Learning to snowboard at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

Learning to Snowboard at Indianhead Mountain

Friday: Road Trip to Indianhead Mountain

After work on Friday MK picked me up from the train station and we headed back to his place to wait for Emily and her friend George. We piled everyone’s stuff into the AstroVan and were off to Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan. I had but one goal for the weekend: I wanted to learn to to Snowboard at Indianhead Mountain and check it off my list of goals for 2008.

Learning to snowboard at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

After driving about halfway to our UP Michigan destination, the Garmin, our only source of direction, said that the battery was low. We had no reason to think it would go low as it was plugged in the entire time…except now upon checking, the cigarette lighter was not working. So it was off on a slight detour to go on a hunt for tools, including stopping at a couple of gas stations and finally a Wal-Mart. MattyK then took the van apart and fixed the cigarette lighter. Who can do that? We decided that he’s Superman and that George is Jimmy Olson.

Fixing the cigarette lighter in the van.

After fixing the car and finding a Burger King that was open past midnight (seriously, what’s with all the damn fast food places being closed?) we were finally back on the road just in time to make it to the cabin just after 3am and all cram into the one king sized bed that was left…

Road trip to go skiing at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

Road trip to go skiing at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan R

Road trip to go skiing at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan



Saturday: Learning to Snowboard at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

Saturday we woke up early and got ready to hit the slopes (by hit I mean literally, at least for me). We got introduced to everyone who had been sleeping when we got in, gussied up into warm layers and took off. MK was too lazy to walk down the street to the ski place so he drove us there. I then rented a snowboard and Emily and I went out to the training hill so she could teach me how to Snowboard. Em had me strap in just one foot and practice moving around like I was on a skateboard. MattyK told me I was doing way better than he did when he tried. Unfortunately, that’s about where I peaked.

We went to the training hill area and practiced going down a bit, still with only one foot strapped down. I took a little break and then was going to go back out, but we ran into the boys and they were going in to get a drink/food. I wanted to go with them because since I am so bad and they are so good I never get to see my friends when we go skiing. Hilarity ensued as we tried to find the bar and kept having to go up and down the stairs.

Skiing at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

So we sat around a bit and got food then went back out again. This time Emily and I headed to the actual bunny hill (I hadn’t even made it to the bunny hill yet!) and she strapped down both of my feat. Cue nervous breakdown. Seriously, I couldn’t stand up because when I tried to stand up I would just start sliding down. And then I’d fall again. And then that would just repeat. And then this is all while massively hyperventilating and crying.

Have I ever mentioned my intense fear of heights? (and the fact that this bunnicula hill went down a bit then was blocked off by a measly looking fence that I could easily fall through and then roll out onto the big scary hill next to it?)

Or my intense fear of not being in control? (I think I know where that one stems from and I won’t go into that…)

Or the fact that about four years ago I think I sprained my foot, never got it checked out, and haven’t been able to walk without pain since… and that snowboarding puts an awful lot of pressure on your feet? (I know I know, I should probably go to a doctor about that one…)

So yeah, combined all of those things made me an absolute wreck so I hyperventilated to the point where I told Emily that I would just go inside the rest of the day inside the ski resort and that she could go join the others to board so I wouldn’t waste her time.

Ski Resort at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

Em left, expecting me to turn in my board and just be done. I wanted to quit but I knew I couldn’t do that. I went into the bathroom and locked myself in a stall to cry to the point where my nose ring fell out on the icky floor. 🙁 I went outside and collected myself, then strapped on the board (by one foot only) and went back to the training area to practice.

I just needed to do it by myself for a while. I did the same thing when I “learned to ski” last year. I’m kind of that way with many things I guess, that I just need to be by myself and kind of practice on my own until I can get it right and figure out what I need to figure out. So I practiced for a while until I felt like I could go back to the bunny hill. But then Emily had disappeared, so I waited around until they all finally came back. So I stole her back and we practiced more going down the big scary bunny hill…but still with just the one foot strapped down 🙁

Learning to snowboard at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

Soon after we wrapped up for the day. We headed to a gas station to grab alcohol and snacks. The lady who worked there wished me a happy almost birthday. Then she did the oddest thing ever. My total came out to be $8.03. I handed her a credit card, she took three pennies from the give a take a cup and charged my card $8. Weird.

The rest of the afternoon was kind of totally boring. Basically I watched a couple of Emily’s friends play a video game. For hours. But everyone else was napping or listening to their iPods and I had absolutely nothing else to do. Then we made pasta. Two pounds of pasta. We had, for some reason, decided that this was a good idea. Two pounds is an awful lot of pasta. Especially when everyone who would eat it was asleep. Just saying.

Making pasta in our cabin at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

So we ate the pasta and then finally everyone was up so we started a game of asshole (which I still don’t understand for the life of me) but really just ended up watching Out Cold. Then we watched some Duck Tales (woo-oo). Then we called it a night.



Sunday: Our Last Day on the Mountain

Sunday we woke up early, packed up our bags, and headed back off to Indianhead Ski Resort for some quick skiing/snowboarding before heading home. First though we found out that the trunk to the Astrovan was broken and would not open, so everyone’s gear had to be loaded in through the side door (which, btw, is also broken and does not open from the inside).

Basically we went back to the mountain for about an hour and a half, which means, after having to rent a board, that I spent about 40 cents a minute to fall on my ass. Emily wanted to actually snowboard, and I don’t blame her, so she went off with the boys, leaving me to my own devices. I practiced on the little training hump for a while, and wanted to go on the bunny hill again, but there was seriously not a single other sole there, and I was afraid to go there if I was the only one there. Finally someone else went down, so I decided to go. Basically I practiced all day what Em had been teaching me the day before, which was turning your board perpendicular to stop. But by stop I kind of just knocked myself over a million times, resulting in my legs being immensely bruised today.

Of course, I still couldn’t bring myself to strap down both of my feet.

Towards the end of my time on the ski hill I actually think I was getting better and just riding. I was sick off trying to stop because then I just fell and injured myself so I just rode down the hill more before trying to stop. Of course then the fall was worse because I had more speed…

Snowboarding at Indianhead Mountain in Wakefield, Michigan

After a very short time we decided to hit the road back to Chicago. For the most part the ride was fine. Then we were stuck in bumper to bumper for a long while and couldn’t get onto 90 when we turned off. I have never seen a highway closed off for that long of a stretch! Turns out the heavy fog caused pretty massive pileups.

Finally we were back on track and on our way. We listened to some CDs then plugged in a laptop to listen to some Eddie Izzard. It made for a pretty funny setup with everything plugged in.

Road trip back to Chicago from Michigan.

I was all set to caption that picture “fire hazard”…but then it blew a fuse. Did you even know that you could blow a fuse in a car??? The radio didn’t work, none of the lights worked, the Garmin and laptops couldn’t be plugged in. Silly car. That meant that we actually had to make conversation. What’s with that?

We finally made it home with a semi-working car and a semi-working Val.

I guess I can’t really cross of “learn to snowboard” from my list as I didn’t really learn to do anything. Hopefully Emily and I will go somewhere local sometime soon and we can work more on it. Or maybe I just need to take a real lesson.

I need to work on it a lot though, because everyone else is so good and it got very lonely out there all by myself when I knew everyone else was up on the non-bunny hills having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I had tons of fun. It would just be a lot more fun if I could actually go somewhere and hang out with my friends.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • heather
    January 7, 2008at8:48 pm

    I only got to the part about you having a nervous breakdown when you strapped both feet down in the snow board.
    My own experience:
    They put in one foot in the straps but I was too scared to put my other foot in the strap because I didn’t want to pick my foot up off the ground. When we finally got in, I went about three inches, freaked out, and said “FUCK THIS” and turned in the snowboard for skis.
    we are the same person.

  • Sid
    January 8, 2008at5:59 pm

    what, no action shots of you snowboarding over jumps?
    i want a refund

  • val
    January 8, 2008at9:40 pm

    Heather, we are the same person.
    Sid, since everyone else was so good they were off on the big people hills and therefore not around to film me. The video would not have been of my jumping anyways, it would have just been me falling over and over and over.

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