I grew up in southern Wisconsin. Our winters lasted 4-6 months, with temperatures plummeting below zero and wind chill hitting -40. From 16-18 I spent a lot of time indoors during the winter drinking and eating myself to a pulp. As I approached my twenties I was ready to leave the midwest for warmer temperatures.
When I was 15 by best friends dad taught me how to downhill ski. Having grown up on water skis, I picked it up pretty easily. It wasn't before long where I didn't feel challenged (plus, the snowboarder boys were really cute). You see, we don't have mountains in the midwest. Our ski hills are, hills, or landfills turned into a "ski resort".
I was fortunate enough to have been gifted a snowboarding set up from my dad two Christmases later. I practiced in Upper Michigan, a beautiful part of the midwest that DUMPS snow. It's a freezing place to snowboard but that was where I felt scared on my board. Fear helped excel me to being a better snowboarder.
Fast forward 4 years to me leaving for college- driving 1,700 miles west to Arizona. While in college, I started to experience "real" snowboarding. First, in Colorado, Steamboat Springs. Talk about throwing myself into black diamonds and powder to really scare myself shitless. But I wanted more. I remember so many times scooting my ass down a steep ass double black because I was too afraid to ride it out.
Throughout college I went on winter trips to Vail, Aspen, Arizona Snowbowl, and Winter Park. College was the true reason I fell in love with mountains. I took my first "real" hikes and started snowboarding on "real" mountains. After that, I was set to live in a place where the mountains where close, and the snow was abundant. I chose Oregon in 2013.
Oregon has helped grow my love for winter. I live in the valley so I do not have to shovel snow or bare the freezing temperatures. I drive 1-3 hours to reach the mountains and winter wonderland! I started to enjoy snowshoeing in 2015. The sport is much less expensive than snowboarding, but still gets me out there during the winter months.
I have to say, the past 10 years have helped me appreciate all four seasons, especially winter. My next move, wherever that might be to, will involve being closer to the snow and further away from the city.
Thank you to my friends at Mountain Hardwear for hooking it up with a new jacket, bibs, and gloves for the season. Want to see what I am wearing? Check out the holiday gift guide from Mountain Hardware here.