25 July 2017 from Danielle in 'Ski areas'' | 0 Comments

Learning to snowboard

Congratulations, you’ve taken the leap and decided to try out snowboarding! I applaud you. Whether you’re a skier looking for a new challenge, or a budding snow sports enthusiast who has chosen snowboarding as their torture method of choice, you’re going to love it. And after some lessons with a good instructor and a few practice runs, you’ll be shredding the slopes like a pro! Nothing tops the sensation of whizzing down the mountain in a spray of white powder. In order to help you prepare for your first day on the slopes, we’ve prepared some handy tips.

Why should you learn to snowboard as an adult?

Snowboarding is a fairly new sport – in fact, it’s only been around for half a century, and it made it into the Olympics just shy of 20 years ago. So, though you might view it as a sacrifice of your ski holidays, learning to snowboard is actually a way to prove how hip and modern you are! These days, snowboarding is giving skiing a run for its money. Why not give it a try and leave those bulky ski boots at home for a day?

Learning a new sport

Learning a new sport

Snowboarding 101

There’s no beating around the bush: you’ll have to accept the fact that you’re going to be terrible at this the first few times. It doesn’t matter how athletic you are or how good you are at skiing. There’s no getting around it. And it takes some getting used to, especially for you skiers out there, who are used to zooming down black runs on your skis. Try it on your snowboard – just try! You’ll be tumbling head-over-heels down the green runs. But don’t worry, this sport has loads of redeeming features. We’ll discuss them later. For now, concentrate on finding your centre of gravity. You’ll need to know where it is, so you can tip it over a bunch of times as you fall. As adults, it’s a bit scary to fall so much, so it’s important to find a good teacher who will help you out.

A whole new set of challenges

A whole new set of challenges

First few times on your snowboard

It’s the first few days that will put you to the test as you embark on your exciting new career as an adult snowboarder. You might get discouraged, especially as by the end of the first day you’re sure to be exhausted and covered in bruises. Prepare to spend 90% of your time on your rear in the wet snow, and try not to lose hope after the first one or two disastrous descents. You’ll most likely have to wait until the second week of the snowboarding course before you’ll be able to string your turns together and make your pain-free way down the hill. But once you crack it, snowboarding is one of the best sports out there. You won’t regret the effort!

Snowboarding is intimidating but hang in there!

Snowboarding is intimidating but hang in there!

Snowboard lessons

Because of the sheer physical effort involved in learning to snowboard, you’ll be glad to hear that most snowboard lessons last just two-and-a-half hours. Over a six-day period this still means you’re spending 15 hours on the slopes, more than enough to start tackling real green and blue pistes by the end. You’ll be hurting in muscles you didn’t even know you had, but imagine the sense of pride! In any case, we strongly recommend hiring a teacher who can help answer your questions, soothe your frazzled nerves and teach you all you need to know about posture and technique.

Snowboard lessons are definitely worth it

Snowboard lessons are definitely worth it

Dressed to the nines

Whether you’re an adult or a child, you’ll need to be well-equipped for your first day of snowboarding. Waterproof clothing is a must, as snowboarders spend much more time in the snow than skiers do. Make sure you have these items of clothing before you brave the Arctic chill that is the Alps:

  • Hardy, waterproof snowboard pants that will protect your knees and... other parts of your body from the icy snow.
  • Long underwear, a jumper, a ski jacket, etc. that comes fairly low down in the back, to protect against the heaps of snow that will burrow their way down your back when you go tumbling head over heels.
  • Waterproof ski gloves or mittens. These are more important in snowboarding, because you need to push yourself up off the snow every time you finish strapping on your snowboard.

You can see for yourself that it’s crucial to have a proper snowboarding outfit, especially when you’re just starting out. You’ll have no one to blame but yourself if you’re miserable and cold after the first five minutes. Pro tip: Investing in wrist guards can help protect your wrists if you take a nasty fall!

Learning to snowboard: The verdict

So much effort, so much pain… is it really worth it? Well, as a skier who struggled through all these horrible forms of torture to learn snowboarding, I can vehemently assure you that it’s worth every second. Snowboarding is a whole new ball game, a whole other set of challenges, and a whole new way to make a connection with the mountain. And did I mention how comfortable the boots were?

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Born and raised in the ski paradise of Vancouver, Canada, I learned to ski before I can remember, balancing precariously on my parents’ skis as they sailed down the hill. I started snowboarding in my teens and am now delighted to be exploring everything Europe’s ski scene has to offer!

 
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