail. Adam and I rode in his truck, leaving Kelly to snuggle in with the dudes. I asked her if she would be O.K. riding in a van full of strangers, all of them male and programmers, and she said “welcome to my life.” Point well taken. Out of all the people I know, programmers or otherwise, Kelly is easily the best choice to stick in a van full of programmer dudes she doesn’t know. I can only imagine how many of them are now deeply in love with her.

Baker was predictably awesome, and I had ample opportunity to get more comfortable being strapped to a piece of fiberglass careening down a mountainside. On Saturday night it rained buckets at our cabin in Glacier, which meant it was almost certainly dumping snow at Baker, 17 miles away and 2500 feet higher in elevation. It was, and we arrived at the mountain Sunday morning to a foot of fresh powder, with constant snowfall contributing all day long. Anyone who’s ever snowboarded in a lot of powder will know that it can be glorious or horrible, depending on your expectations and experience. On the one hand, speeding downhill while carving quick turns in that much soft new snow is a sensation almost akin to flying; certainly it feels as if you are floating, with none of the usual bumps and grinds associated with a packed-down ski trail. On the other hand, hitting a flat spot without enough speed puts you in snowboarding purgatory: you are as helpless as a newborn babe, flailing about fecklessly, unable to make any forward progress. I got trapped in this manner a couple times, and both times my heart was pounding and I was pouring sweat before I managed to thrash my way out. The worst time I actually had to take off my board and walk back to packed snow, sinking in up to my hips each step. Now that I have a better idea of how to handle the phenomenon, I absolutely cannot wait until the next time I have a chance to board in that much fresh powder. Hopefully I will have gotten around to buying my own board by then.

Odds are good that I won’t manage to post anything else before Friday, so I should mention that I’m flying to Cancun that afternoon with some of my favorite people on the planet for a week of vacation surrounded by almost my entire extended family. They kind of know what to expect.

Posted in Musings.


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