I arrive to the mountain at midnight. Chunks of powered snow fall from the clouds above and onto my body, keeping me awake and alert for the hours of movement ahead. I am already three beers deep, but I decide to go to the lodge for whiskey—I will need it if I am to claim Mad River Mountain.
Higher and higher I go up the ski lift, a 6-foot board strapped to my feet, the skiers below looking like whizzing grasshoppers. I clench my heart and swallow deep. “This is it,” I say to myself, almost convinced. “No turning back now.” The lift reaches the peak of the mountain, and I slide off, onto my board toward the top of the slope. “Ride or die.”
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t know how to snowboard. Yeah, I played the video games, and watched a few instructional videos, but I am not coordinated by any stretch of the imagination. Within seconds I fall on my ass and start rolling and flailing down the mountain. I try to get up, fall back down, catch myself with my wrists like an idiot, and continue to tumble. The boarders and skiers on the lift above are now taunting me, calling me a beached, dead, seal when I finally decide to give up and just lie in the snow, defeated.
This wasn’t over. Sure, I retreated to the lodge at first to lick my wounds, warm my feet, and get another drink.
That is what extreme sports is all about—getting messed up and getting back into the ring, even if that means potential injury. After all, I had insurance, and to me it costs a lot less than my pride.
If you didn’t know already, Mad River Mountain is a ski and snowboard resort in Zanesville Ohio, less than an hour north of the city. The best part is that every Friday they are open from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. for their Midnight Madness run—and if you bring your student ID you get half off the lift tickets and rentals.
Talk about a good deal. Not good at extreme sports? That is ok, neither am I. In case you are addicted to the rush of falling down a mountain, they offer snow tubing—or what I like to call riding down the mountain on a giant donut. If this is for you, than I highly recommend indulging in the bar—after all, you don’t have to be sober to slide down the mountain on a giant, rubber tube. For a whole month my group of malefactor friends and I went to Mad River every Friday for college night, trading stories for bruises, pounding beers and antagonizing locals. I still suck at snowboarding, but that is ok. I still enjoy the rush of falling, and the moments of brevity when I succeed. After all, this isn’t the X-Games—this is Midnight Madness, and while the world sleeps, I shred the gnar, or at the very least, slide down on my ass with my dignity trailing behind.
For more information about Midnight Madness at Madriver Mountain and College Night, visit skimadriver.com