Yesterday I had my first snowboarding lesson!
Snowboarding is something I have ALWAYS wanted to try. When I was younger I used to love that snowboarding game on the PS2 where you could do amazing tricks, I was always so good at it! Last year my sister found a deal on Groupon to go snowboarding and went with her work friends. I was really gutted I missed it, so swore to myself I'd check the website daily from then on for when the deal came up again. Anyway back in January I was sat watching the film Chalet Girl (which is about snowboarding if you haven't seen it) and thought to myself it might be time to just go ahead and book a lesson without the groupon deal as I was desperate to try it. 2012 is my year for trying new things so I decided to finally get off my bum and book it. However, this was about half 11 at night so I just logged onto Groupon on a whim just to check...and the deal was there! I thought this was a little bit of a sign :) Just simply because I'd been waiting for the deal to come back up for so long and then the very night I watch a snowboarding film and decide to book a lesson anyway the deal comes up! I was especially lucky to check the website only half an hour before the deal ran out ha!
Anyway, onto the lesson! Lessons usually cost £29 but with the Groupon deal it only cost £11 - about £15 including the cost to hire out the gear! So cheap! In Milton Keynes which is about a half hour drive from me we have the Xscape which has a massive snowslope inside, as well as other things. So it's the perfect place to learn. I booked two beginner lessons so that my sister could come along with me as well.
So we went in and got all kitted up (my sister cried with laughter for a good 10 minutes when I put on a helmet backwards that was too small for me - she thought I looked like an egg!). The boots are so heavy and tight! And the boards are really heavy too! After that we followed the instructors in - there was a really big group of us so clearly the Groupon deal had proved popular. First of all at the bottom of the slope they showed us how to get on the board properly - strapping our feet in tight and such. Then we got a little moving floor lift thing to the very top of the slope as we were going to be using the top half for our lesson. This moving floor thing was well dodgy, a few times it stopped and we all almost fell over! Once at the top we realized how high it was and then our very hilarious French instructor informed us that for the lesson we'd be learning the basics and going down the slope - backwards!
He explained that we'd have to balance on the board and bend at the knees and relax to be in the correct position. Then whilst going down the slope we had to lean forward to stop the board and lean back to go. He also explained that when going down you cannot look at your feet else you'll fall - you have to look straight ahead of you! I can't remember exactly, so if you're hoping to try snowboarding please don't use my advice in this post about what we were told to do ha! It took me a good 10 minutes to get strapped in then the hard part was getting up. Once sitting on the floor you kind of have to roll onto your front (impossible with the weight of the board!) and push yourself up. When it was my turn for going down I was petrified! I fell loads of course and didn't really get the hang of it my first time going down but the instructor explained to me that my feet weren't strapped in tight enough. As I was leaning forward to slow down/stop the board, nothing was happening because I was just creating a gap between my ankle and the back of the boot - not lifting up the back of the board.
My second time going down was better! I got the hang of it mostly but still fell as whenever I went too fast I got scared ha! He also taught us how to move from side to side and I think I got this perfectly! The last few times were going down the whole slope, not just the top half. When I got to the bottom it turns out the lesson was up and everyone had left except the instructor and my sister as I'd taken so long to get down ha!
It was only an hours lesson covering the very basics but it was really fun! I would suggest everyone try it at least once. I am definitely going to continue lessons (I was given a little card as proof that I'd completed stage one and also giving me 50% off my next lesson!) however I've got to say I don't think that everyone would go on to continue lessons after the first one. It is so, so much harder then you think it is. It's not cold for a start, you get so hot and bothered doing it. You'll also wonder what the point is at some points when you're taking a good 10 minutes to take off your board and put it back on only to fall down a slope 10 times in the space of 2 minutes. However this is expected and obviously as you get better you'll fall less and learn to put your equipment on quicker. It's not at all what I expected but even though it was tough, I think it's something I'd love to keep up and I'd be willing to put the hard work in. As hard as it was, it felt really cool when I finally started to get the hang of it!