Feb 082011
 
Authors: Shane Rohleder

You ever get the feeling that you need to break away? Not to get away. No, “getaways”are for struggling married couples and workaholics. I’m talking about breaking away.

The “breakaway” is existential. The breakaway is the bell inside us that rings louder the longer we stifle.

And although we are typically active members of society and although we function well and produce well and consume well, and although we are perfectly happy fitting in and working and marrying and drinking and smoking, we all have this damn bell constantly ringing away inside our head making it difficult to eat and even to piss.

The thing about this bell is we all know how to stop it from ringing, but often times we ignore it until it fades into the background like white noise. Then it comes gonging into our minds at 4 a.m. It makes for a long night and renders us utterly useless, which is why alcohol was invented. The thing about this bell is it rings until you break away.

When we break away and return to ourselves, the ringing stops.

If you’re hearing the bell toll right now, perhaps wondering how to blunt its numbing ping, I am about to offer an antidote — a napkin to jam between the tongue and the bell housing to dull the ringing without destroying the drive.

Snowboarding is a good place to start.

I can’t go on philosophizing about it, it’s better to state it outright: Snowboarding is a breakaway. And right now, February in Colorado, is the perfect time to go. The mountains are spewing over with malleable, flaky, fluffy, powdery snow. Breckenridge Ski Resort has an 84-inch base, which equates to seven feet of snow piled up from the bottom of the mountain, and the rest of the major ski resorts are averaging base depths of 60 inches of snow.

Besides the obvious joy that comes naturally from playing in the snow, snowboarding is a as a great workout and a way to mentally recharge.
According to WebMD.com, a 150-lb. burns 480 calories per hour while snowboarding. The muscles worked include hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and core muscles, which help you maintain balance while shredding epic lefts or long workable rights.

Equally rewarding are the mental benefits that come from “getting sideways” in the mountains. Jonathan Change, M.D. of Pacific Orthopedic Medical Group Inc. in Alhambra, CA, told WebMD.com, “There have been recent studies indicating an improvement people can get in their mood and levels of reduction of anxiety when they are outdoors exercising.”

Above and beyond the hard biological benefits, snowboarding culture perpetuates and shelters our need to break away sometimes. The best way to describe it is, take the atmosphere of the RamSkeller the day after finals, give that atmosphere a name, warm brightly colored clothes, a snowboard and a downward facing slope to ride, then sit back and enjoy the show.

If you’re feeling the need to breakaway and you can hear the bell, the alarm or, in extreme cases, the gong –– consider dressing warm and bright and go recharge on the mountain.

Shane Rohleder is a senior communications major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:41 pm

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