Brady Oltmans

Casper Star-Tribune sports reporters Brady Oltmans and Brandon Foster pose for a photo at Snowy Range Ski Area after Oltmans learned to snowboard.

Brady Oltmans, Star-Tribune

Snowboarding was always my dream, even if it was a bit illogical.

I lived my first 25 years in Nebraska, where the closest thing to a mountain was the drainage ditch along the dirt road connecting my house to the highway.

But when I moved to Casper in July 2016, I heard about Hogadon Ski Area and knew I had my chance.

I bought my season pass the week they went on sale and researched what I needed. My winter coat wasn’t fit for the slopes. My scarves barely held up to the wind, and the closest thing to ski pants I owned was a thick pair of Sesame Street-themed lounge pants.

That brought the first Amazon shipment, complete with ski goggles.

As I waited for the package to arrive, I spent any time away from the office learning the actual act of snowboarding from YouTube videos. I practiced my stance in my living room, a questionable act with the blinds open.

But nothing could prepare me for the vicious beating my body was going to take. On a rented board with boots and helmet, I proceeded to fall down more times than I can remember. I felt like a baby deer walking on ice.

After two full days on the beginner’s slope, learning next to 5-year-olds, I was finally getting the hang of it. So I tested my luck on a green run. I controlled my speed and only fell down a small handful of times.

Very quickly, I realized the most important lesson about snowboarding can’t come from YouTube: It’s good to fall down.

I finally began to fall less, and beamed with pride as I went down one of the hardest runs without eating snow. (Just once, but no one can take that away from me.)

I was disappointed when the season ended, so I said a grand farewell to my first winter of snowboarding by spending a day at Snowy Range Ski Area. It was a blast.

My first season on the slopes had confirmed my strange childhood dream: I wanted to snowboard.

With my body recovered from bumps and bruises, I’m excited to get back up on the mountain, see the new lodge and make my first run of the season. I will, however, take a formal lesson this time around.

Follow sports reporter Brady Oltmans on Twitter @Brady_CST

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Brady Oltmans reports on high school and local sports. He joined the Star-Tribune in July 2016 after covering prep sports and college soccer in Nebraska. He also contributes to University of Wyoming sports coverage. He and his dog live in Casper.

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