Within the cold snowy hills, the rush of adrenaline sends a warm feeling to the bodies overpowering the external coldness. The wind caresses the faces of everyone traveling down the mountain slope. For senior Lauren Tang, she is strapped into her snowboard, racing down the inclines.
Tang recounts that she first took snowboarding lessons at age nine. She started out by attempting to ski before deciding that it was not for her. But with experience skateboarding, she found that she understood the center of gravity which helped her balance while snowboarding.
“I was really bad at skiing,” Tang said. “Like I just could not [have] two things on my feet. [It] just messed me up.”
Senior Juliane Tsai also first learned to ski before moving on to snowboarding. The switch between the two sports was made after a close-call emergency.
“I chose snowboarding because I was kind of bad at skiing because I could not get my legs to go together,” Tsai said. “One time I was going and I almost made my dad fall off a cliff so I was like I’m good, maybe I’ll try something else.”
And with her new hobby, Tsai found snowboarding to be a more prominent activity in her life, creating her own traditions with the sport. After the initial trip to Lake Tahoe with her friend in seventh grade, Tsai’s friend group has made the short vacation an annual event. She has turned her winter sport into a bonding experience with her friends, one where many memories begin.
“I am always really eager to go so [the very first time] I brought [my friends immediately] on an easy blue, and the first two seconds, [my friend] managed to break her arm on a flat slope,” Tsai said. “Oh, first they fell off the ski lift.”
For Tang, snowboarding is a recreational sport, just something to do when her family and her cousins visit Lake Tahoe. Tsai, on the other hand, pushes herself to try new tricks with each visit, but it doesn’t exactly come easily.
“Honestly it’s just, if I ever go to the [ski and snowboarding] park and try something new, I fall. Like if I ever try something in the park and try to be [hardcore,] I just eat s--t.” Tsai says.
Tsai has turned the sport into an activity where she pushes herself out of her comfort zone, to find a stronger feeling of adrenaline within the snowy slopes. Snowboarding has become a way for Tsai to feel stress-free and divert her energy into a physically challenging hobby.
“[When I snowboard,] I feel exhilarated and free and adventurous,” Tsai says. “Just a small person on the big mountain.”