Snowboarding with Snow Factor

01 August 2017


Hello!

Wait, this is Tuesday, why isn't Gail writing a travel post?

About that. I feel as though I've been really trying to push myself to come up with travel posts, and while I got a few, it's too much work trying to think of new things to write about. Also while looking at the views the travel Tuesday posts were getting, coupled with my motivation for writing them it seems to be the best decision for myself and for my blog to just write about whatever twice a week, probably more positivity and lifestyle, and then get travel posts written when I have the opportunity to go travelling. I hope that's okay with you.

Anyway, so snowboarding.

At my current job, I sell ski wear. Jackets, Sallopettes, Ski helmets, all the clothing you could really need for snow sports. Plus, I work near to a ski slope, and as I'm in the centre, I'm able to get a discount!

Before I started in the shop, I didn't really know that much about what I was selling, to be perfectly honest. I mostly listened to the advice my colleagues gave and learned from there. I felt like I was wasting an opportunity, though. And the more I was talking to customers about skiing and snowboarding, the more the thought occurred to me that 'actually, maybe I should start to learn...'

Then came the choice between 'should I ski, or should I snowboard?' and I was split 50/50. Both were appealing to me. Skiing was what most of the customers came in to get clothes for, while snowboardind held an appeal to me because of its likeness to skating and surfing. Then one day, when we were tidying up our stock room, we discovered a snowboard  (display purposes) and that was my decision made. I was going to be a snowboarder.

So, in February this year, I booked myself a fast track class, which covers levels 1+2. This first class was with Gill, and I was joined by two other girls who were learning boarding for going on holidays with their boyfriends. Two of my colleagues ran out to the viewing deck for the ski slope, with a banner made to cheer me on! It got a good laugh, and my name wasn't forgettable from then on. Gill was lovely, in fact all the instructors were, but they all had different qualities. Gill was laid back, and one of the other girls described her as 'you are definitely a snowboarder, haha!', she was also really caring, and she's the person who took the photo of me in the picture down below! The lesson was 4 hours long and when I left I was feeling very confident, as well as very achy (definitely gave my muscles a good workout!)

My next lesson was a week later, with Rob T. This time, there was nobody else on the lesson alongside me, so it was practically a private lesson. In some ways that's great, because it gives me the extra support when I need it, but in other ways I don't like that, because then all focus is on me. Eek. This was another fast track lesson, this time for levels 3+4, which meant that I was going up to the half way point on the main slope, and stepping away from the beginners slope, so long as I was able to link two turns  We also learned that I'm not a 'Goofy' boarder as I thought I was, I am in fact a 'Regular' boarder. (I'm left footed rather than right footed.)




I haven't mentioned one of the other reasons I'd decided to take up boarding lessons. I have a fear of falling, particularly from a height. So imagine that fear combined with having both of my feet strapped in place, and now being asked to move my body 180 degrees so that you're facing the opposite direction, all while in motion. Yup. Terrifying, but I managed it. Rob kept telling me not to get angry, because when you're angry, you get frustrated, and when you're frustrated, then it only leads to disaster (I'm paraphrasing because I can't remember his exact words.) So I tried my hardest and managed to gain my level 4. I was buzzing. (Even after I'd gotten over the embarrassment of having a panic attack on the chair lift.)

The next again week was my 23rd birthday, and I could think of nothing better than gaining my level 5 on my birthday, so I booked that lesson in! On this one, I was with Alan R, and it was only a 90 minute lesson, because there are 5 levels you need to pass before you can go on the slope unaccompanied (you can do a level 6 after you've been practicing for a little while, which is advanced skills.) Again, there was nobody else booked in, so it was another private lesson. We practiced what I was doing again on the half way point, and then it was time to go to the top of the slope. Which had a steeper gradient. And I had to do two turns.

I couldn't do it for the longest time, I was getting so angry and so frustrated and eventually, Alan noticed, and after helping me tonnes, and giving me a bunch of advice, he told me to go straight to the top and try again, and he would stay at the bottom and watch. Because he noticed (as he also said to me) that when I get frustrated and angry, then I can manage it. I need that emotion to make me power on, and it worked. I linked my turns and gained my level 5! I was officially a snowboarder!

I haven't been back since, and I really do want to, but I'm too nervous to go back onto the slope by myself (and I'm trying to bully some friends into learning so that they can go with me!) But I really do love that I can say 'Oh yeah, I know how to snowboard.' I was also really amazed at the fact I seemed to have muscle memory, because the stances I was taking, and the footwork I was doing was all reminicent of Fencing, and I don't know why, but I just found it really unexpected.

I'm planning to go to France for a little bit next year, to visit Joanne (my flatmate from university) so that we can have a catch up, but also go skiing and snowboarding, so I probably should go back on the slopes soon! The guys at Snow Factor were all amazing, and so helpful, they really made me feel at ease, and it was a great experience having different techniques to help me learn what I was doing, and I really believe that it helped get the best out of me.

Can you snowboard? Or Ski? Would you like to, or do you do a different sport instead? Let me know!

Until next time, be excellent to each other.