Finding My Griz

Fress Press columnist Brittney Barber does some extreme sports.

By Brittney Barber

Free Press Columnist

I can feel the cool air of a slipstream forming behind me; I weave back and forth, feeling my board lay into the snow. I see a turn on my left and push down into my back heel, jetting across the run into the turn. I glance right and my body follows, my arms directing me as I lean forward into a sharp right turn.

I am balanced and in sync – a rarity for me attempting “extreme” sports – plus the run ahead is narrow and resembles a half-pipe, perfect for me to up the ante for my growing confidence.

Faster and faster I go as I tackle my fear of leaving a horizontal plane; I knit up and down the sides. The snow is fresh and the run has barely been touched. I’ve never ridden in such great conditions, but I am getting too fast for my liking. I am metres away from the end of this tunnel and I am beginning to seize up.

I squeeze my muscles inward for the sharp left outta here.

There’s a stone in my stomach now, I’m going to have to take this turn faster than I have ever gone before, there’s no time to brake.

You’ve got this Britt. Deep breath in, I look ahead at the junction metres ahead and a child skier passes by.

“Nope! I can’t handle this, what if another child passes just as I come out? I am not ready for this yet.”

Amongst my detrimental thoughts, the strength in my core and focus guiding me completely vanish. My board slips out from under me and I fly backwards onto my shoulders, bowling into a nearby tree well.

Board and arms up toward the sky, my buttocks snuggly wedged deep below me, I throw my head back, fists slamming into the snow beside me. I don’t like to be loud, but I couldn’t hold it in. I let out an almighty roar, far from kid friendly.

For 15 minutes, my hot emotions and frozen bum self-regulated my body temperature. It was all going well until I doubted my ability.

Brushing my shoulders off, I realized what a fun adventure I’d just had, like a game of  ‘dodge the lava’. Sure, I could have hurt someone, it was right of me to stop, but not to throw away my self-worth.

New perspective, I’ve decided that today is still Griz-worthy.

The Free Press