Colbert: Getting back on my snowboard — for all the right reasons

The gondola seen through the fog on Christmas Day 2017 on Aspen Mountain.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Other than catching an edge, I’m not sure what happened. Regardless, the ground came at me fast and left me with my first concussion and completely changed my outlook for the season.

Entering the winter, I was gung-ho about getting to 100 days on my snowboard. I had about 70 days last winter, my personal best, and was determined to reach triple digits this season, no matter what it took. I got off to a good start, reaching 15 days within the first three weeks, even if Mother Nature was barely cooperating.

Then, in mid-December on Aspen Mountain, I knocked my head (thankfully I was wearing a helmet) against what was effectively icy cement. As we roll into 2018, my day count has remained at 15 days. I’m close to getting back out there, though I do have lingering headaches (not to mention my bonus Christmas flu that I’m still recovering from).

If anything, our relative lack of snow has made it easier for me to stay away from the slopes, which is a good thing. Head trauma is nothing to take lightly. Looking at the calendar, I can still get to 100 days, although it would take a strong push to the finish. But I’m also wondering if I even care anymore. I wanted to reach 100 days just to say I did, but being off the mountain this long has made me reassess what it is I love about being up there.

Here in Aspen, skiing and snowboarding is the ultimate social activity. I don’t just miss the riding and the nonexistent powder, but I miss the gondola rides, talking to random strangers on the chairlifts and the apres session after a hard day of riding. When you’re stuck at home alone with a concussion, you don’t get any of this — nobody mentions how lonely and boring concussions are (you can’t even watch TV).

So, now that I’m mostly healed, I look forward to getting on the mountain and simply enjoying being out on the mountain. Maybe I’ll still get to 100 days, but it’s not important. I’ll just be thankful to be out of bed and back on my snowboard with everyone else.


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