On Sunday, December 21, I went snowboarding with Canadian assistant Lauren and five French guys at Les 7 Laux, about an hour from Grenoble. It was fun, but I definitely need to practice with my new equipment. The board I’m using is a lot narrower and faster than my board back home. And it seemed like all of France was there, because they’re on school break, so people were “schussing” past at breakneck speeds on tiny slopes overlooking cliffs. Not to mention that the slopes in the Alps would all be rated blue and above in the states, no green here to start out on! I never thought about it, but it makes more since that the Alps would be steeper than the slopes in New Mexico where I usually go on spring break. Oh yeah, and these guys I went with go snowboarding every single weekend of the winter and Lauren, being from Canada, has a lot more experience than this girl from the Plains. Nevertheless, it was beautiful and Lauren and one of the French guys, Mathieu, were nice enough to never leave me behind and never made me feel bad about being a bit slower. “Tranquille” was said to me so many times I lost count.
Despite the fact that these slopes were super scary, I didn’t see anyone being taken down in stretchers like I always do in the States. When I thought about this, I realized everyone who was there Sunday was French (I didn’t here any foreigners besides us) and they probably go all the time. Whereas on Spring Break in the States, people are coming from the lowlands of Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma and haven’t been all year, but only have a few days and want to hit all the crazy black runs. I had my share of falls, maybe more than my share, and my arms are still sore from pushing myself up from the ground. No serious injury, though, although my knees seem to have disappeared and turned into bruises.
It was ridiculous to look around and see all the mountains covered in snow, like a postcard. When we took our lunch break for sandwiches, it was at an outdoor cafe where everyone sat on beach chairs overlooking the villages down below. I didn’t make it through the whole day due to getting worn out. It’s good to go with people who are way better than me, because I have to keep up, but it’s also more challenging than if I were to go slow the whole time. Instead, I hung out with a member of our group, Quentin, who had dislocated his shoulder after whipping his arm around the wrong way. The X-ray of that was pretty horrifying. So there was coffee drinking and people watching, which isn’t bad at all in the French Alps.
I’m going to try to go snowboarding again during break, probably at the nearby Vercors mountain near Valence that I hear is a bit tamer. I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas and I still can’t believe that I’m in France, it’s going by too fast. I think I’ll be going to a Christmas market today in Montelimar. And maybe I’ll watch my Christmas on Mars DVD, which was given to me by my parents (merci!).
So that was my first day of snowboarding after not being able to go for quite a while due to work and school. I’m less sore today than yesterday and am looking forward to going out again. I’m lucky to have found people to go with who were ridiculously supportive of my beginner state. Hopefully, I’ll have some time to improve before heading out with them again.
Happy Eve of Christmas Eve!