A journey to health, happiness, and higher mountains

Snowboard Update: Turning & Pomas

My last post concluded with me announcing that I’d booked my next lesson. Now, in hindsight, I definitely booked it too soon as my body was so sore and aching from the day before but, by some miracle, I passed the next two stages.

This lesson was far more difficult than the first, naturally, and it took far longer for me to get the concepts today than it did yesterday. I definitely wasn’t in top form though, I felt very off balance and tired, and bizarrely kept losing the circulation in my foot. While I still didn’t fall as much as I’d expected to, I did often and when I did I was more or less throwing myself over my toe edge. My knees sure got intimately acquainted with the snow.

The instructor Phil was incredibly patient with me and my constant falling. It was pretty lucky that there was only two of us in the class (another woman, I might add!) and he could take the time to give us a lot of help. Yet again, he was a super friendly instructor, an excellent teacher and really easy to talk to as well as a massive laugh.

The reason I say my passing the levels was a miracle was because the end of my first hour and a half I was absolutely convinced I was never going to be able to turn. It wasn’t until ten minutes before taking a break that the most bizarre fact came to light that changed everything:

I ride goofy, not regular.

“Why would this be bizarre?” you might ask, given that as a beginner I would have had no idea of what my stance would be. Well the thing is, every other boardsport I’ve ever done I’ve been left foot forward, and every usual indication of my stance (ie. the foot I slide on, the foot I put out when I’m pushed) would imply I should ride regular. I can’t actually for the life of me skate on the snowboard with my right foot forward. Yet it is undeniable that when I am strapped in with both feet and descending the slope, right foot leading is far more natural.

Once I stopped trying to force myself to be regular, it clicked. I still fell many times but it was by far easier, and moving over from the nursery slope to the main slope then made it all fall into place because I was no longer worried about not having enough space.

Which brings me to my next topic. During this lesson I had to be introduced to what I am quite convinced is satan objectified: the Poma lift. I’m certain that it was purposefully designed to be an almighty (literal) pain in the arse for snowboarders. I remember using it as a skier and while it was a small learning curve, it was by far easier. Now, as a snowboarder, it makes me want to curse whoever invented it.

At least now I’m getting better at catching it, which is the first step, but I’m still really not convinced by my ability to a) hook onto it, or b) stay on it. I have managed to get the hang of dismounting, at least.

I was very amazed to pass the levels I did, particularly since it took me so long to grasp any of today’s techniques at all, and I’m sure that really to say “I can use the Poma lift” is probably a little bit of an exaggeration of my ability. I honestly thought when my instructor marked my card off that he must have been joking, but here I am. Now I’m taking some days off to let my poor bruised body rest, and because it was my summer project to learn all of the basics but I appear to have nearly finished them within a week. I’m booking my lesson 5 for the weekend, so I guess we can only see what happens.

Even though this lesson was not as smooth as the last, I can safely say it’s not affected my enjoyment or enthusiasm. I’m still enjoying it far more than I ever expected I would, and doing far better than I honestly expected I would or even could, too. Snowboarding is damned addictive, and it makes me feel alive again. I just wish it was more friendly to my bank balance.

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