Standing at the top of the volcano looking down I nearly backed down. Looking down what seemed like at least a 60% grade I could only see the first half of the run. Volcano boarding sounded cool and looked cool, but I was sure that I was about to severely injure myself. I know, I know, what kind of adventure travel blogger am I? Assuring us it was easy, our guide Wilbur boarded for about ten seconds before turning around and telling us “the first 10 seconds is scary, then it gets easy”. Hmm, I had my suspicions.
If you know me then you know I hardly back away from anything and after climbing up the volcano in 90 degree weather for over an hour there was no way, no matter how scared I was that I would turn around. I just had to convince myself that I wouldn’t die in the process.
Clipping into my bindings, I angled the board towards the bottom and quickly headed down the volcano. I’ll admit, it was much easier than it looked and I had no trouble maneuvering the board or controlling my speed. In fact most of the way I wanted to go faster not slower, but had a difficult time clearing the volcanic rock from my board. I quickly felt confident enough on the board to try jumping and carving a little. Cruising to the bottom without much excitement (really no falls or anything!) I turned around to see Danny flying down the volcano.
As part of the briefing our guide casually mentioned to Danny that his board was “slightly” faster than the others. According to Danny it was more than slightly faster. Although I missed seeing it live (I was cruising down on my own), Danny had an “eventful” time heading down the volcano. I think the video speaks for itself:
Congratulating ourselve at the bottom for making it down, we all agreed that a ski lift needed to be installed. There was no way we were hiking back up that steep grade with the boards, but we definitely wanted to do it again.
The walk up Cerro Negro was also spectacular in its own right. Sure we’ve already been mere inches away from lava but it was nice to tour inside an active crater, feeling the heat from the activity just and below the surface, and smelling the sulfur. Hiking around the rim of the crater we could feel the heat eminating from the ground and looking out at the surrounding valley it was easy to see the destruction this volcano had caused in its short lifespan. The youngest volcano in Central America, Cerro Negro appeard about 150 years ago transforming the topography of Leon. Erupting several times since then the last significant eruption was in 1999. With all of the steam, heat and activity instide the crater, I agree with the locals, it can’t be long again before another.
Interested in Volcano Boarding? Check out our Volcano Boarding Review!