Peeking through your window, you observe the snowflakes gently drifting in the fresh air and landing smoothly on the ground. It reminds you of dandruff landing on your shirt. You are witnessing the splendid spectacle of Winter, as it extends its claim over the natural realm. You think: "This winter, I want to do stuff just like the cool kids. I'll learn how to snowboard". There's nothing you'd rather do than descend the slopes gracefully on your board, nail a 360 here and there, and maybe even perform a backflip over a snow machine or a pack of polar bears, all in front of a mesmerized audience.
Armed with your newly bought gear, a lot of courage and some light painkillers, you head for the slopes with a single goal firmly instilled in your psyche: learning to Snowboard your way to awesomeness!
The grand debut
As you fall back into the chairlift, getting closer and closer to your first descent, you feverishly try to remember the fundamentals of boarding and turning (both left and right) from that snowboarding leaflet you read (or was it a water skiing manual?) As you disembark from your seat you miserably fail the turning maneuver and miss the bunny slope situated on the South side of the mountain. Instead, you are sliding toward the North face of the mountain thanks to the gradient of the tiny landing slope. Bah, so what? You'll start on the North side, you tell yourself with bravado, but then you realize that there are no slopes on that side of the mountain, only a deep, deep forest and a steep, steep incline. Never before has the term "crash course" been more fitting. But as they say; what doesn't kill you will only make you stronger. And so you miraculously manage to dodge the Grim Reaper, that huge birch on the other hand you smash into face first with great velocity.
Now that you are back from the operation table you fall back into the chair-lift and go up again. You have a slight headache from the skull surgery and the fiften pins and soldering aluminum under your scalp. But you are high on life and you are eager to tackle the next maneuver: the 360, which consists in completing one full revolution (both you and hopefully the board) in midair. Note that completing only a 1/4 or 3/4 spin will cause the board (and you along with it) to land perpendicularly to your trajectory, resulting in a spectacular tumble and some slightly severe to acute and chronic pain.
You avoid the anguish by successfully landing your first 360, much to your astonishment. Notice how the cool kids sporting numerous scars in the snowpark now look at you with renewed respect? Confidence is treacherously setting in, and you foolishly assume the timing is perfect to integrate a board-grab in your arsenal of tricks (holding your board while airborne). Et voilà, you just did it! Did you forget to let go of the board before landing? Stuff happens. A long and slightly expensive red cross helicopter ride to the ER will give you lots of time to re-evaluate what went wrong. That broken hand and torn ligament should heal in a jiffy soldier, no later than next winter! You haven't experienced enough awesomeness yet!
The great rail mastery
You are back on the slopes feeling pretty confident and have garnered a small group of onlooking fans at the ski resort. Now is an appropriate time to make a name for yourself and tackle the next obstacle standing in your way to awesomeness: the rails! Pick the railing made of the softest metal (you certainly refember from your school days which alloys are the most pleasant to plow into face first) and nonchalantly direct yourself straight toward it. All eyes are on you now... You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. Approaching the rail... you fly up the small snow ramp and land on the metal pipe. So far, so good... until you realise the board is starting to deviate slightly. It's only a couple degrees to the right. Two or three degrees doesn't sound like much and with your awsome sense of balance you will be fine. Unfortunately only a couple degrees off course is all that's required to lose your precarious footing and hit the rail on the way down, violently bending your spine in an angle that simply defies the basic principles of human anatomy.
After taking a small time out to re-collect yourself (and laugh the pain away), some of the dudes who have attained "awesomeness" status show overwhelming sympathy and compassion. "Nice try man," they shout, and you feel less embarrassed. "Get off that damn rail, you sissy ass noob!." And you feel less awesome than you thought you would. "We got teeth to chip too! Get outta there!" You would be more than happy to oblige, if only you could move. You tell them this between two frantic gasps for air. After laughing their butts off (for what seemed like an eternity), they finally call the ski patrol who mercifully scrape you off the railing. Back to the ER we go, soldier! The experience gained was invaluable!
Now that you're one with the rails, the next challenge in your passionate quest for coolness is undoubtedly the conquest of the "Big Air". Being an astute scholar, you are clever enough to realise that "Big" (huge, enormous, gargantuan) and "Air" (atmosphere, flight, plane crash) is a combination that could lead to a lot of pain, and you'll want to avoid that (gargantuan plane crash).
Bearing that in mind, you approach the jump apprehensively. One of your newfound friends, a young snowboarder called John accompanies you up the lift. Hopefully he has some boarding tips for you. The little lad is missing his front teeth and his skeleton is held together thanks to modern medicine and bone transplants. He's been snowboarding his way to awesomeness for a long time, hence the exoskeleton. John recommends that you quickly accelerate and get as much speed as possible before doing a "Big Air". With luck, if you lean backwards when airborne you'll pull off the backflip that you covet so much. A good swing of the hips wouldn't hurt either, but who knows, he says with a toothless smirk.
The moment has come. You are plunging down towards destiny at breakneck speed. You take off, leaning back as instructed... and close your eyes. Houston, we have a problem! Let's be straightforward here: it would be misleading to conclude that the whole ordeal was a failure. After all, your body did spin backwards. However, you spun only halfway, leaving you wondering in a state of feverish suspense when in tarnation your body will touch the ground (and what state is it going to morph into following the shocking impact,) as you glide 25 feet in the air with your head upside-down. After what seems like an eternity, gravity prevails. The first grade concussion you suffered is a blessing in disguise: it effectively erased the traumatic event from your memory and mercifully saved you from a world of physical and mental pain.
John happily tells you about the whole event in great details afterwards noting that the paramedics did a fantastic job on you via a cardiac massage while the ski patrol dudes tied steel mesh around your legs to avoid excessive blood loss and ensuing death. "Totally gnarly dude!" John comments.
You've advanced one belt colour and have yet another hospital bill to your name, soldier! The experience and wisdom acquired will shape you into a snowboarding ninja!
You have mastered the basic elements of snowboarding! The rails, grabs, spins and flips are now second nature to you. You are a star in the snowboarding world. You have successfully mastered the bunny hill and are now ready to set the slopes on fire! Strengthened by your wholesome experience, you book yourself to take part in an upcoming swiss alpine slalom competition. Finally, the world will know who you are and how awesome is you!