Finding out you're a scorpion - and a moron

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal F.T. Norton, right, works on her turns, under the tutelage of snowboard instructor Hamish Drummond, of Heavenly Mountain Resort, Monday morning.

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal F.T. Norton, right, works on her turns, under the tutelage of snowboard instructor Hamish Drummond, of Heavenly Mountain Resort, Monday morning.

Four years ago, Teri Vance and I decided to take a skiing lesson during a media day at Kirkwood. It was horrific. The boots hurt, and the instructor made me see red rats. Within a half hour of the lesson, the boots were off, and I was smoking a Marlboro.

We vowed then to take a snowboarding lesson because those boots looked comfortable.

That promise happened Monday at Boulder Lodge at Heavenly Nevada.

Guess what? The boots weren't torture, and the instructor was an angel. There can't possibly be on this earth another 22-year-old kid as patient and encouraging and just plain kind. Hamish Drummond would be an all-American boy, if only he weren't from Auckland, New Zealand.

The lesson was great and not at all difficult.

When it was over, Teri and I took the chairlift to the top. I felt confident with what I'd learned. Plus I had the pants and the sunglasses.

Want to know how I got down the mountain? On my face, my butt, my knees, my elbows. Like a scorpion and a moron. I was pretty sure I was going to kill someone. I had no idea what I was doing, but knew I was capable of getting up enough speed to hit a tree and die. I would stand and stumble. Snowboard and bite it. If I had breast implants, I would have popped them.

Eventually, I got to the bottom.

After that one run, Teri and I decided to call it a day.

The aftermath sucks. I can't raise my arms more than shoulder height. To turn my head to the left or right is painful.

Teri's legs hurt. Mine don't. But my knees are bruised, and so is my took us. I think my elbows are, too, but like I said, I can't raise my arms high enough to look.

A friend told me on Tuesday I would feel worse on Wednesday. She was right. Sleeping was awful. Every time I rolled, I rolled into aching muscles.

Wednesday morning when I opened my eyes, I was pretty certain I was paralyzed. Good thing the dachshunds needed to go outside, or I'd still be lying there.

If you think you want to try snowboarding, just be prepared for the aftermath. If someone had suggested I stand in one spot so they could beat me with a bat, I think I would have fared better.

Yet still, there was something about it that makes me want to try again. Maybe as the aching subsides, I'm losing my mind. Or maybe the blurred vision was really from a concussion. Whatever the case, I've learned the toughest part of all of this whole adventure is the yearning to do it again.

If you go

To learn more about skiing or snowboarding lessons at Heavenly Mountain Resort, visit www.skiheavenly.com or call (775) 586-7000.

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