I struggle to remember any of my birthdays prior to 3 years ago. My facebook page (joined 2009) had no updates until 2011. That’s when I was born again; after an old friend spontaneously dragged me five hours out of the city.
My previous years were plagued with heavy alcoholism, drug abuse, and occasional violence. Although I was never a bad person, never screwed anybody over, I spent years looking over my back. It seemed no matter how I overcompensated, new beginnings always ended with old stories and occupational hazards. Depression had been eating away at me for years, as it became less apparent why I should bother to stay clean. On the outside I looked like any other douche, laughing over normal decibels. I never told anybody about how hopeless I felt in side.
I really just went to get out of the city and drink in a cabin. I almost didn’t bother getting on the hill at all. It had been over 10 years since I last been on a mountain. I had never snowboarded before. I was feeling groggy. It was cold. One-by-one my friend shot down any excuses I gave him to lounge around. So I rented equipment and prepared *glug glug glug* to get my ass kicked by the bunny hill. Bruise after bruise I paid my dues. Each tumble, a reflection of my life. staying on my board naturally. At times I wanted to give up (also an ongoing trend in my life). But this time each fall was met with humor, notices of improvement and another swig of my flask. The more I let loose, the longer I stayed on my board and maintained momentum. By the time I sobered up, I was tentatively carving, and in love. Although, next morning I felt every fall from the previous day, I was inexplicably happy. When I returned to Vancouver, I bought all my gear and continued to snowboard on local mountains every week. Up there I felt a new person.
One day I came across a YouTube trailer that would forever change my direction. When I first feasted my eyes on Travis Rice’s incredible feats over nature’s grandest designs, my imagination was overwhelmed with excitement. I immediately saw that all I ever wanted laid within my backyard —within my reach. But fiirst, I needed to get better. There was a lot of catching up to do. I proceeded to spend every other day on the mountain; each session brought a new surprise. I descending my first double-black before I did my first black. I landed my first 50 foot jump shortly after. Every second of air was minutes of freedom. Every epic spill, was met with more determination— except for the fractured ribs.
By the next season boarding culture had taken hold of every facet of my life— music, fashion, down time, friends. My whole lifestyle shifted. Big city problems gave way to a summer of anticipation. I did my best to stay clean and healthy. My hopes were hallmarked by memories of fresh pow, cedar cabins, hot tubs, drinks, fireworks, home cooking, and road trips with loved ones— with the added dream of adventure. It sounds cliche to say; but everything seems insignificant when you are surrounded by trees and snow. By December I was spending every other night on the mountain, overlooking the city.
I separated myself from my old night life. I
drifted apart from let go of a lot toxic people. And as the seasons rolled on, my snowboard circle got bigger and bigger. It started with just three of us, always gathering around YouTube videos, whenever we were at a parties. By spring there was 12 of us. Soon our frequent, satisfied smiles caught the attentions of more people. By next season, our road trips involved up to 30 people. With each new person, my life kept evolving and evolving, spilling over to new Summer past times.
I probably wouldn’t have become a snowboarder if it wasn’t for the people who continually supported and joined in on my excitement. It goes to show that friends are the backbone of passions and growth. Some climbed out of a few steeps with me; others pushed me down them. Heck, I even loved the countless hours I put in with the newbies. We bonded over our encouragement and praises. It’s almost kinda depressing to say, I never really felt that before. None of us did. I remember sharing a chuckle about that— I’m starting to have memories too!
At this moment I’m laughing as I compare my driver’s licenses, only 1 year apart. I could barely recognize myself, nor believe how anybody with common sense could take a mugshot like that. Every year since 2011, I have been living differently. Snowboarding was not only an amazing revelation for me; it was an unbelievable impact on the people around me. Some of us became outdoor, day people— utilizing our weekends. Some friends eventually kicked nasty habits as well. I even convinced a few to join me in volunteering time to snowboard with under-privileged youth. There is a serious trickle effect around inspiration.
It feels like such a long time ago, since I first went on that road trip. So much has happened since then. I still have a lot of catching up to do in life. After a year overseas, I’m home anticipating a new snowboard season. Right now, even bad days feel like good ones.
I created Dipify to connect people with the experiences my friends and I had.