My favorite part of snowboarding is the lift. That time spent on the chair, heading up a mountain. It can start off chaotically: Skiers and riders shuffling through a long line, the chair whipping around the corner and scooping you up. And then off you go.
It gets really quiet. Eventually, just the sound of the cable running over each tower, boards and skis scraping snow down below. I don't meditate (and really should) but this works just as well.
Aboard the Flyer chair toward another world at Jay Peak, Vermont.
It can also be transformative. Clear, calm and warm at the base can slowly turn into a white-out, high-wind, freezing maelstrom at the summit. Maelstrom. There's a word I need to utilize more [Ed: Maelstrom actually means a large, swirling body of water. So, poor choice here.] Anyway, that near-instant change in environment is downright magical. It can shift drastically between runs. And that's okay—exciting, even.
I grew up in Vermont and never skied. Which is a bit like growing up in Hawaii and never surfing. Or growing up in Antarctica and never ice fishing. Has anyone ever grown up in Antartica? I picture it more of a place one can only visit. Anyway, hockey took up most of my time during the long winters of my childhood, so all of this is new to me. Having just started snowboarding a little over a year ago, I'm proof that it's never too late to get out there.
Even if for the chair ride up alone.