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From Miami to the Mountains

How I went from Sand and Wavesto Snow andMountains

The flats of Florida boast the hottest year-round climate in all of the United States – thats why 78.2% of all grandparents live here (according to my calculations). For these seniors and the rest of the tropical residents, the concept of snow is unfathomable, as a Floridian cold front is announced when the temperature drops below 70 degrees.

Photo via NBC Miami Photo via NBC Miami

I grew up surfing and skateboarding in sunny South Florida, but I was always curious about taking those hobbies to the snow – it seemed like the logical progression. After about 16 years of pestering my parents, I finally got them to commit to a Christmas ski trip in Steamboatthanks to my uncle, who had been there the prior year and hadnothing but good things to say.

Surf's Up in Miami Surf’s Up in Miami

Little did I know that the first click of my boot into a snowboard binding would be much more than physical. Its clich, yes, but its the truth. From the hours spent daydreaming about deep turns to my phone background of powder-coated Aspen trees, its safe to say snowboarding has changed the way I live.

That trip to Steamboat sparked the flame. I was out at 9:00 every morning and I wouldnt stop until the lifts did. My dedication resulted in constant progression, only stoking the fire even more. Lets just say I did not take kindly to my flight back south after those first blissful snow-packed days (I may have looked like a child clinging to their parents on the first day of school, but substitute parents with a Burton Custom snowboard). Luckily, I wiggled my way into a trip to Telluride with a friend the following February and after that, Utah. Capping off my first season with something like 15 days, I could not have been more ecstatic.

“I even do homework on Friday nights to make sure Ill have enough time to shred – if thats not true love, then I dont know what is.”

The next year was a similar cycle: Steamboat, Telluride, then Aspen. I saved up and bought my own board. I watchedtrick tips non-stop to flatten the learning curve, hoping that when I finally got back out West Id be ready to improve that much more quickly.

When it was time to choose where I would apply to college, proximity to the mountains was mandatory, despite the factthat I had only ridden about 30 days total (not bad for a Floridian in two years). Turns out I played my cards right, and was fortunate enough to be accepted into Colorado College – only two hours away from world-class skiing.

It was this move to Colorado that sealed the deal. What was once a daydream turned into an obsession and eventuallya way of life. To give some context, I wake up at 6:00 AM every Saturday, load up the car with my buddies, and drive two hours just for a few good turns. I move all other obligations around so I can get out each weekend. I even do homework on Friday nights to make sure Ill have enough time to shred – if thats not true love, then I dont know what is.

Different kind of waves out here Different kind of waves out here

I realize that not everyone has the perfect opportunity to move their lives to Colorado, but thats not the point of my story. The point of my story is this:thata kid who had never even seen snow until 16 was able to follow his instincts and come to Colorado, take up a new hobby, and end up loving it so much that it became a way of life. And not only has it become a way of life, it has become a passion and even a source of income!

What Im saying is: Even if you’re scared, or you’ve never beenbefore, or you’re from a place with no snow: get out there, buckle down your ski boots or strap on a board, and try something new.

Sliding on snow changed my life. It may not change your life, but at very least, itll give you a badass new hobby. And if youre passionate about it, youll gain even more.