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.
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.
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.
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.
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.