Are you excited? When the days are shorter, the nights draw in and it turns colder most people feel indifferent about the change in season, unless you are a snow sport enthusiast. For us the excitement and anticipation starts to build. Maybe you are researching the latest gear to purchase, looking forward to your annual snowboarding holiday, or trying to get fit. But all of us need to feel like we are getting prepared for our precious time on the snow.
Last week I managed to get away to my ‘local’ indoor snow slope, Snozone at Castleford, with my friend Ann-Marie so we could both re-connect to the snow sport world and fuel our desire and fervour to get snowboarding. The last time I rode my board was four months ago, but for Ann-Marie it had been over five years since she had strapped in. Ann-Marie is also a forty-something mother, and over the last few years her focus has been elsewhere. But she was keen to join me on the slopes with a borrowed board and her old gear. She had not had much formal teaching but after a couple of runs the muscle memory returned and she ripped it up flying down the slope and trying some new moves too. The first couple of runs are always a bit shaky, but as soon as our snowboard legs were established we tried some switch and a few flatland tricks. My favourites are tail press and butter spins. The features were out on the slope but all were roped off in preparation for Friday Freestyle night. Ann-Marie learnt that her own unique scooting method was not as efficient as travelling with her unstrapped foot behind the board propelling her along. She also found switch made her think more about her technique rather than relying on ingrained methods to snowboard which we all do when riding in our normal stance. I knew that employing tips, which I had been taught, such as holding my snowboard pants to ensure I did not twist my upper body made a difference, and by the end of our two hours we both felt like we had made improvements in our riding.
The short time we had on the slope were just what the doctor ordered and we came away feeling energised with excitement stoked even further. Most of the indoor snow slopes are situated close to other amenities and we had a chance to eat a carb-loaded lunch of pizza and browse the local TSA (The Snowboard Asylum) shop which was great for checking out the new season’s gear and clothing. It is at this time of year that we start unpacking our old kit and equipment to see what needs repairing, upgrading and replacing. For me I love a bit of online browsing so I can lust after whatever takes my fancy. At the moment I keep ogling a Roxy Banana Smoothie snowboard after I rode one for a day last season courtesy of British Airways who lost my board in Terminal 5 at Heathrow! I keep looking, but at £400 for a new purchase it is more likely to remain a fantasy than become a reality. But then what is snowboarding about if not to dream from time to time? We dream of being on the slopes, carving a perfect turn or floating through powder on a Bluebird day or perfecting the current trick we are trying to master.
Winter is coming and it is time to start thinking and dreaming of what the forthcoming season will bring. What do you want to do, achieve and be this year? What are you going to do to start getting ready? I have already begun, but it is time to push on with fitness and paying for winter holidays. Now where is that IPad so I can check out my dream snowboard?……..
Until next time, TTFN.