Thursday, April 17, 2014

snowboarding lessons in the Arctic

It was only -25 degrees and everyone could feel spring in the air! My friends were going out for their first jog of the year, or going for leisurely strolls outside, taking in all the warmth. Some went for bike rides. 

Brent and his ridiculously awesome winter bike, that he uses to BIKE ON THE FROZEN ARCTIC OCEAN. Look at those tires!

We barely knew what to do with ourselves in this unseasonable warmth. What am I supposed to wear in -25 degree weather? When was the last time I felt that? I could imagine teens going streaking in this weather.  

I decided with the warm weather, it was time to take up snowboarding. I'd never gone snowboarding before, so why not learn how to do it in the Arctic?

Where's the nearest ski resort to Cambridge Bay, you ask? Well...the whole tundra kind of is our ski resort. Just pick a hill and tear down. No expensive prices for lift tickets. We walked over to Jack's Point, mainly because it's a four-minute walk from my house and if you go any further, you're snowboarding in the dump.

Snowboarding in the Arctic surprisingly means sweating a lot, because after you snowboard down the hill, you have to walk up all those hills on your own. What, you think there are chairlifts in the Arctic wilderness? Sometimes folks on snowmobiles did stop to watch us, but not to offer their assistance in hauling us up the hill (like I secretly hoped), but rather to laugh hysterically at the sight of me, falling down the hill.

snowmobile spectators

I don't fall as much when the ground is flat.

My Canada Goose parka became unnecessarily warm during these treks. Unbearably warm in fact. Next time I'm snowboarding in my long underwear.

even little kids board better than me

Luckily, Jack's Point had a fairly comfortable slope for beginners like me, except for that cliff ridge that appears out of nowhere if you slide too far east, as I discovered on my first run down.   I eventually mastered the skill of making it to the bottom of the hill without falling once.  Except I still hadn't figured out how to turn or stop.  The problem is if you don't stop in time, you'll continue right on to the frozen Arctic Ocean ice. And then you'll just keep going...and going...until maybe you'll hit Kugluktuk on the mainland. So you gotta learn to stop.  My main method of stopping was to fall down. I'm really good at falling.

I learned a lot of important lessons. Like, contrary to what you might think about outdoor sports in the Arctic, wear less clothes.  Also, as I also learned when I surfed for the first time, balance is not really my strong point. But I had a lot of fun and I'm eager to hit the slopes again to try to learn all the other important snowboarding stuff. Like turning. And stopping. 

psssst...can you vote for our song The Longest Night for CBC Music's Searchlight Contest? Thanks!