It’s currently raining cats dogs in Vancouver, like usual, and I’m stuck inside. Normally, this would be driving me insane but the fact that I know that all this rain is going to be snow up on the mountains is keeping my mood up.
I’m a snowboarder, but I wasn’t always one. In fact, I used to think I’d never have a use for the ski hills. If you’ve ever tried skiing and come to the same conclusion, I’m here to change your mind.
When I was six I was learning to ski and was as good as you would expect. I went skiing with my mom and my neighbour, Lionel, who took us to this supposedly easy green run. He had skied way more than me or my mom so we trusted him. The run was way above my skill level and scared the living daylights out of me. I was so scared I had to ride on his shoulders the whole way down.
After that, my mom took me to where I should have been from the start: the bunny hill. We skied there for a while and then called it a day. That was the last time I ever did anything in the snow other than snowball fights and tubing. I made up my mind that skiing was not for me. Why would snowboarding be any different?
But then I watched the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games–the men’s slopestyle event, specifically. The snowboarders were so cool–all that flying, flipping and spinning through the air inspired me. I signed up for a week long snowboard lessons at Grouse Mountain.
The first thing I heard about learning to snowboard is you spend the first day falling on your ass and hands. I thought that was a joke but it turned out to be true. I spent the first two hours struggling to move or even stand without falling.
For those who don’t snowboard or are looking to learn, don’t let this fact discourage you. Once you start boarding, your body starts to adjust and it’s like someone flipped a switch. One run you can’t even stand up, the next you can. Getting over that hump will be the hardest thing you have to do, but once you do everything else starts to fall into place.
For me, after the third lesson, I was able to board green runs and by the end of the week I was able to do blues.
I owe all of my success to my coach who kept on pushing me and showing me how to do things properly. This kept me motivated. I was so motivated to keep boarding I bought a seasons pass and my own equipment off Craigslist. I bought a Rossignol Jibsaw board and bindings and some Head boots. I have no complaints about my gear so I would completely recommend this board and binding to anyone.
To this day I’m still surprised how different snowboarding is from skiing. Skiing was really easy at the start and but as soon as you try anything that isn’t “pizza and french fries” as they say, it gets really, really hard–at least it did for me. But with snowboarding, once you find your balance, everything just falls into place. So if the reason why you’re not trying snowboarding is because you think it will be the same as skiing, don’t worry. It’s practically the opposite.
To anyone looking to start snowboarding I implore you to get out and do it. Get some lessons and just try it.