In general, I have always had a fear of trying new things, especially when they involve the chance of being injured. This fear is irrational and I’ve never had an experience that resulted in injury. However, this fear is very real. It can be scary to go out of your comfort zone and try something new, particularly when you know that it will take lots of practice and patience to improve. Like many others, I would much prefer immediately being good at something, rather than having to invest the time to learn.
My husband and I went to college in the mountains of North Carolina. He had a season pass to the local resort all 4 years we were in school and during the winter months would be on the slopes a few days a week. How many times did I join him? Zero. I was far too scared to even try. My husband tried to convince me to try snowboarding a few times each year, but I absolutely would not go with him.
My First Snowboarding Trip
Fast forward to December 2015, 3 and half years after we graduated and moved away from the mountains. We had recently moved to the Bay Area and my husband was so excited for his first season of snowboarding in Tahoe. He decided to ask one more time if I would like to try snowboarding. Not wanting to miss out on a trip to Tahoe with friends, I agreed to give it a try, #FOMO. It helped tremendously that one of our friends would be trying it for the first time that weekend as well- I would not be alone!
My first day at the resort was a complete fail. I spent the entire day on what wouldn’t even be considered the bunny hill. I couldn’t even stand up. By the end of the day my entire body ached just from attempting to get up. It was decided that myself and my friend would take a beginners snowboard lesson the next day. This lesson was absolutely key and is what pushed me to continue trying to snowboard after my first weekend. The instructor was persistent and would not take ‘I can’t’ for and answer. When my husband was trying to teach me on the first day, it was so easy to tell him no (along with other expletives!), but it’s difficult to say that to a complete stranger, who you are paying to teach you the skills needed to progress.
Season One Progression
Each time I was on the mountain, I had to fight and internal battle. One side of me wanted to give up and stop pushing myself. The anxiety was real. But the other side of me wanted to push myself. As the season went on, I slowly become comfortable with the bunny slopes. I even learned how to properly make turns, though they were quite wide. I gained more and more confidence with each day on the mountain. Gaining too much speed and losing control were still fears always in the back of my mind. During last weekend of the season, I got up the nerve to try an intermediate slope, and to my disbelief, it wasn’t a total failure! I finished the season proud of my progress both physically and mentally.
Now at the end of my second season of snowboarding, with about 20 days on the mountain since my first day, I can say that anxiety is still a struggle each time I try a different slope. However, the confidence I have earned over the course of pushing myself out of my comfort zone is absolutely incredible. I am not saying that it is easy to overcome your fears, but it is rewarding.
5 Tips To Overcoming Fear
- Surround yourself with the support of friends.
- Know that it is okay to be anxious, but remember that it is all temporary.
- It’s okay to take breaks to mentally recoup, don’t be hard on yourself for needing to do so.
- Celebrate every small achievement (reward yourself with that post snowboarding hot chocolate or extra large pizza!)
- Breathe. This is all for fun anyway, right?