From the attic: This article was first published in CURL #29 in 2011
“As I struggle to pull my glove on over my sweaty hand, it seems ten sizes too small. I just can’t do my bindings up with it on. I take a deep breath and flip from my butt to my belly, my knees and hips hit the snow for the what feels like the hundredth time. This is the only way I am able to push myself up, maybe I should have taken that lesson…”
Winter is here, the waters are cooler and don’t inspire you to get out of bed in the weekends. It’s time to rally your friends, head to the mountains and give snowboarding a go! I knew nothing my first day snowboarding, so I am going to share with you some thoughts. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
First of all let’s start off with what you will need.
Snowboard and Boots. Your snowboard and boots need to fit YOU right. Having the right gear is important as it will make your day a lot easier and therefore more enjoyable. The best idea for your first day would be to rent them. Most board/ski shops in resort towns will have rentals and you can rent the afternoon before. They will be able to sort you out with the best fit of boots and board. The larger ski fields will have rentals too, just make sure you get there a little earlier to get your gear sorted. Other items you will need are…
Waterproof breathable Pants and Jacket, Waterproof breathable Gloves or Mittens, Goggles/Sunglasses, Hat/Helmet, Sunscreen and Chapstick, Layers of Clothes/Thermals.
Now that you’ve got the gear, figure out where your closest mountain is and how you’re going to get there. Shuttles are always a good option. Chains are sometimes needed and this way you won’t have to get and put them on. It is always a good idea to give the ski area a call and check weather and road conditions.
Once you have arrived head over to the ticket office, most resorts offer a lift ticket/lesson deal. Now here is my first big tip. Take the lesson. I know you will be rearing to go and being in a lesson is the last thing you want to do. The lesson will greatly decrease the amount of time you spend on your butt for the day. It will pay off and this way you won’t find yourself still on the beginner slope at 3pm floundering about. Group lessons are generally 2 hours long, so you will have plenty of time in the afternoon to practice with your mates.
Lunch time, it’s important to fuel up for the afternoon as mistakes can be painful. Get out there and practice yourself or take another lesson. If you are tempted to get on the chair lift, make sure you are ready for it and get on the right one. You don’t want to find yourself somewhere too far above your ability and take a frustrating 3 hours making your way down. Pick up a trail map at the ticket office and take it with you.
It’s the end of the day and you are almost certainly going to be tired and sore, but one thing I can guarantee is that you will have a huge smile on your face and you will feel stoked. Don’t forget to have a good stretch specially your quads (front of your upper leg), glutes (butt), hamstrings (back of your upper leg) and neck. This will pay off when you are waking up tomorrow. Now get out there, have some fun, good luck and I hope you get hooked!
• Don’t leave your boots in your car the night before, they will become cold and stiff.
• Stuff your pockets full of Nature Valley bars to snack on.
• Check the weather forecast.
• Jump on the internet and find out more information on local resorts.
• Wear just one pair of socks.
• Tie those laces nice and snug, but don’t cut off your circulation.
• Loosening your boots at lunch time will help warm your toes and relieve any muscle cramp.
• Start on the beginner slope, not the half pipe!