26 January - Snowboarding

Choose any reason for our highly anticipated annual holiday at Lake Tahoe... incredible family time, elegant log cabin accommodations on the west shore, inhale God's country, critique Super Bowl commercials with leading ad industry gurus...learn to snowboard.

I tended to my inner “Type T” (thrill-seeking), as my
psychology professor Frank Farley coined it many moons ago. Pushing the quadragenarian bracket, I could make any excuse as to why my body currently aches as it does...low bone density, bad knee, not enough protein. Truth is, sacrificing one’s body is just part of the process in learning to snowboard. I took a group lesson the first morning at Squaw Valley, learning "falling leaf" techniques on heels and toe side as well as "j turns". We learned the importance of shifting our weight to the front leg versus the natural inclination of leaning back in fear. Frustrated but ready to put the pieces together, I took an additional private lesson with Lauren to complete the "s-curves." The wonderful calm vibe of this San Diego native gave me the confidence and visualization I needed to complete this week’s mission.

But as I return to this familiar place, my takeaway and gratitude are not in learning to snowboard. I realized the beauty of … chairlifts. And not for its convenience of transport. It provides a meeting place for new friends like Michael, a fresh transplant from the UK to the San Francisco Bay area. Or Raymond, the humble and warm Chinese man who determinedly shared my same mission. Or bonding with Bill, the other straggler from my class, there with an international group of friends. Or debriefing and sharing a chuckle with my husband. As well, it is the vehicle that provides a few moments to witness in silence the pristine scenery of 8,500 to 10,000 feet above sea level. For that I am humbled and grateful.

It rejuvenates me, just in time for that après ski.