On the first weekend of March, we took off on Friday after work in pursuit of snowy pastures. We had a weekend booked at Geihoku Kokusai in Hiroshima prefecture, and a weekend rental of a cottage and snowboarding equipment…the cottage was an excellent pine cottage in the woods style. But without any Gothic horror vibes. We chilled out in the warm rooms, cooked in the very narrow kitchen, and warmed up in the sauna.
We travelled this weekend with Kate, Joe and Nic, all of whom have some previous experience of life on the snow. Dan and I were complete novices, with no real clue of how to actually snowboard, bar the 15 minute YouTube video we watched. I was prepared for pain and laughs and eventually conquering the art of snowboarding…but it is fair to say I was feeling pretty nervous about the experience after one of my teachers told me the first time she went snowboarding she broke her hip bone! Nice.
The actual experience was more painful than I had envisaged. Although, I mercifully did not break a hip. But I did come away with knees that looked like they belonged to 100 year old dead woman. I am also pretty sure I gave myself whiplash. But the pain was worth it right, for the beauty of gliding down the glistening white mountain? Well, I wouldn’t really know, as I slid, rolled, galloped, twisted, and occasionally snowboarded and then panicked and fell, down the mountain. There was very little glamorous gliding from me! I even face planted the ice a few times, real nice.
Dan on the other hand has a new hobby! He loved it and picked it up really quickly, thanks to those five minutes of skateboarding he did as an enthusiastic teen. So whilst I was sat on the snow picking ice out of my face, cradling my blackening knees and mood, he was cruising by shouting words of encouragement, like ‘whhheeeeoooohoooooossosososososssssssswaaaaaahhh, isn’t this FUN?!’ Such fun. I really wish I could have done it. It really did look fun! Just from my angle, the fun came with a world of pain, which basically removed the F-U-N elements from snowboarding. Still, Dan enjoyed it and looked pretty damn cool as he glided down the mountain with a casual air of winning at life.
There was this one moment where I managed to not fall for about two minutes. It was pretty cool as I slide past other people face down in the snow, and felt momentarily like maybe I had got this. We then decided to take on a different run, so that I could enjoy the view from the very top of the mountain peaks and get a longer run in to show off my newfound skills and misplaced confidence. The lift up there was beautiful, heading through a pine forest, surrounded by peace and quiet. At the top, we could see the snowy peaks of Hiroshima prefecture for miles and miles, glorious. Then I had to snowboard down…
It is fair to say that I mostly rolled. In fact, at times I felt like I was auditioning for a Tom & Jerry sketch, where I became a human snowball, seeking devastation. In the end, the only one devastated was me! I didn’t get the part in the sketch or the chance to snowboard. Still, the others had a brilliant weekend and really honed their quite impressive skills. Joe and Nic even took on an expert run and survived to tell the tale! They were on skis and reminded me of those fast moving Bond villains in one of the 1980s versions of the films. Dan looked pretty swish in a purple 1980s style snow suit, perhaps also with echoes of Bond villinary, especially whilst cruising down the mountain at impressive speeds, whooooooping whilst he went. Kate proved to be an excellent snowboard teacher, as it is thanks to her that I was able to stand at all! She was also a very good snowboarder, managing to spend most of her time on two feet.
Overall, it was a fun weekend but I think I a better sticking to what I know…a beer in the cafe reading a good book. Yep, that was where I retired to after two failed hours on day one and a fair amount of pain. The beer soothed, the book distracted in the only way books can. My human snowball was my finale on day two, and I think it is safe to say, it was my finale. Next time, perhaps I will try skiing?
What could possibly go wrong…