Originally Posted by Pensrud
31 y/o Californian who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. First couple years I skied (10 & 11), and only went a handful of times with Boy Scouts. Over the next years transitioned to snowboarding and preferred renting boards in order to demo and learn what was best for me.
At 19 joined the Army, was stationed in Texas, and who'd a thunkt it, that Texas/New Mexico would be where I would really improve and learn to shred like I always wanted to. The only resort in the area was Ski Apache, a small resort in Ruidoso, New Mexico, 3.5 hours away doing the speed limit. 2.5-ish if doing 100+ mph wherever possible and completely disregarding speed limits. Good times. Most of the Indians working/running the resort were super unfriendly. But, some were great. I learned every little nook and cranny of the resort, and learned to love it and respect it for being a reservation ski resort, and for the historical aspect of it, imagining how the land was years prior. One day after riding I drove over to Roswell to look for aliens (hilarious little town actually), and another day I went to white sands national monument and snowboarded the Gypsum sand dunes with stealth fighters flying over head. Pretty awesome.
After a few 30+ days a year there, for two+ years, combined with road trips up to Colorado, and trips back to california (Tahoe) on leave, really got the hang of snowboarding, and it became my favorite thing in the world to do, along with fishing. Got out of the Army, moved to Sacramento, and helped run the Ski and Snowboard Club at sacramento state, leading ski trips to Whistler, bus trips to various tahoe resorts, contributing to video premieres for Forum and others, and helping with ski swaps. REally learned to love the Ski and snowboard industry, so much so I majored in business and commercial recreation and tourism. Spent some great days leading bus trips and and teaching others to ride. My favorite thing to do. Love watching someone who thinks they are awesome at everything, suck, work at it, and eventually get it, but hopefully with my guidance, faster than with a class.
On the mountain, frequent the park, big kickers (45 ft+ preferred), steeps and cliffs, and trees. Snowboarding allows me to do some pretty stupid, yet totally awesome, gut wrenching, and adrenaline inducing undertakings. Love it. Whistler, BC, large cliffs, steep chutes. WOW. Do Whistler Blackcomb!!
I now live in Switzerland in the heart of the alps. I am close to St. Anton am Arlberg, (Flims Laax Falera), Silvretta Montafon, Damuls, Solden, Ischgl, Lenzerheide, St. Moritz, and the list goes on. I have over 1,000 large and small resorts within a few hours drive, and can take the train direct to some and public transportation to others. Never needing to drive. Just got back from California and added two new boards to the quiver, a Never Summer Legacy 166, and a Libtech Skate Banana 159 W.
When not in the resorts, I am snowshoeing back country with my Swiss guide friends. They rock the skis with felt slip-ons to the top, I hike up on my MSR Lightning Ascents, with my snowboard on my Salewa 18L backcountry pack. Here in Europe, free-riding and hochtouren (high-moutain tours in English) are really popular. Awesome to get out into the alps with my guide friends, with my Mammut Barryvox Beacon on, and to spend an entire day hiking up these amazing slopes and peaks, to ski/snowboard down, completely alone. Very common here. Must say, pretty awesome. Some friends do it several times a week and seldom go to resorts.
If you ever want any tips of resorts and hotels to visit in the Vorarlberg, Tirol, Ostschweiz (East Switzerland) area, send me a message and will help you as best I can. Cheers, and pray for pow. Winter is around the corner!