I snowboard and when I do I am typically the lone boarder among my group of friends who are all skiers.
For those unfamiliar with snowboarding I’d point out a few differences that relate to the point I’d like to make in this post. These differences are – the bindings, the speed of travel and dealing with flat stretches.
Bindings – Unlike ski bindings which allow a skier to very quickly and easily step into their bindings, snowboard bindings require a boarder has to ‘strap in’ and this typically takes a few moments. Also, unlike skiers who are able to ride the chairlift while still in their ski bindings, a boarder has to undo the rear binding each time they get on the lift and then strap in again when they get to the top of the lift. At the top of the lift, my friends very graciously wait for me each time I have to strap in, occasionally teasing me about their having to “wait for the boarder”.
Flat stretches – When covering a flat section, a snowboarder can only use the momentum they carry into the section and if the momentum is gone before they reach a section with enough pitch, they will come to a stop. They then have to release their rear binding, walk the section (awkwardly at best and usually with some difficulty) and then have to strap in again when they have reached a section with the necessary pitch to get them going again. A skier, having two separate skis, has the advantage of being able to ‘skate’ and propel him or her self through the section. An alternative for a boarder is to have a skier extend a pole which they then grab and the skier pulls them through the section. This is what my friends do for me. Coming into a flat section, one of them will extend a pole to me and pull me through the section enabling me to keep going and not have to release my rear binding, walk the section and then strap in again. It also eliminates the need for them to wait for me which is probably their real motive.
My riding with this group of skiers is enjoyable because they extend me these courtesies and I greatly appreciate their patience and caring.
Recently, I rode with a group of three skiers whom I had just met. At the top of lift they would reluctantly wait for me, making comments about losing time on the slopes. Then they would take off at high speed and quickly be out of my sight and I wouldn’t catch up to them until I reached the lift at the bottom. Here again they’d make a snide remark about my being slow and slowing them down. Not surprisingly, when we came to flat spots, they would look back and watch as I inevitably slowed and then came to a stop and had to release my binding and ten walk…watching them disappear ahead of me. As you can imagine, this was not much fun and I after two runs I decided I’d rather not ride with them.
As I was riding with this second group, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much more enjoyable it was to ride with my friends. I realized there was a corollary to those proposal groups where the members perform as a team – supporting one another, being patient with those who might need a bit of time to catch up and the good natured ribbing that goes with people who enjoy working with each other. Being a member of this type of team is not only enjoyable but, in my experience, they are more productive and they produce higher quality results. I want to work with – and ride with – a team wherein members support one another.