Strawberry Fields Forever

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A little fact about me: I love snowboarding. This season has been great to me. Even though I only had 8 full days on the slopes, with the help of some energy drinks, I was on the first lift all the way to the last on pretty much each day and it shows. At the beginning of the season, I was an advanced/intermediate rider at best; now there is nothing I can’t handle (at resorts at least *knock on wood*). The following story is about my first real double-black experience.

It was a powder day at Sugar Bowl Ski resort in North Lake Tahoe and I was up there with a group of friends on a Scout trip. It was me, another boarder, and 2 skiers. We spent the morning warming up, doing the tree runs and moguls off of Jerome Hill but after lunch, we decided to move to the Disney Express (Lincoln sucks, anyone who says otherwise is a liar). After a few runs following the lift down, the skiers decided to traverse north. Me and the other boarder continued taking the chutes and trees on the south face. The plan was to wait at the bottom for the other group. a whole 10 minutes passed before they finally showed up with the biggest smiles on their faces: “You HAVE to check this out” I had been having a pretty good time already so I didn’t really feel like doing any stupid traverses to get to what may not be that great so I responded “If it requires traverses, count me out.” to which they replied “Man the fuck up!” Whatever.

So we followed the skiers on the traverse, where to my dismay we eventually had to unstrap to get fully across. At the end however, there was a sign and a gated fence: “Experts only!” As if that matters to 4 hot-headed adolescent adrenaline-junkies. About 100 feet past the fence, the trail narrowed to a single board width and we were surrounded by dense trees on either side. After a short while, we arrived at a gently sloping clearing and with that, started heading down… Well to put it bluntly, that first bit sucked but once we busted out of the first group of trees and went into the second, it became the best run of my life.

These trees were guardians of the powder! At places they were spaced just barely far enough for me to squeeze through at what seemed to be outrageous speeds. Then they grew ever so slightly further apart and revealed what can only be described as God’s own vision of perfection: a completely hidden away chute with walls so steep, it was like a half pipe; down the middle grew young trees, straining towards the ground from the immense weight of the snow, just begging to be ground on; kickers and booters everywhere you wanted them… My board floated effortless over this cloud-like expanse, leaving a steady stream of crystalline exhaust in my wake.  The past faded away taking my worries with them; the future ceased to exist; the only thing that mattered right then was me, my board, and this Strawberry Field of heaven.

When it came to an end, I was in absolute disbelief. I could not believe how utterly perfect that run had been. Some may argue that perfection does not exist and cannot be experienced or beheld by humans; they have never been out in nature. I have experienced the complete and pure perfection that is Strawberry Fields and no one in this world can take that away from me.

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