Still buzzing off of the back of our previous snowboarding success, another weekend boarding was penciled in and last week Lisa and I headed back to Cardrona to pick up where we left off and become boarding pros.
The weather conditions for the day couldn’t have been better to be fair, waking up in the morning the sky was clear and the sun was shining, much better than 2 weeks before, having an adventure in the middle of a crazy storm. Although the day was clear with good visibility there was still some pretty crazy wind whipping across the mountain.
We decided that the best thing to do would be a lesson during the morning that included a lift pass for the full mountain for the afternoon, that way we could pick up some extra skills and then have time to go and try it all out. At the start of the day they asked us if we knew how to link turns and the overconfidence kicked in and I said yes. When it was time to start moving and show what we knew things went wrong pretty quickly for me to be perfectly honest. I hopped up on the board thinking that after my single days previous training I would now be a Pro but apparently that isnt quite how it works. Moving off seemed to be fine and I started to pick up some speed, right turn… all went ok but things felt a bit wobbly. Left turn… BOOM and hes down! I hopped back up as quick as I could, a little in shock at the fact that I had even fallen down so easily and then BOOM, down again! 3 more times I hit the deck before getting to the bottom, very confused about where all my skill had happened to go.
It turns out that the first day we had gone happened to be the perfect conditions to learn to board in. All of the fresh snow and relatively little wind meant that the it was nice and soft making all the turns really smooth and quite easy. By the end of the day we had been carving the mountain and flowing as we boarded down. Today the snow was more like ice, hard and slippy making turning much more difficult than before and adding a lot of unexpected speed. The change of conditions made it feel like learning all over again from scratch, although the basics seemed to be down(like standing on the board and tightening bindings) everything else seems to have completely disappeared. Even the most basic of turns seems to have slipped away from us, turning into opportunities to just plow into the ground.
Luckily for us we still had a lesson and the tips they gave seemed to do the trick and slowly things started to come back. In a away I am quite glad we did learn on the day we did since it was definitely a confidence booster, although that first part of the morning was certainly a confidence killer!
In the afternoon I decided to try my luck up the mountain, trying out the McDougals beginner run. Lisa decided better of it and instead volunteered to play the part of photographer for my little attempts and I’m happy to say that she somehow managed to make me look quite good!
Getting onto the chair lift attached to a snowboard for the first time was a little daunting as I wasnt sure exactly how I should have it but I soon figured it out and was on my way. As the lift started moving the first thing you noticed was how quiet everything was… so so quiet. No wind, no creaking of machinery, not even any noise from the people playing below. Nothing. It was so peaceful being able to look around and see everything and such an amazing view. The unfortunate part was that this phenomenon only lasted for about 30 seconds as once you cleared the cover of some of the low hills the wind really started to kick in. Up at the top things were a whole different story! The wind whipped around the mountain, picking up the previously fallen snow and stirring it up into a whirlwind. Visibility seemed to just disappear, only opening up for brief moments before washing away just as fast.
Up at the top of the run the conditions were very changeable keeping you on your toes… or heels as it happens. In places where the slope was shielded from the wind all of the fresh snowfall from the previous night made the board flow and everything seem silky smooth… for a moment. All of a sudden you would come off of this smooth snow and onto something closer to an ice sheet, accelerating quickly and, as a begginer, getting a little scared. Most of the time I spent on my heel edge, trying to slow down and keep some sort of control. Although I like to think that I boarded down the mountain I think a relalistic description is that I managed to get from the top to the bottom without crashing, breaking the whole way and getting very lucky.
After a couple of runs it was time to call it a day. By then all the heel breaking had managed to burn out my muscles but I didnt feel confident enough slowing down on my toe edge so had to just go with it. Althogh I fell down quite a few times I have to say that I had another awesome day and amazing weekend.
It still amazes me all the things that seem to just be on your doorstep in this country, some of the most beautiful sites and amazing activities only a few hours drive from home.
Life is good.