Exploring the Playground
At full speed I slash hard on my toes, leaning way back on my tail so my body is nearly horizontal to the ground. So much fun! All of the sudden my board pops me into the air and I receive a frigid needle-like greeting up my bare back when I land back in the snow.
It hurts, but there’s no blood, just a big scrape from the tiny ice shards: nowhere near enough to quench the thrill of riding fast and wild.
Our adventure had started out cold, just four in the morning yet we had seventeen hours of pavement between us and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Nevertheless, hopeful electricity filled the 2012 Ford Expedition that I rented for our back country snowboard trip. We pulled onto the freeway as one of the guys prayed for safety and fresh powder to ride.
Jon Lord and I had planned this excursion several months back and selected four younger guys to join us, making a group of six in all. Our goal was to find some epic back country riding while studying Colossians 3:1-4 where Paul commands us: “set your mind on things above.”
After hours of driving, fast-food, playing Halo on the X-box, and making prank calls to friends back home, everyone started to get antsy. So Matt and James announced a new game.
“Okay, so, it’s called poop-dollar,” They explained.
“Haha!” everyone burst out laughing as they described the outrageous idea.
“You take a poop on a dollar bill and then put it, like, on a sidewalk in front of a Walmart or something.” They continued. “When someone goes to pick it up, they find out it’s covered in poop, and you yell, ‘POOOP DOLLAAAR’.”
Thankfully no one tried it, but ‘poop-dollar’ became the phrase of the trip!
Before long the pavement began climbing into the mountains. Joey found two stations of electronic dance music on Sirius XM Radio, so we bumped it… LOUD. Staring out the windows in awe of the rock, lack of snow and occasional wildlife, I began to feel the vibes of hype and anticipation that continued to rise with the elevation.
Finally we arrived at Danny’s house, in the quaint little town of Steamboat. He owns Boardom Bound, an outfitting company, and would be guiding us into the backcountry. Jon originally met Danny at the Snowboarders for Christ conference five months prior, where the ideas for this trip began to emerge. Since he was not home quite yet, we decided to wander around town and visit a few of the shops. A few of the guys bought souvenirs and presents for their special someone back home. Later we hooked up with Danny at the Sweetwater Grill for some dinner while a local band played.
On our way out, a drunken woman fell out of a bus onto the sidewalk. She tried to hold it together, but I could see tears of embarrassment in her eyes as her friends helped her to her feet. It was a simple reminder to me of how broken inside I once was, and how my craving for acceptance led me into embarrassing situations. I do not know her story and I do not want to be judgmental of her, however it just reminded me of how much I need Jesus. Back at the house we read and discussed Colossians 3:1-4 again before instantly falling asleep.
Six cell phone alarms went off simultaneously at six o’clock sharp. The sky was clear and the air was brisk, smoke rose from the neighbor’s chimney. Before long everyone pitched in to prepare hash browns, bacon and eggs for breakfast and flatbread sandwiches, trail mix and veggies for lunch. By eight o’clock all of us were dressed and headed up to our entry point.
Danny unloaded the three snowmobiles and helped get our boards attached. A short safety lesson and we were on the trail heading for Buffalo Pass. Our convoy stopped several times to let the sleds rest, pray and get some photos. Due to our inexperience in riding up the mountain rodeo style we flipped the sleds over a few times along the way. Thankfully Danny was gracious and patient with us and we reached our first hill to start boarding.
After my wipeout, Danny pulls me back to the top. This is how we do it all day; Danny and one from our group ride down on the sleds to pull the boarders back to the top with a rope while two wait at the bottom. Waiting for the sleds to come pull us back to the top gives us time to build solid relationships with each other.