Snowboarding Series Part III – Ok, I want to try it..What do I do??

Here is the third installment of my snowboarding series. Perfect timing, too, as the slopes start to close, the weather is warm and the sun is shining…which means the lift ticket prices come down….great for the newbies!

Now who’s going to go with me for my birthday!? I turn 27 today!!!

In case you missed it: PART I and PART II

boarding 11:15:13

 

So! I got you excited about boarding, eh!?

OR You’re a skier and you want to try it now?? I used to ski, I know how you feel…

OR You lived in Colorado your whole life and you’ve never skied or boarded!? (Yes, there’s a few of them) What HAVE you been doing???

1320012591523_4585340OR You already snowboard but you would just like to see what I have to say about getting started? Fair enough.

Let me first put this out there: I am not going to TEACH you how to board. A) That would be impossible over blogging. Go pay for a lesson or have one of your skilled friends show you the ropes. B) I’m not actually that good! Read Part I of the series, you’ll see my history with the sport. But frankly, I’m not a natural snowboarder. I’m still learning it and I still fall a lot. BUT I have gotten better. Exponentially. And C) This is my take at humor. I’m hoping to make this post funny. I’m going to try, at least, with some real information in between.

Alright.

Step 1: Get yourself, to, near or on a mountain. Preferable one that has snow on it. There’s a lot of snow left here in CO, but that’s not to say there isn’t great ski resorts in other parts. I’ve just never been to any of them. Montana has great riding. So does Toas, California and my recent wish list vacation spot: Utah.

jeans3Step 2: Find appropriate clothes. No, not jeans!!!! You’ll look ridiculous and  I will people will make fun of you. You’ll need a base layer (top and bottom), a mid warm layer (top), and outer layer (top and bottom). You’ll want socks, WARM socks, WOOL socks, but don’t make the mistake of going too crazy and wearing multiple layers of socks. This actually does the opposite of keeping your feet warm. They just need to be warm and water proof. I’m not a brand whore, so get whatever, cheap brands you want for all I care.

Step 3: Find some equipment. You know, an actual snowboard! If this is your first time, just rent your stuff, just in case you don’t like it. A board, boots and binding should do it. Top brands in the sport (according to a few articles I read): Never Summer, Arbor, Analog, Burton, Ride, Gnu, Dakine, DC, and a ton others…. but don’t ask me, I can’t afford any of those brands and my board is so old the brand doesn’t even exist anymore. My clothes are not even name brand either.

DSCN4165Step 4: Don’t forget the helmet. You’re new, you’re going to fall a lot. I promise you’ll want it. Or least get it to protect yourself from the skiers when they carry their skis on their shoulders and swing around as if they’re the only people on the planet. I’m pretty sure this is why helmet wearing really took off.

Step 5: Hire someone! Either pay the ski resort for lessons or tell your boyfriend, girlfriend, neighbor, friend, local bum (because they probably know how to board, but it’s so expensive to live in the ski towns that they probably used their money for a ski pass and weed instead of an apartment). Tell them you’ll buy them a drink and dinner if they show you the ropes.

Step 6: Don’t give up! It’ll be hard and frustrating at first, but keep at it and you’ll get it! When I first started, I could barely master simply going down the mountains; even trying to stand up was hard. But then it just clicked and my body got the mechanism down. It was literally like a light switch.

Step 7: Head in for lunch and grab a beer some liquid courage! It helps me master a tricky run!

Step 8: Hot Tub.

Step 9: Since you’re probably addicted now, buy a season pass.

Step 10: Don’t use your sick days until winter time, if you catch my drift! 😉

On a serious note: Avalanche Danger:

avalanche-safety_1558386cThis year especially there has been a high avalanche danger in the rocky mountains. This is because we have had a LOT of snow this season after a few seasons of not much snow fall. This increases the risk for avalanches. I would write that if you go to a well traveled ski resort you wouldn’t have to worry about it, but this isn’t always the case. A) When they first open new runs as the season goes on, those routes haven’t been travelled on and new tracks can disrupt the snow and boom… avalanche. Take this seriously. My boyfriend actually was one of the first to travel on a run this season at Breck and a small avalanche started.  Luckily there was people around and with their warning he was able to brace himself and didn’t get completely buried. There was another story on the news earlier in the year about a little boy who died in an avalanche at Vail. I don’t remember the details, but he was just outside the main borders of the ski area.

The people who have to worry bout this the MOST are back country skiers and boarders. I don’t do any of this, but if you do, there are a few things you should do:

images-21. TAKE AN AVALANCHE SAFETY CLASS!!! Seriously! If I ever do decided to go back country in the future, I’m definitely taking this. They’re offered at most resorts and through REI, I believe. Read up on avalanches and do your research on areas, maps and conditions!

2. Make sure you have the appropriate equipment (which you would learn about in your safety class). Items include, and probably not limited to: avalanche transceivers, probes, and shovels (in addition to basic camping gear, extra clothing, high-energy food, and plenty of water). Every member of the group needs to carry all three of these avalanche rescue items, and know how to use them.

3. Just BE SAFE! I trust and hope that everyone that decides to go back country takes the appropriate courses and at least knows survival methods and actions!

Above all, even if you’re not back country boarding or skiing, be mindful and safe at the resorts! As a reminder, some general rules of the runs:

slowyellow1. Always stay in control – I know you love to go fast, but make sure you can maneuver appropriately at that speed, except in slow zones – always reduce your speed there.

2. Down hill skiers/boarders have the right of way. I know it sucks when a skier is taking the WHOLE run to make turns and cutting across the entire way, but they still have the right of way.

3. Don’t stop or sit on a trail where uphill traffic can’t see you. Sounds simple, but people do it alllllll the time.

4. Whenever merging with another trail, look uphill and yield other riders and skiers.

5. Before using any lift, make sure you know how to get on, stay on and get off! It’s ok if you fall once you’ve unloaded – I do that a lot – people just laugh.

whitest-thing-imaginable-seasonal-ecard-someecards6. Be aware of your level of expertise. Don’t load a ski lift if it only takes your to terrain outside of your abilities. Also, don’t go down trails that are outside of your abilities. You’ll either get hurt or use up ski patrol resources when they could be used elsewhere.

Links:

List of all the Snowboarding brands – there’s lot!

Battle of the brands – a bracket break down of the popular snowboarding brands

10 Snowboard brands you are talking about this year

Backcountry Avalanche Safety

Ski Safety Tips from Breckenridge 

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