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By Ambassador Rachel Bailo
From my start in snowboarding, I’ve always been that ‘lone-ranger’ so to speak. Am I ok with that? Absolutely. Does it bother me to have company? Of course not! The more the merrier!
Riding solo is something special to me. It’s a pure intimate, creative, emotional rollercoaster ride; all piloted by me. Succumbing to the music, and getting lost in the glades, I get in touch with myself on such a surreal level that more often than not, it feels like a dream. Each turn, jump, and spin has its own intricate part in my masterpiece. They’re so unique, that no two runs will ever be the same.
I don’t think riding alone should ever be focused on ‘how many runs can I get in today’ or nailing that trick, but more of a connection to the mountain and myself. A form of meditation if you will. I take in the energy from my surrounding elements; music, weather, snow, and terrain. Combine those with my heart and soul and I’m left with something so indescribable, so humbling.
Sound amazing? Here are my tips for those who are a bit shy about the idea of riding alone:
Tip 1: Enjoy the day. If you’re going to set any goals, make it your goal to have a great day. Forget about everything else. That’s just added stress, and that’s what we’re trying to stay away from.
Tip 2: Live in the moment. All too often we grab that GoPro or our camera and snap away. We see life through filtered lenses rather than soaking it up. Live in the moment; feel the sun on your face or the sharp bite of wind as you stretch and survey the lands.
Tip 3: Talk to people. Be a social butterfly on the lifts (at least with those who don’t creep you out)! There is nothing better than reminiscing with those veterans who are still out there killing it. They’re the living proof that it’s ok to never grow up. You only get one life, so why not enjoy it to the fullest. Also, let’s not forget the live mountain reports from those who got first chair!
Tip 4: Don’t be intimidated. So your heart is saying go to the park. Ok, do it! Don’t let those silly child-like vultures perched at the top of the park intimidate you. They’ll try to, but you’re just having too stellar of a day to let that happen. On the flip side to that: That veteran you were talking to on the chair ride up, he let you in on a secret stash off in the glades. You might want to check that out to…
Tip 5: Follow your heart, but also your intuition. Following your heart will take you to that park lap you want or that secret stash you heard about. Whichever it is, you’re heart is your soul; it’ll take you to where you want to be. The place you yearn for.
Your intuition on the other hand, never ignore that! One huge risk of riding alone is getting hurt or lost. If you’re not an experienced black diamond / glade rider, I would recommend not doing those alone. If at any point something doesn’t feel right, odds are, it isn’t. Never push the boundaries of riding in backcountry or in avalanche territory without the proper education and a buddy! And make sure you're wearing a good helmet to keep you safe.
Tip 6: Good music. Fill your ears with your favorite tunes. Because what’s better than having your favorite tunes while doing something you’re passionate about? Be sure you have some great headphones before you head out!
Tip 7: Feed off the energy. Odds are, if it’s a blue bird day, and your tunes are on point, you feel good! Feed off of that, get in sync with yourself (emotionally, and physically), as well as the mountain. Let it help create your masterpiece.
Tip 8: Fall. Don’t be afraid to fall and look like a goon! Chill out, try a press if you feel it. If you fall, just get back up! You’re just there to have fun anyways.
Tip 9: Smile when it’s all done. When the day’s all done, never walk away without a smile. Never get down on yourself because you didn’t lock in that trick you wanted. Its ok! You still got to ride, right?
Tip 10: Après. Everyone needs a good après after wrapping up a killer day, don't be afraid to Après alone! Whether it’s juice or water, a cocktail or a beer; have a drink. You deserve it.
Thanks for the great tips. I’ve been snowboarding for almost 20 years, but this season is the first time ever doing it alone and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it, but determined to enjoy every minute of it.