Students hit the slopes

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It is a chilly Saturday morning and you have no homework for the first time since school started. Rather than sitting and watching pointless reruns on television, you and a few friends elect to venture out into the cold.

After a small drive north, you have arrived to your destination: a mountain freshly covered in powder, perfect for your skiing and snowboarding expedition.

Skiing and snowboarding are two commonly overlooked winter activities, both of which are more difficult to find locations to participate in the Annandale community. However, many students are avid fans and participants in the sports.

“I go skiing in Michigan, and it’s a fun way to pass time over winter break or a long weekend,” said junior Georgia Garney. “It’s a good way to get outside and play around during the winter to get a chance to go out and exercise.”

Although there are not many locations for prolonged periods of skiing and snowboarding, people make due with what they can find.

Some people choose to go on local sledding hills, while others find preference in steep driveways and school fields in their neighborhoods.

“Over the winter break, Eric Reynolds and I went to Pinecrest Golf Course to snowboarded,” said sophomore Willie Labarca. “We made several jumps and created our own terrain park.”

Others take trips to local resorts, such as Wintergreen, Seven Springs, Whitetail, and Wisp. Although the mountains are not rocky mountain range-sized, they provide substantial improvement from backyard sledding.

“I have been snowboarding for four years,” said Labarca. “I go to Whitetail and Liberty.”

Students even get opportunities to travel west to resorts that are five times the size as eastern mountains, such as Vail, Park City, Winter Park and Breckenridge.

Colorado and Utah are destinations that people fly from around the world to ski on, with legendary snow, slopes, and great service.

“Last year, my family went to Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado,” said junior Megan Loman. “It is better out west because the mountains are bigger and the trails are wider. Plus, the trails aren’t manmade and icy, because the all the snow is fresh. Everything is all-around better.”

There are two major divisions in snow sports, skiing and snowboarding. The majority of clientele begin with skiing, either being taught by parents or by participating in “ski school,” a program where instructors teach the basics of staying on two feet. After progressing through multiple levels, many children decide they want to go to what has become the decidedly “cooler” of the two: snowboarding.

“I didn’t like skiing, and I heard snowboarding was fun,” said Loman. “So I tried snowboarding and liked it way better.”

Experts usually head to the terrain parks, where the bold and the daring put their skills to the test. Toyboxes, rails, jumps, and halfpipes are all created by metal and snow for tricks to be performed on. Sometimes even old vehicles, such as school buses and broken cars are placed for the pure entertainment of those who venture into the parks.

While skiing and snowboarding are great activities to participate in, there are many risks of possible injury.

Losing control of your equipment, gaining too much speed and even running into trees are very common ways that participants find themselves being escorted down the mountain on a stretcher.

“One time, I tried snowboarding when I was younger, I decided to try snowboarding, which was a bad decision,” said Garney. “When me and my cousin were going down a slope, I started wobbling a bit. Next thing I knew I had an arm that was really tender. It turned out I broke my arm.”

Ways to reduce risk include wearing a helmet, renting appropriately-fitting equipment and avoiding terrain parks. For more information on skiing and snowboarding safety, lodging and destinations, visit http://skicentral.com.