I’ve been skiing for a long time, and recently have been yearning to try something different. I’ve always shied away from snowboarding thinking it was just a trend and that everyone would go back to skiing eventually. However, with so many mates that board, it was only a matter of time before I decided to try it. The decision was made 100% following my injury last April when I ruptured my ACL on the Swiss Wall in the Portes du Soleil.
So that was it, I was getting on the board… I was excited, but I never expected the amount of bother I would get from my skier friends. ‘Why are you going over to the Dark Side?’, as if this change was akin to turning into Darth Vader and abandoning my entire family. ‘Why do you want to spend your whole day sitting down?’ and the best one; ‘You know we won’t wait for you if you’re too slow’.
I would not be put off however and a few days later went to get my boots and board. What a revelation walking out of the hire shop; I know everyone says it, but I couldn’t believe how much more comfortable these boots were – I’d not even got on the board yet and it was already Skiing 0, Boarding 1.
I jumped on the bubble with my advanced snowboarder friend and went up to the wide open green runs which I was sure I would be gliding down in no time. First things first, apparently I needed to know whether I was ‘goofy’ or ‘regular; and this entailed being pushed from behind and seeing which foot you instinctively put forward. Well, being pushed forward the first time on a board tells you nothing apart from what it feels like to fall face first into the snow. So we decided to go to the total basics; apparently if you point your board straight down the slope, you pick up speed (I didn’t want to do that!) and if you keep your board horizontal across the slope you slow down or stop (much better!). Holding both of my hands, my friend talked me slowly through the fundamentals and I practised and practised. I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of falling over and it was several days before I could remotely say I was anything near gliding down the slope. It was, however, so so much fun, and I can safely say that, for now, I am a convert. What an amazing feeling it was to be challenged on the snow again and to learn a skill that I had, for so long, watched in amazement. To anyone doubting whether or not they should learn, don’t listen to your skier friends, just do it!
Words – Ruth Howarth
Courchevel Resort Manager