Thursday, 19 February 2015

A Skier Boarding

Wednesday 4th February and I was sat on a coach on the way to Chill Factore, with all good intentions of getting a solid 2 hours of skiing in. Then it dawned on me, although I love skiing it really wasn’t the challenge I was looking for, the slope isn’t that steep and it is quite flat and powdery, so I couldn’t work on improving my technique; I would just develop sloppy habits. These factors resulted in my decision to learn how to snowboard. I didn’t want to be going up and down the same slope for 2 hours; I wanted a new challenge, I love learning new skills so this was the perfect opportunity.  

12 months previous I had 3 x 1 hour lessons on my local dry slope. I picked it up relatively quick however, when it came to going parallel down the slope in the process of learning how to link turns I just couldn’t do it so I stopped having lessons. It just felt wrong leaning down the slope going sideways. Whether this was my skiing instincts coming through or because I didn’t have enough confidence in my back foot to bring it round to slow down, I still don’t know to this day. There was something different about this trip; I knew that I could do it. I sat on the coach going through what I needed to do, the memory of falling in Tignes still fresh in my head. I asked myself what is the worst that could happen; the answer being a bruised soggy bum and/or knees. Resulting in a new found sense of confidence. I probably wasn’t up to the level of what I should have been for recreational boarding, but I knew the only way of me doing it was throwing myself in the deep end and learning it in my own time.

Queuing up for boots and a board I had butterflies in my stomach and also a sense of worry and doubt. The first thing I noticed was that snowboarding boots are heaven to walk in compared to ski boots, making it so much easier to get to the bottom of the slope next to the lift. I had good intentions of going to the top of the lift and doing the ‘falling leaf’ all the way down and then cracking on with learning to link turns. Half way up my first ascent I fell off the lift, not because I tripped over, but because the lift slipped out from between my legs and I didn’t want to get pulled along hanging on for dear life with my arms. A lot of people stared at me, but I didn’t care, I slid along on my bum strapped my bindings up and got on with my original plan, but from half way up the slope. I was rusty at first then getting straight back into the swing of things. From then on every ascent was successful, and by the end of the session I’d progressed onto the ‘fast lift’. I then worked on making my dismount as graceful as possible, rather than getting my legs tangled at the top and faffing.

For the first few runs trying to link turns proved impossible as I had found before, but then the boarding lads from Tignes noticed where I was going wrong and taking it upon themselves to help me for the rest of the session. In the end I successfully managed to link turns, finding it easier turning out from going backwards to forwards (strange I know, you’d think this would be harder as you can’t see where you are turning to). And on the last run I managed to do 3 consecutive 360’s. So overall I’d like to think the trip to Chill Factore was a success.

5 top tips for skiers wanting to learn how to board:
  1. ·         Hook button lifts under your front leg, squeeze this between both legs and hold on for dear life
  2. ·         Wear waterproof trousers and also bum and knee protection if you own it
  3. ·         Be confident in your legs ability
  4. ·         Put your weight over the first foot into the turn and point your body to where you want to go, the board will follow
  5. ·         Enjoy yourself but push yourself, you will learn more and go further, you understand how snow works so already have a step up on beginners

I’d like to say a massive thanks to Jake who helped me for the whole 2 hours, I get to teach him how to ski in return later, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Luke and Kai who helped me with tips on leaning and balance. Also Justine WE DID IT!!! #ProudFriend

If any of you are skiers who have tried to board, or who would like to try boarding I’d love to know your thoughts/experiences too, so please get in touch :)

No comments:

Post a Comment