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What do you think is the biggest challenges or problems we face as snowboarders?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
An issue facing most of the boarders in this thread is the ability to take feedback on board and accept that they may or may not do some or all of the things mentioned on the thread.

Image is the single biggest issue facing boarders, in my opinion. It must be for so many skiiers and others to make the kind of comment they have above, me included.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Sun 23-01-11 12:25; edited 1 time in total
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stevomcd wrote:
some entertaining differences as well. e.g., the first time I tried to carve on skis, I simply leant towards the inside of the turn (as on a board). On skis, this results in a somewhat comical sideways fall! (You need to move your hips in, but not your upper body so much!).


For me, it was not having a clue what to do with the inside ski, which seemed to have a life of its own! Experimentation and observation got me there in the end, but I don't doubt that lessons would have got me there quicker (if I'm currently doing it correctly at all, which is questionable). Also, I'll be keeping an eye on short-radius turns, after rob@rar's comment!

Agree with everything david@mediacopy said.

The consensus seems to be that it takes a particular kind of person to successfully teach themselves to board (observant, capable of self-analysis, patient, motivated) and that most people you see on their hols are not that kind of person and so would definitely benefit from lessons, and even those who are would get there quicker with lessons provided that the instructor tailors the lesson towards somebody of that personality. I'm still intrigued by how good skateboarders or good inline skaters become good without lessons. (Though isn't it funny that inline skating has an image akin to skiing, that skateboarding has an image akin to snowboarding, and that it's fairly common to see organized inline skating lessons but I've never seen or heard of a formal skateboarding lesson.) I think that the skateboarders that get good possess those skills I mentioned. Also, there's a lot of constructive peer feedback in skateboarding and to a lesser extent snowboarding; is that another important factor?

BTW, I can't recommend inline skating enough as both a training sport for winter sports and as a cross-over sport between snowboarding and skiing!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
maybe snowboarding and skating for its participants has a bigger focus on enjoying the act instead of getting obsessed about technique.

I've surfed since I was a little kid, and having lessons was unheard of. Probably still is apart from the surf school for holiday makers, that generally leads nowhere. As a result, people develop their own individual style, and to an extent, there isn't really any right or wrong technique, and it's more creative and fun as a result.

I hear a lot of skiers on lifts who are technique geeks. Each to their own. It's all about having fun at the end of the day..
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Edit: what I really meant to say was, I'm intrigued about why it is that skateboarders and inline skaters are able to get good without lessons, but skiers and snowboarders are apparently not. It was a semi-rhetorical question: I think I provided a good stab at the answer in that same post. Additionally, I agree with hang11. But also agree with what various people have said that it's a shame you don't see more boarders with great technique on the hill, since it's great to watch one.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Pyremaniac wrote:
I'm intrigued about why it is that skateboarders and inline skaters are able to get good without lessons, but skiers and snowboarders are apparently not.


I think hang11 hit's on it with "I learned as a kid". Kids generally learn by trial and error and they can get away with that as the consequence of 'error' on a skate board isn't usually too bad. I guess not many parents would throw their kids on the hill with some ski's or a board and say "get on with it". Although interestingly Body Miller apparently did just that as a kid.

As an adult the prospect of learning to skate board would be pretty scary for me. I know it would hurt, and a lot of adults struggle with learning by trial and error - the prospect of the error bit and looking 'stupid' is pretty off putting to most. Maybe that explains the relative demographic difference between skiing and boarding, and willingness of skiers to take more instruction.
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The simple fact is . . . kids bounce.
Through low inertial masses to lack of pain experience to fear, juvenile brain chemistry exploring the world and all too frequently just dumb luck. Kids also learn better and faster with their peer groups and are naturally competitive. But they also like to play in packs so that explains the preference for tricks and park play. Carving is a more singular form of boarding and isn't part of the general activities and tends to be ignored or taken up much later or even not at all in some cases.

I'm not a team player and all I do in a park is bleed on the furniture so I took to carving with relish (though I discovered at New Year that my heelside switch carve has boogered off with the fairies Evil or Very Mad been off the board tooooo long)

The only things holding back an adult from consistent carving are fear of the speed and not a bloody clue about steering a snowboard. Driving a board is nothing more than a good F**K, lots of hip and no arms. Way too many boarders I see just lay there fiddling with their arms and expecting the board to do all the work in response. Do tthat too often and a board will spit you off.
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Quote:
And as most boarders are in it for the laughs, most wouldn't want the anally precise ultimate teaching that skiing seems to inevitably morph into.


I don't think, to a lot of boarders, who maybe take a week or two on the slopes, that not being able to turn without sliding the tail is either a "problem" or a "challenge". Or that their technique is not top drawer. The price of lager/pizza, hiring decent kit, finding some luvin', staying in one piece and a dozen other things are more important than slipping a turn, or somebody telling you you can't carve properly.

Quote:
Do you think everyone can learn a full range of technique, including carving on a board, without lessons?


The presumption being they want to? Sorry, but most peoples priorities are a lot different to the guy telling you you're crap and trying to sell you a lesson.

Quote:
I'd bet a week's wages that you're not carving at all. I don't think I've ever seen a self-taught boarder who could identify it, let alone do it.


That's pants. Most can't, a lot can.

Quote:
It's getting away from my point, which was that it's quite possible to ride a snowboard well without ever having had a lesson.


Entirely possible. I wonder how many of the guys on the rad vids have had lessons to a reasonable standard? I'd guess they're good because they started young and had good frequent local access to a hill where they could do their thang.

Quote:
maybe snowboarding and skating for its participants has a bigger focus on enjoying the act instead of getting obsessed about technique.


wink
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BCjohnny wrote:
Quote:
Do you think everyone can learn a full range of technique, including carving on a board, without lessons?


The presumption being they want to?
Not being a boarder I don't know the answer to this, but how well does steering with the back foot using a big pivot and sideways slide work in deep snow?
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^^I actually don't understand what you're saying there Very Happy

Probably as a result of never having had lessons.....
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rob@rar, not very. Laughing
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hang11, have you never seen someone steering their snowboard by pushing their back leg on one direction or the other, then sliding more sideways than forwards?
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Ah right, got you. Can't imagine that would work too well in the deep stuff.

sorry, monday morning here, harvesting time, nasty hayfever, and only had one cup of coffee, so feeling a bit slow.
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Lizzard, hang11, OK, I guessed as much, but wanted to check with someone who actually knew what they are talking about. So in answer to the question why would snowboarders want to have the full range of steering technique available to them (including rolling from one edge to the other without kicking their back leg around) I guess it is to be able to ride the whole mountain, including snow conditions that everyone tells me is where snowboards really are at home: deep snow. If a rider can only steer by using their back leg on piste it seems to be unlikely that they are going to ride well off-piste. So maybe there is a case for acquiring a wide range of technique in some way, whether that be through lessons, careful observation of good snowboarders, trail and error or just growing a pair (although many of the worst snowboarders I see on the hill don't seem to lack bottle, just control)?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:
Sorry, but most peoples priorities are a lot different to the guy telling you you're crap and trying to sell you a lesson.


Don't mind you quoting me, Rob, just quote all of it.

Quote:
Not being a boarder I don't know the answer to this, but how well does steering with the back foot using a big pivot and sideways slide work in deep snow?


The OP was about, I'm surmising, the major obstacles facing people who take up boarding, not about the niceties of how you'll never be any good 'cause you didn't take more lessons, which seems to be certain posters' view. A lot, possibly the majority, don't care. A fair proportion won't ever see deep snow, and the ones that do will either adapt to it, or stick to the pistes.

As others have pointed out, boarding is mainly about having fun, not technique, like it or not. Sure, everyone would be better with lessons, but in the real world it's not a priority. Most people don't want to be stuck in board school, on probably the only week they'll see snow, they want to be having a laugh with their mates. Is this "right"? Not in my opinion, but I'm not in the conversion business, an I don't lecture people on how to enjoy themselves.

So how did the Pro's get so good? Was it all those lessons, or was it that they lived close enough to a hill to indulge their ability and passion?
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BCjohnny wrote:
Quote:
Sorry, but most peoples priorities are a lot different to the guy telling you you're crap and trying to sell you a lesson.


Don't mind you quoting me, Rob, just quote all of it.
I'm not quite sure what I missed when I replied to one of the points that you made, but if you think I'm trying to sell snowboarding lessons I should point out that I'm not a snowboard instructor and never will be, and I have no commercial interest in selling snowboard lessons. If the fact that I'm a ski instructor rules me out of contributing to a debate about snowboarding I'll withdraw now.

BCjohnny wrote:
As others have pointed out, boarding is mainly about having fun, not technique, like it or not. Sure, everyone would be better with lessons, but in the real world it's not a priority.
IME the better a skier I've become the more fun I've had. Skiing off-piste in deep snow is brilliant fun, and I'm sure that's the case for snowboarding as well. So if a limited range of technique stops riders from having fun off-piste I think that's a great shame and, to refer back to the OP, a problem for snowboarders (as it is for skiers). I've never understood the inference that people have to choose between having fun or getting better. IME they are not mutually exclusive.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I know you're a ski instructor, Rob, I think everyone knows. That's partly why I find your "you'll never be good enough to enjoy your boarding properly" argument a bit misplaced.

You've had the time and opportunity to pursue the "better is more fun" philosophy (which I actually don't disagree with). A luxury most won't, so they just have fun instead. If you peak out from under the brim of your work hat, you'll see that. Is it right? Who cares.

So, how about those pros then?

hang11 wrote:
^^I actually don't understand what you're saying there Very Happy

Probably as a result of never having had lessons.....


Lol. Can't ride deep powder; can't close carve either. Better see the light and get me some o'those lessons. Maybe even start to enjoy myself........... wink

Anyway, I'm out.
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From a purely scientific point of view, I'm going to have a lesson and see what the instructor has to say. I'll post the honest feedback on this thread.

It will have to wait until July, not many instructors and not much snow around here at the moment.
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BCjohnny wrote:
I know you're a ski instructor, Rob, I think everyone knows. That's partly why I find your "you'll never be good enough to enjoy your boarding properly" argument a bit misplaced.
I'd agree with you if I was arguing that point. But I'm not, and ever have done (see this post which sums up what I think). The only points I've been making are that I see a lot of riders who have a limited range of technique, and I see relatively few snowboard lessons taking place. If lots of practice and having a good attitude to learning are going to make most people into great riders/skiers, how come some people in this thread report seeing relatively few examples on the hill? Maybe because there's a perception that lessons won't help, or they aren't fun, or not worth spending money on?

As for the Pros, I think it's irrelevant how they got as good as they did. The reason they make a living from riding is that they are exceptional and therefore massively different from the rest of us. We should be able to learn from their abilities but I'm not sure we can learn much from their development as a rider/skier. All the time on snow that I could wish for (and all the coaching in the world for that matter) is not going to make me ski like Candide Thovex.
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BCjohnny,
Quote:
So how did the Pro's get so good? Was it all those lessons, or was it that they lived close enough to a hill to indulge their ability and passion?


probably not so many lessons, rather a coaching program. But that's a different argument.

But for those who don't live next to a hill lessons do offer an opportunity to make up some of the difference.
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Ok, I'm back, one last time.

Quote:
The only points I've been making are that I see a lot of riders who have a limited range of technique, and I see relatively few snowboard lessons taking place. If lots of practice and having a good attitude to learning are going to make most people into great riders/skiers, how come some people in this thread report seeing relatively few examples on the hill? Maybe because there's a perception that lessons won't help, or they aren't fun, or not worth spending money on?


Couldn't agree more, in a perfect world.

I agree with your general outlook, but not on your assessment of peoples priorities. Most people don't breathe the rarified air a lot of sH's do, and as I assumed the general OP was aimed at more than the core sH's, thought the way the thread was going wasn't actually representative of what the majority see as "problems" or "challenges". Sometimes when you're really involved in something you stop being able to see the wood for the trees, I know on occasions I have. But I'm fine if you don't agree with this, it's JMO.

Quote:
Don't mind you quoting me, Rob, just quote all of it.


Just that you chopped the quote, nothing more. I always try to quote all the relevant bits, it's fairer that way.

david@mediacopy, yes and no. For average kids to get to the stage where coaching becomes a reality, you have to show some real talent. I've seen plenty of wannabes in NA who've never been coached, and never will, but are so much better than the average punter will ever be, regardless of tuition. That comes from starting as a kid, on the local hill. I've spoke to teens that would make everyone on here, myself definitely included, look daft, they're that good and have good technique, who've never had any lessons to speak of. So although I agree coaching moulds the rider, it's a silk purse situation.

Anyway, I'm definitely out now. NehNeh
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I think the pros thing is a bit off-topic since we're not really talking about boarders who get to spend hundreds of days on the hill. I think we were all thinking about holiday boarders or those who go more often but who don't have such high aspirations. And such boarders don't really care about technique so long as they're having a laugh, and don't care that they don't care. Hence I agree with BCjohnny (as I and others already mentioned) that I'm not sure that dodgy technique which may limit ones progress is really a challenge/problem that many snowboarders face, since they don't view it as an issue.

This thread's kinda gone off topic, but then it was a bit of an odd topic anyway (and the lessons discussion was an interesting tangent). Thing is, is the OP interested in problems/challenges specific to snowboarding in contrast to skiing, or in winter sports in general? With respect to what? Without knowing the context of the question, I can't really think of any new suggestions. The fact that I'm not a millionaire pro with a chalet in the mountains is a constant niggle...
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Pyremaniac,
Quote:
Thing is, is the OP interested in problems/challenges specific to snowboarding in contrast to skiing, or in winter sports in general?


I'd say:

Cost of lift tickets / poor Euro rate for us Brits.

Image is no longer as cool with the kidz as it was, because:

+ Back country skiing has caught up, and is a better proposition than boarding for off piste \ back back country \ touring. At least it is for me wink

+ Freestyle \ Park skiing is as cool or cooler than boarding

I suspect that these and other media related issues are reducing snowboard take up. At our slope the take up of skiing to boarding is 30 to 1 or worse. Would be interesting to know the figures in the alps.

And not being able to decide on an all mountain boarding set up wink
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Quote:

is a better proposition than boarding for off piste \ back back country \ touring.


but boarding is better for back, take a left, third right, back and it's on the left country.


The TGR thread was better but this thread is still teh funny.
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To throw another spanner into rob's analysis actually using your backfoot is very powerful in powder.

And I stand by the image thing - most people actually doing the sport as adults are 20-40 something professionals or middle class kids yet the industry still wants to make out that its cooler than a very frosty thing. Top to toe new oversized Analog shizzle doesn't actually make you a good snowboarder.
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fatbob wrote:
To throw another spanner into rob's analysis actually using your backfoot is very powerful in powder.
I'm just a humble skier, so it was a question I asked. My point is what if that's the only way you know how to steer your snowboard? The video of Terje Haakonsen shows, at least to my uneducated eyes, a range of technique: on the really steep stuff he steers with his backfoot a lot and skids the board, then on the (for him) gentler stuff he rolls from edge to edge. If we're going to put these people up as role models rather than obsess about whether they had lessons or not why not try to learn from the breadth of technique they are masters of...?
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fatbob wrote:
Top to toe new oversized Analog shizzle doesn't actually make you a good snowboarder.


I forgot that one - 'Pajama' style matching jackets and trousers. Laughing
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rob@rar, humble skier? Didn't think they existed, and certainally not when posting under the snowboard thread wink

I think most people exhibit a grab-bag of techniques, however it's interesting to read back through the instructors notes in this thread. I've taken a shed-load of lessons over the years, and i'd suggest that one reason that some people see riders with bad techniques is that they've taken beginners lessons where they've been taught the whole upper-body rotation way of turning which is often trotted out to get riders progressing quickly and get them off the gentle nursery slopes and onto more favourable terrain (it's a PITA learning to board on flatish land - you need that extra bit of pitch). The idea then is to teach them better techniques for turning, but i would suggest that for either financial or time or whatever reason, people don't carry on with their instruction and thus hit that 'yeah he's getting down the mountain, but it's ugly' plateau level which seems to be what people are seeing.
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Richard_Sideways, spot on. I arrived at work the other day to hear some enormo-ego lecturing his desk neighbour that snowboarding is just "turning your shoulders, and the board follows, that's literally all there is to it". Followed by "I've been doing it for years", "I've got all my own gear" and so on. Like this was some kind of expert tuition.

Certainly my first lesson (day-long gruelling indoor thing at Landgraaf) was spent pointing where I wanted to go and thus rotating from the shoulder.

One of the reasons that people get to this point and then go no further is that, after many many hours spent faceplanting and coccyx-slamming, it feels like such a massive achievement to even link a few turns together. "Hooray I've cracked it!", and it's true at that point that you can "get down anything", even if it means falling-leaf for about 1km down a black run.

Which I've never ever done. Oh no. Ahem.
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You know it makes sense.
For overheard wisdom, my old boss, many moons ago once said with all confidence "Oh you want to hire the longest snowboard you can - thats how you go fast". However this was the same man who electrocuted himself by chewing on his laptop power jack.
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
However this was the same man who electrocuted himself by chewing on his laptop power jack.


Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Richard_Sideways, nice end to what ended up turning into the predictable Skiers bitching about snowboards thread
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...and in response to davidoak's OP, the biggest problem facing snowboarders these days is thread-drift...

...and lack of public awareness of our sport (gets on soapbox) we have some cracking snowboarder talent in the UK, top 7 world championship finish for Zoe Gillings, x-games gold for Jenny Jones, and plenty of other internationally recognised talent, despite almost complete indifference from SSGB et al - people keep banging on about grass-roots sport, but once grass roots actually GROWS it needs to be nurtured NOT abandoned. The facilities we have in the UK lend themselves to the free-style/slopestyle events which got so much coverage in 2010, yet the millions in our wintersport funding have gone solely to the ice sliding sports. Yes, we've had past success there and thats laudable but to hamstring British athletes when acceptance of this side of the sport is so close, is shortsightedness to the point of perversity.

[/rant]
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i've had a nice diversion reading this thread while i wait for a meeting!!! snowHead

My response to the OP is that the biggest challenge to me personally as a snowboarder can be boiled down to cost - the cost of time to be able to take lots of time away from my job and the fact that it costs me money to pursue this activity because I don't live in the mountains.
All other things while they can be a challenge - lift maps, drag lifts, getting down difficult slopes, mastering deep powder etc I have never considered them to be a problem - the challenge is exactly why I love doing this.

I love the thread diversion into technique! I've had good snowboard lessons from Neil McNab and a good snowboarder is a joy to watch and I want to be like that. But amongst my snowboarder mates with good and bad technique everyone is having a laugh so there's very little peer pressure to improve technique - the pressure is to get down the slope with a big smile on your face - irrespective of whether you carved it, skidded it or fell down the slope on your bum!
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Richard_Sideways wrote:
...and in response to davidoak's OP, the biggest problem facing snowboarders these days is thread-drift...

...and lack of public awareness of our sport (gets on soapbox) we have some cracking snowboarder talent in the UK, top 7 world championship finish for Zoe Gillings, x-games gold for Jenny Jones, and plenty of other internationally recognised talent, despite almost complete indifference from SSGB et al - people keep banging on about grass-roots sport, but once grass roots actually GROWS it needs to be nurtured NOT abandoned. The facilities we have in the UK lend themselves to the free-style/slopestyle events which got so much coverage in 2010, yet the millions in our wintersport funding have gone solely to the ice sliding sports. Yes, we've had past success there and thats laudable but to hamstring British athletes when acceptance of this side of the sport is so close, is shortsightedness to the point of perversity.

[/rant]


It's because most of us ain't interested, even people who participate. Look around the bar next time you come off the slope, the world slopestyle championships are on and who's watching??? No-one!!!
Now put the downhill GS on and the skiers sit up and start talking about Herman Miya (don't know how to spell his name and don't care) beating Bode Miller in 2007(doubt it happened I made it up)...us boarders cant remember what WE were doing in 2007 let alone who was winning events we weren't watching! Slight exception are boarding flicks, we remember them 'cause we watch 'em all summer waiting for the winter!
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having had 1 season off my biggest challange is going to be the icy hardpacked slopes on Sunday! bring on the scraping noise of death Laughing
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Aside from all the salient issues raised already, I would like to add that there is a lack of equipment choice for women snowboarders in comparison to that available to men.

I realise that on any given day you are likely to see more male snowboarders on a mountain than female, but the range is really pretty slim. I feel that manufacturers think all women snowboarders are 5'2" and dress size 6. They make tiny boards and tiny jackets for tiny women. This means that for girls like me (5'9", size 10) the women's specific boards, and clothing for that matter, are too short. God forbid there would be some curvy girls out there who wanted jacket and pants that actually covered them up! Added to that, the graphics seem to assume that we are all obsessed with butterflies and flowers and want our boards pink and purple. We are not all "Barbie goes boarding".

Of course there are plenty of men's boards to choose from that fit my given height/weight ratio, and it could be argued that there should be no issues using those: in which case why do manufacturers make women's specific boards? Are women only different to men when they are under 5'6"? And sure, men's jackets are long enough, but I have hips and boobs to fit fabric around, and men's clothes don't cater to those!

A decent board with decent graphics is all I ask for (What is with the current trend for horrendous 1980's neon? And cartoon naked porn-stars? Really?? Do board designers have no taste? Although full marks to YES snowboards for their Great Dudes Of History series...), women snowboarders come in all shapes and sizes, ages (I've been boarding for around 16 years, and so far have never bought any women's specific kit) and mentalities and it's about time snowboard companies realised this.

N.B I don't want to single out snowboard companies alone, I noticed this year that ski manufacturers are jumping on the 'Barbie bandwagon'. On the slopes in Switzerland there were plenty of women skiers in their skin-tight short little jackets on their pink and purple flowery skis.
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I sat on the lift over Double M in Tignes, this morning, watching the skiers and boarders on this motorway piste. Of probably 200 skiers I saw only 3 that were carving. There much fewer people boarding but one was carving at speed.

I wonder if the technique police were at the bottom writing out tickets.

Everyone looked to be enjoying themselves.

Perhaps the biggest challenge we face is ignoring the technique snobs and just enjoying ourselves.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
bar shaker wrote:
Perhaps the biggest challenge we face is ignoring the technique snobs and just enjoying ourselves.
rolling eyes
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 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.
Pyremaniac wrote:
I think you have to want to become a good snowboarder. Many people would say they want to become a good snowboarder, but in reality are actually happy just mucking around with their mates on their one-week holiday, more interested in having a laugh than worrying about technique. And absolutely fair play to them.


I think that just about sums it up, plus many decent boarders simply can not be bothered to carve the perfect S all day long and are happy with good strong edge to edge control - most of the time you do what you need to to get down the mountain and enjoy it

Biggest challenge - hire gear - totally rubbish in general and bad choice and advice for the hire shops.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
rayscoops wrote:
Biggest challenge - hire gear - totally rubbish in general and bad choice and advice for the hire shops.


That's a very good point. Most of the hire gear I've had has been absolutely rubbish, and some actually dangerous. The last board I hired had a base that looked like it had been attacked with an axe and repaired badly with multi colored isopan. Looked pretty though rolling eyes
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