I may have had an unusual start to snowboarding. I’d just turned 33, didn’t snow ski, had hung up the steel-shoe synonymous with dirt-track motorcycle racing and tossed away the studded tires that are essential for motorcycle ice-racing. How was I going to get my speed ‘fix’? Where was I going to find the adrenaline rush that comes from being just on the edge of… of what?
Enter into the picture Kevin Delaney. Some of you may recognize that name as the television colour commentator during the PGS Alpine Snowboard events at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002. Kevin, and his brother Brian, owned and operated a snowboard camp for adults. It was this camp that sealed my fate during the winter of 1996. They put us into hardboots and fastened us to freeride boards with plate bindings. Three days later many of us had not only mastered getting down the Colorado slopes unscathed, but were able to do it with linked turns.
It was at this camp that I knew I was hooked. At some point during the camp at Buttermilk, I managed to get my board up on edge, albeit briefly, and felt the indescribable feeling that comes from a clean, carved turn. Not only was I hooked on snowboarding, but I’d also found my old friend, ‘the rush’. Although I didn’t make it to the slopes again that winter, I could hear them calling.
Since that first season, there has been a slow progression in my search for ‘the rush’. First came the seasons of being speed-freak. Try as I might, I just couldn’t control the speed. Then came the seasons of gear-freak. Try as I might, I just couldn’t control my spending in hopes of getting the best equipment! It wasn’t until I met up with a group of seasoned carvers that I made the next step in my progression, that of carve-apprentice. It still amazes and humbles me when I realize how little I knew about making clean, pencil-thin lines in the snow and how willing these journeymen (& women) were to offer guidance, support and even their equipment to ride.
During my carve apprenticeship I’ve learned to control speed by carving across and sometimes even up the fall line. I’ve learned to read the terrain, looking for rollers and banks that just beg to augment a rider’s carving sensation. I’ve learned how to share my equipment with those looking to give alpine boarding a try, but more than that, I’ve learned there is a whole other side to alpine snowboarding… the racecourse. This season I took my first run through the gates. Amazing. Humbling.
Suddenly my apprenticeship has taken a new direction… just when I thought I was an alpine snowboarder.
– Dave Morgan