Five days of boarding

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Maybe I didn't have the patience, or possibly I lacked the talent, but after a season of trying to master skiing I decided that I would attempt snowboarding this winter.

New Year's Day was my fifth time on a snowboard and while I'm not doing 360 tailgrabs, I can make it down an average run with minimal difficulties. I'm no expert, but here's a joke a ski instructor told me yesterday when I shared the lift with her. "You want to know the difference between a beginning snowbaorder and an instructor? Two days on the mountain." So here is the instructional guide I call "David Pressgrove's Guide to Snowboarding in Five Days."

Day 1: Supplies needed -- One very well insulated helmet along with all of the normal equipment, i.e. snowboard, boots, gloves, etc. Additional needs: extra padding for your hindquarters, one bottle of ibuprofen and a month of yoga classes before going on the mountain.

The first day will involve several crashes that could be better described as, "The kind of scene that if videotaped could be sent into America's Funniest Home Videos."

There is absolutely no way to fall gracefully on a snowboard when one "catches an edge." At least for me on the first day, there was rarely enough warning to put my hands out. That is why a helmet is so important. There is absolutely no reason not to have a helmet the first couple of days because if you're too cool to wear one, this column may be kind of blurry because of brain damage. Yoga may also be a good thing to practice before attempting to board because I've only seen the positions that my body ended up in on Day 1 one other time -- when my mom practiced yoga in our living room. The majority of pain will be in your neck from landing on your head. Total ibuprofens needed to numb the pain: four every four hours for the next day.

Day 2: Supplies needed -- Same equipment as before with only a half-bottle of ibuprofen. Make sure you don't wear anything that identifies you, like a jacket with your home address on it. There will be similar results as Day 1, but eventually the turns will come easier and quicker. The reason you don't want to wear a coat with your name on it is because on Day 2 you'll be going along when you think you have it down, lose control and run into somebody. Without identification, it makes it harder for someone to hunt you down after recovering from the injury you've caused by running into them. The majority of pain will be in your arms and shoulders from catching your falls because by Day 2 you'll recognize when you are going to fall. Total ibuprofens needed: two every six hours for the next day.

Day 3: Supplies needed -- Basic equipment and a locket with room to put a piece of paper in it. My Day 3 was spent going from making wide turns to narrowing them down. With this, the speed picks up, which led to two or three times where I went down and it hurt so bad I questioned why I was getting back up. That is why I suggest having a locket. After the spills that take 15 minutes to recover from, open up the locket that contains a message you've prepared that reads, "One day you'll be so good, chicks will dig you," or "Get back up you wimp, you can't get better if you liethere." Those inspiring words will help you get back up, spit the snow out of your mouth and point the board back down the mountain. The majority of pain will be in your ribs from landing on your side unexpectedly a couple of times. Total ibuprofens needed: two every eight hours for the next day.

Day 4: Supplies needed -- Basic stuff and your driver's license. Day 4 for me might be different than yours, but I went on a fresh powder day with powder up to my knees. It was like I had training wheels on and I couldn't fall. There were maybe two bad falls but the snow was so soft it felt nice. The drivers license comes in handy because after three days of being completely exhausted from falling, Day 4 will allow you enough energy to sit down at the nearest bar and enjoy an adult beverage. (If under 21, I would suggest a Henry Weinhard's root beer or cream soda.) The majority of pain, if Day 4 isn't a powder day, will be in the tailbone and hip area due to the occasional slip of the board from under your feet. Total ibuprofens needed: maybe one or two, but don't combine them with alcohol.

Day 5: Supplies needed -- Basic equipment and a foam finger -- you know one of those with the index finger extended to say your sports team is Numero Uno. Day 5 should be one that you smile a lot. The turns should come easy and you may even be able to keep up with your more experienced friends. On the last run of the day, take out the foam finger and chant, "I'm No. 1," as you go down the slope because you've earned that chance.

Next week -- "David Pressgrove's Guide to Landing a 360 on the Half Pipe in Five Days."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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