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Feel the force, turning to the darkside.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Due to lack of cartilage under my kneecap I am faced with the choice of stopping sliding or try snowboarding so I decided to give boarding a go.

So a couple of mates and I booked a days course at Hemel to see if the knees could cope with it. 5 hours of laughter later and we were signed off as level 3, which means able to link turns. More importantly the knees didn't hurt.

5 days later 2 of us were booked to go to Val D'Isere with a 3 hour lesson on the Sunday and a 2 hour lesson on the Tuesday, both with Jay of Freedom Snowboarding. The downside of this was that the first lesson started at 10:30 which gave us an hour and a half to try to master the art of getting off a chair lift without causing too much carnage.
We were full of confidence, completely forgetting that we'd only been on the learner slope at Hemel. So when we fell of the end of the village chair lift for the first time and looked at the slope ahead of us our perception of "steep" altered considerably, we used falling leaf to get down to the more mangeable gradient then tried to remember how to turn. I think it took us about 20 minutes to get down to the chair lift agian...20 minutes, I could have walked it quicker, blinfold, in ski boots! Two more attempts and my mate being a smart back bottom had mastered the chair lift exit technique which I obviously hadn't. Looking on the positive side, I hadn't wiped out anyone else yet.

We met up with Jay who took us up to the green area on Bellevarde. Jay was great, getting our confidence back up and showing us how to get about the whole mountain really. We finished with a very slow run down into Val Claret for a late lunch. In the afternoon we made our way back via La Daille and a bus home not being up to Satans.
Monday and we were again on first lifts but alas it had all gone to pot. Lots more falling over meant despite bump shorts my coccyx was very sore and my mate was fed up with face planting.
Tuesday and we met up with Jay again who rebuilt us for the second time. I was managing about a 50/50 ratio with the bloody chairlifts at this point. We finished by taking it very carefully down OK without too much drama.
Wednesday was scheduled as a whole chalet sliding day, my mate strapped his skis on and I snuck off for a sneaky practice. Honestly, I was so fed up with falling over I'd promised myself if it didn't get any better, once the chalet had got fed up with me and skied off I'd go home and drown my sorrows in gin and spend the day in the pool. Alas, it was not to be. I had 3 runs on my own without mishap and even the chair lift score was 3/0 to me. I then met up with the rest of the chalet and off we went to the glacier.
So off went the two fastest skiers and I completely forgot I was a beginner on a board and shot off after them. To say I had an epiphany is a kind of understatement! It all came together big time. I was even cruising the reds in complete control and not holding up the group at all.
Fast forward to Friday, last day and one of the things I wanted to do was a top to bottom run down from Grande Motte finishing on Double M. I had a massive off at speed on a flat bit up top but apart from that when I reached the bottom I realised I wasn't even out of breathe and my thighs weren't burning. That wouldn't have happened on two planks!
Back up to Bellevarde and I realised the only way home was down La Face, oh well, what's the worst that could happen? So I admit I slipped a bit at the top of the steepest bit, but after that it was all good. La Face after a week and I didn't stop or fall over, it took me years to accomplish that on skis!

Home, my knee is rather sore so rest then more physio will hopefully get it ready for 10 months time.

I was very glad I wore my motorbike body armour, mainly for the back protector, bump shorts, wrist guards, knee pads and a helmet. I was still very sore to the pojnt of nearly giving up, but at least I wasn't broken.

The days lesson at Hemel was completely worth it.

Jay of Freedom has the patience of a saint and is one of the best instructors I have had, not only able to discuss technique but how various parts of the body should be feeling and responding to pressure and movement. He was telling and showing us things that only started to make sense a day or two later which really accelerated my learning process.

So until I can afford the time off for a knee replacement op (not likely) I think I can continue to have fun sliding by turning to the darkside. Bring it on!

PS. The boots are really comfy too!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
SSShhhh don't tell everyone how good it is or they will all be converting!!

Glad you enjoyed it and it sounds like you had an amazing time Very Happy
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

Not only able to discuss technique but how various parts of the body should be feeling and responding to pressure and movement.


Shocked Sounds like someone had fun. wink
ski holidays     
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Quote:

So off went the two fastest skiers and I completely forgot I was a beginner on a board and shot off after them. To say I had an epiphany is a kind of understatement!


Brilliant! That's exactly how I remember learning, that moment when I stopped 'trying to learn' and instead just focused on having the sort of fun I'd expect to have with my mates.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Funny read, great news for you and the better news is that the amount of pain whilst snowboarding follows a sort of exponential decay curve.
ski holidays     
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
If you think that's good, just wait until you get into pow. Just heaven
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
once you learn speed is your friend you are away and you don't use so much energy trying to stop yourself gaining speed Smile
snow report     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Welcome to sideways!

My top tip is to prepare in advance some good responses for when skiers take the mick... There's nothing worse than thinking of a viciously witty comeback days later:D

@tomj, that sounds a lot like sometime in my first couple weeks, when I stopped trying to snowboard and instead pretended I could... instant progress!
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@gixxerniknik, great story! Just back to snowboarding after a 20 yr absence and also enjoyed it - especially in some powder!
latest report     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@gixxerniknik, sounds good so far. Mr G, with knees buggered by far too many unplanned departures from 2 wheels onto tarmac, never got on with skis at all. Did a dry slope snowboard course and has never looked back ( bloody boarders, never look where they're going Laughing )
@Dan, great in theory! Also true. Get on those edges snowHead @BoardieK, sort of...
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Weird thing was, every other skiing holiday I've been on there seemed to be boarders everywhere but last week there was hardly any. Maybe they were all over in Tignes as I think there was a slopeside comp or something.

Conditions were perfect to learn on as it snowed on transfer day as well as the following 3 days, then the sun shone for the rest of the week...so lucky.

One thing I did hate is being a beginner again. I wish I'd taken a skipole to trip up all the smart alec skiers who think it's cool to whizz past only inches away at silly speeds when you're obviously a beginner, I lost count of the number of times this caused me to fall...bloody skiers.
And another thing, when I'm sitting at the side of the piste waiting for my mate, it's not funny to turn as close as you can get thus spraying me with snow...ok, yes it is...gits!
And another thing, bloody skiers stopping on the brow of a hill, the whole group of them blocking the piste, never catch a boarder doing that...Oh yes, while I'm ranting, I'm sitting down in the middle of the piste because that's where I've fallen on my back bottom again for the 397th time today, please don't ski by shouting at me, maybe stop and offer to rub some voltarol into my very sore coccyx or just pass me your hip flask (delete as appropriate)

Can't wait to try lovely, soft, fresh snow but am not really sure how it's all going to work in steep and deep though. One way to find out I guess!
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@gixxerniknik, As the snow gets deeper the steeps get easier. You will just love some boot deep fresh.
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