So I’ve been snowboarding for over 10 years. Add in a 5-6 year lay off and that makes me pretty old school in that sport. I remember when you had to check and see if a resort allowed boarding and seeing another boarder was cause for celebration – sort of like seeing someone else on a recumbent today.
That sort of long history makes you feel like you know what’s going on and also makes it hard to admit you have a lot more to learn. I’ve been out riding some serious mountains since I got back into snowboarding. Tackling the expert terrain and having fun. I must know what I am doing – right?
Wrong! While we were out snowboarding on my birthday Kurt suggested we hire a snowboard instructor for a lesson. I agreed, but I wasn’t sure how much we’d learn. The guy running the ski school gave us a killer deal – $100 for 2hrs of private lessons. That works out to $25/hr each. Our instructor Bruce was super nice and had been riding for 22yrs…ya that’s right at the very beginning of the snowboard era. I was shocked to see how much we improved in the first 30 mins. Instead of making the snowboard go where I wanted I was able to go where I wanted and the snowboard came along for the ride. I wasn’t forcing the board to turn. I was just using my body’s centre of mass to initiate a carve and the board did its thing. I felt like I was using a lot less energy and having a much more relaxing experience.
When I was riding the trees last time I was out it felt like I was fighting my board and the whole experience was not great. After some tips I was actually eager to hit the trees as high up the run as possible so I could get in more turns. Amazing!
I left the lesson looking at my snowboard with a totally different perspective and tackling challenging terrain with more confidence.
Let’s do the math:
– new snowboard = $600
– new bindings & boots = $600
– lift pass for the day = $70
– my share of 2hr lesson = $50
Clearly the lesson is a total bargain!
I’m planing to go back to Castle Mountain and get another 2hr lesson with Bruce this week. First thing I’ll do next season is get a lesson and as soon as I find the right mountain bike instructor I’m getting a lesson to make me better at technical obstacles and high speed turns.
I’m fine spending lots of $$$ on gear, but I haven’t spent nearly any $$$ on getting high level instruction how to best put that gear to use. I’m going to change that.