Snowboarding (on) Rocks

During high school, my friends and I were into snowboarding, but most of us couldn't afford to go to the "fancy" ski hill in town. We heard rumors though.

Rumors of a hill that was connected to the ski hill property, but wasn't active -- no lifts, no grooming, no floodlights, no people, and best of all, no fee. We knew we'd be in for a long climb by foot up the hill, but were hopeful that the ride down would be worth the effort. And hey, we were kids, effort is easier to come by than money, so off we went.

When we got there, we saw the truth -- the hill was rough. It needed a lot of work, but they had put up the posts for a ski lift. It just wasn't finished yet. It took us about 20-30 minutes to climb the hill. And about 3-5 minutes to slide down it, assuming we stayed upright. Remember the lack of grooming part? Turns out, a big part of grooming hills is not just smoothing down the snow, it's removing the junk -- like logs, branches, boulders, filling groundhog holes and other things. We had none of that, so rides often were cut short by someone hitting a log, skidding off a boulder, or flipping face first when catching an edge on a tuft of grass. Eventually, we got the hill packed down enough that we could kind of see rough danger zones delineated by the craters caused by big falls. It became a game to thread through them. Hey, I never said we were smart kids.

We spent the entire day climbing the hill over and over until the sun set. Bruised, battered, and exhausted, we vowed to return and do it again. We repeated the trip a few more times, but never really recreated that first experience.