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Trying anything for the first time can be daunting, and learning to snowboard is no exception. Some people never push themselves. But by choosing a comfortable, easy life they never know what’s possible and how much fun they are missing. Business associate and friend, Natalie Eminae, is no such person and she travelled to Manchester’s Chill Factore, with her boyfriend, to take up the challenge. She tells us how it went…

“They say life begins at the end of your comfort zone, and I like to think that I live at the end of mind. Every day, I try to do one thing that makes me feel truly uncomfortable. But the truth is, that when you run a business, it often means making a cold call you’ve been dreading, or speaking in front of a room of industry professionals.

End of comfort zone, yes. Feeling alive and truly energized? Not so much.

Since setting up my business, I’ve also been considerably less active. I used to love to run and swim and skate, but these days, I’m lucky if I manage to fit in a couple of flights of stairs each week.

This year I was determined to make a change, get truly out of my comfort zone and fit in some actual cardiovascular exercise. I have known Kate for a while and I have always felt inspired by her Mummy Snowboarder blog, so I booked an introductory snowboarding session at Chill Factore for both myself and my boyfriend, Peter.

Snowboarding is something that I’ve always wanted to try and Chill Factore made it simple and easy by including a board and gear with our booking. Arriving at the Manchester venue, I couldn’t remember under which name I’d booked (mine or his – turned out to be his) and unfortunately, the member of staff on the desk insisted that I should have been more prepared. It didn’t fill me with confidence. If I couldn’t even get past reception, maybe this would be a horrible mistake…in cold call terms, I’d fallen at the first gatekeeper.

Luckily, collecting our equipment and getting ready was seamless – most staff seemed very friendly and keen to help.  All prepared, we hit the small slope with our group, that was very much aimed at beginners. Perfect.

The class started with an introduction to the snowboard itself, before lining up to ride down the beginners’ slope. After a few runs, our instructor got us to add a twist and a jump, and everyone seemed to be having a brilliant time. People’s ages ranged from ten to forty, and there was a good sense of camaraderie – we were all in the same beginner’s boat. The exception was my other half who could already snowboard. Through work, he had completed an intensive course at Snow Factor in Glasgow. Ever the gentleman, he hid it well and helped me with a little advice. Our instructor repeated that snowboarding was very similar to skateboarding, but it was Peter hissing in my ear that I couldn’t control the board with my weight, like a skateboard, that enabled me to get air on my jump run. If you’re like me, harbouring many 90’s skateboarding bad habits, focusing on pulling up, pushing down will do you no favours!  

It was hard, it was exhausting and it wasn’t exactly fun. I was so worried not being able to perform, not able to do what was being asked. And I was even more anxious that I could fall over at any moment. 

But everything considered, I had a great time: I got my heart rate up; I tried something truly new; and I was out of my comfort zone. Although it was difficult, I’m proud to say I kept my balance, landed my jumps, and didn’t feel too bad about my first performance on the slopes.

Tamworth Snowdome

Tamworth Snowdome

And now, I cannot wait to snowboard again. Feeling alive and energized, and having started at an indoor snow slope, I feel confident to book an intensive training course as well as travelling abroad for a winter holiday.

So, if you’re considering learning to snowboarding but aren’t sure, don’t wait! Book an introductory session or a taster course and give it a go. Life really is too short to not be riding out of your comfort zone on a snowboard.

Well done, Natalie, and thank you for sharing your first experience on a snowboard. Although difficult, you have been inspired to continue learning and become a fully-fledged shredder! A Mummysnowboarder t-shirt is heading your way. With summer days shortening, heralding the approach of autumn, now is the perfect time to start thinking about winter holidays. For those who have always wanted to try snowboarding getting along to your local indoor snow slope is the perfect opportunity. Happy shredding…..”