Early winter is pretty much my least favorite time of year. There’s not enough snow to snowboard. You watch every inch of it stack up obsessively during each storm that rolls through Utah. Even big snowfalls only cover sharkfin rocks for a few days. It’s essentially a waiting game until about Thanksgiving.
Historically, right after the holiday, I’d go to training camp, doing drills, running gates, and hitting jumps until I could barely stand in order to prepare for the competition season. This year didn’t look like that at all.
I committed pretty early on to being in the backcountry full-time this season. The only real training for backcountry snowboarding (aside from the off-season and pre-season prep) is to hike and skin up mountains at altitude.
Therefore, a good chunk of my days were spent going uphill in the snow, riding the shallow snowpack down, and avoiding rocks along the way. Another equally good chunk of my days were spent writing a month-long research project about backcountry travel and planning my winter trips. While this isn’t directly related to training, or even snowboarding for that matter, projects and overall life stuff does complicate how much time I can realistically devote to my sport. Mental fatigue can definitely diminish one’s motivation.
Some days the snow was so shallow I just put on hiking boots and microspikes. Other days I used Verts, a climbing snowshoe. It was, all in all, a very cold, very humbling, base-building stretch of training.