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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

Snowboarding- The Hike

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Albert Lew is an avid cyclist, photographer and snow boarder. I thank him for writing so beautifully about his experience in Utah. Albert's photos of nature, glorious sunrises and

the west can be found on instagram @newenglandrocks.

The Hike

It has been more than a week since the last snowfall, and I've decided to head to James Peak, which at 9422 feet above sea level, is the highest spot at Powder Mountain Resort in Eden, Utah. To get to my destination, I hike uphill in the snow for slightly over a mile, gaining 900 feet of elevation in about forty minutes. The last 4/10 of a mile points upwards at a 36 degree pitch, and my field of view narrows to the boot pack directly in front of me. Although I have my camera with me and enjoy taking a few photos at the top, I'm not taxing my body to experience the view, as there are incredibly scenic vistas of the Wasatch mountains at many lower spots around the resort. No - the reason for this vertical struggle is to seek out untracked snow to ride.

What I love about riding fresh powder on my snowboard goes beyond that wonderful feeling of gently floating down a mountainside with just enough friction to keep my speed safely in check. That weightless glide was the hook that drew me into snowboarding, but what keeps me coming back is the freedom to paint gentle lines onto nature's snowy winter canvas. Unlike sports such as cycling, running and hiking, in which a specific path is prescribed for all participants, with snowboarding, the entire mountain becomes a place to become present with my choices about how to experience a singular path down the mountain.

After reaching the top of James Peak, I hiked down to a spot with dozens of acres of untouched snow spreading out as far as I could see. I snapped my boots into my snowboard bindings, and eased into the process of making wide, relaxed turns down the face of the mountain across both wide open snow fields as well as small stands of trees. With each turn, I savored the view, the feel of snow softly being displaced by my board and the potential of where my subsequent change in direction would take me. And when I reached the bottom, I was satisfied to have simply enjoyed the process of creating my own unique and personal path down the mountain. Although once was enough on this day, I look forward to repeating this theme in countless variations throughout the remainder of the winter.

Photo courtesy of Albert Lew

Photo courtesy of Albert Lew

Photo courtesy of Albert Lew

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