March 2, 2016. It was still winter, but the mountains were already talking about shutting down for the season due to lack of snow. I tried to go to Killington twice: once in December, when it rained, and once in March, when it got real cold real fast and the few trails that were open turned to ice.
So what’s a girl to do? I used to suffer from traditional SAD (seasonal affective disorder), which made winters long, dark and brutal. Now I get reverse SAD when I can’t snowboard. March 2, and already I was counting the months until I could feel sane again.
What would it be – eight, if I got lucky and the cold weather started by Thanksgiving? Ten, if we got another winter like the last two, which didn’t kick in until late January? I considered moving to Scandinavia. The potential for a Donald Trump presidency made an easy excuse for leaving the country.
March 2, 2016. That was the first time I was aware of the OneWheel: a motorized, self-balancing skateboard created to mimic the feeling of carving fresh powder on a snowboard. I must’ve found their video “The World is Your Playground” on Instagram or something.
That day, I shared it to Facebook with a plea (joking-except-seriously-though) for $1500. What did I expect – that some rich uncle I forgot about would come out of the woodwork and decide that a good way to spend his extra cash would be to buy me 2016’s best impression of the hoverboard from Uglies?
Well, the rich uncle never materialized, but I kept thinking about the OneWheel. Everywhere I looked, I could see myself riding one. Grassy knolls, smooth sidewalks, trails, beaches, fields: the world, indeed, began to look like my playground.
I wished I could rent one, just to see if it really felt the same as snowboarding. To see if it was enough to keep me sane through summer. But nobody in Boston rents out OneWheels, and I couldn’t connect with any local riders to see about borrowing one. So I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do:
I drove to Vermont.
It was a little under four hours to WND N WVS, Burlington: my nearest OneWheel retailer. I was simultaneously overjoyed to finally take a test ride, and terrified that I would hate it and have to start counting the months to snowboarding season again.
Was it everything I dreamed? As natural as breathing? Did it “feel right from the moment I put my feet on the board?” Actually… not quite. The learning curve I’d been warned about had not been exaggerated; this is a difficult sport. But then, so was snowboarding, at first.
I’m naturally uncoordinated, the sort of person whose friends think they’re drunk after one beer but really I just can’t stand up properly. People will point in alarm at a bruise on my elbow or shin and ask what I did to myself. The answer is usually “walked into a door frame.”
But I knew I wanted to snowboard, so I stuck with it and eventually (after most of a season) graduated from the bunny slope. And this…
I know I want to do this.
I’ve got a OneWheel on the way, kindly sold to me for a good chunk less than $1500 by one of the excellent folks on the OneWheel forums. When it gets here…
Well, I hope the playground is ready.