The mountains of Central California have beckoned me each winter since I began snowboarding in 2000. When I was single and living in Anaheim Hills, about forty miles southeast of downtown L.A., I spontaneously tossed my tire chains and boarding gear in the trunk of my trusty Jetta, and drove the five hours to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area whenever it got a dump of snow. I was the queen of winter as I pounded the Sierra slopes solo.
And then on one trip two girlfriends asked me to go snowshoeing.
It was supposed to be mellow. Meandering through the evergreens. Looking for bunny tracks. No climbing from our 7,880 foot beginning elevation.
And then it was decided we should race – in our snowshoes. Having snowshoed twice before, I figured I had this one in the bag. I taught kickboxing, too. I was hard core. My opponent only taught gymnastics. I could take her.
We lined up toe-to-toe. “Ready, set, go!” the other friend bellowed. Intending to shoot out from the starting line to assume an immediate lead, I was befuddled when instead, I found myself having to high step to get the dang things to come out of the snow. Who was the wise guy who decided to make the backs of them unattached to the heel? Instead of Wilma Rudolph, I was a Clydesdale – heavy as I clopped my way through the multiple feet of snow.
The finish line loomed before us, only yards away. My opponent inched ahead with each flop, flop. I lagged behind with each flloppp, flloppp. Then she raised her hands in victory. I dropped my head in defeat. My crown had been snatched from my head. My title passed on.
As I returned to my condo after my humbling race, a faint whisper floated my way. It was the double-blacks on Lincoln Mountain. I looked up, eying them since they rose above the town. They were calling me back to the mountain, begging me to regain my title. And so I did. And decided to give up snowshoe racing.
Are you a fan of snowshoeing? Ever tried racing?