to snowboard in two days?! It cant be done I hear you
cry... Au contraire - our test case specimen rose to the
challenge with tremendous vigour.... although his drive
to get out of bed on the second day was a touch laboured.
I'll take you through the steps he progessed along over
the two days that brought him from complete newbie to
reasonably competent linker of turns on both sides!
candidate had never been on a snowboard before.... he
had however had been wakeboarding a number of times and
whilst able to get up and cross the wake, he certainly
wasn't of the 20 foot air, spin four times and land on
head calibre. He was twenty one years old, of average
fitness, and was more of a keen eater than avid sportsman.
The first steps actually began the night before....
got the kit sorted out, the board set up so that it was
comfortable and at angles to help a beginner - front foot
set to 30 degrees and the back foot set to 15 degrees....
after sorting out whether he was regular or goofy.
newbie then got strapped on, in the living room, and got a feel
for having a 5 foot plank attached to his feet. This inspired
idea gave our man a head start for the next day. He felt comfortable
with the set up and we rigorously went over the downsides of
catching an edge front and back side..... the importance of
NOT catching edges became clear to the newbie once he'd done
it a couple of times. Finally we went over his first steps on
the slopes - sliding on the back edge like a "falling leaf"
it really made it sound quite graceful.
The morning was spent guiding the newbie through the falling
leaf routine. This involves sliding down the nursery slope
on the heel edge of the board by lowering one end of the
board down the hill to go in that direction then bringing
that end up the hill to stop and then repeating the sequence
in the opposite direction by pointing the other end down
the hill. (I hope that makes sense!) The important thing
was that he learnt to stay in control - so he didn't wipe
out any of the other learners on the nursery slopes and
also didn't do any serious damage to himself... aside from
minor dents to his ego.
attained the ability to get down the hill and stop in a controlled
manner the next stage was to use the nursery slope rope drag
lift. The newbie managed this with surprising ease given that
draglifts are often the first major dilemma for a snowboarder.
The key is to keep the weight on the front foot and to avoid
afternoon saw our keen learner eager to join us on the real
slopes - thankfully there were at The Lecht and the chairlift
had a short queue. At the top of the hill the newbie handled
the new challenge well, confidently using the lessons learned
on the nursery slopes to negotiate the slightly steeper main
slopes. Things went a little pearshaped when he got cut up by
a couple of adolescents high on their newfound testosterone
and also when he hit the steep and narrow section. However,
he did stay in control and at the end of the first day he was
starting to try to link turns properly. And so ended the lessons
for day 1.
Day 2's greatest challenge was getting the newbie out of bed
as he didn't feel up to sliding out of the covers let alone
sliding down the piste. After a cooked breakfast and coffee
things took on a different light and his enthusiasm was renewed.
quickly picked up from where day one finished and after
deciding that the pomas weren't for him and returning
to the chairlift things started to look promising again.
We discovered the best way was for the newbie to follow
one of us down the hill and to try and copy the way that
we turned. This process was successful mostly due to the
patience of Miss Morrison who managed to explain the mechanics
of turning better than the rest of us and better than
that was able to get our learner to do it!
the afternoon we had a new boarding fanatic on our hands.
Shortly after lunch on day 2 he was able to confidently
link turns heel and toe side on the moderate slopes and
managed the steeps with a mixture of side slipping, falling
leaf technique and proper turns when he had the bottle.
For the 3 hours in the afternoon the new boarder made
a rapid ascent up the steep learning curve associated
with snowboarding. By the end of day 2 we had a new snowboarder
confident in his abilities to get down the piste and mad
keen to get back up the slopes as soon as possible.
key learning points -
Keep most of the weight on the front foot. Natural reactions
for self preservation are unfortunately to put all your weight
onto the backfoot but all this does is make the board squirt
out from under you and you end up in a crumpled heap.
in control right from the start when learning. It can be done.
It will give you a better snowboarding experience by building
your confidence and will save you painful knocks as well as
others around you.
no substitute for 1 to 1 professional instruction, the fact
that the newbie was taught by 4 competent boarders for the 2
days meant that his mistakes were corrected and his questions
were answered quickly. Some form of tuition is money well spent
as you'll come away disillusioned if you just hire a board and
go for it.
snowboard had Flow bindings this saved the learner from needless
hours on his butt strapping on to his board. Any board with
step in bindings should help the learning process in the same
have been ommitted to protect the innocent.... but there's no
getting away from the photos!