Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Back from Boarding in Whistler

We spent Christmas in Whistler this year. The snow was absolutely amazing - lots of new powder and when you're learning to snowboard, like I am, that is just perfect. We drove up on Thursday and took a day to just relax on Friday but on Saturday I went for a snowboard lesson.

I signed up for the Super Group lesson where you will have at most 3 people in your group and lucked into a effectively private lesson as there was no one else at the same level I was (I could turn in each direction but have little real practice doing much more than that). The lesson was one of the kookiest lessons I've had. We started with the standard "take a few runs and show me what you've got" bit. The instructor noticed that my board might not be set up right for me so we took a break and he repositioned the bindings and it was much better after that. A few more runs in, we went from Blackcomb to Whistler but rather than boarding into the village (which we did later), we took the bus over. While spent the bus ride practicing the turns by standing in the back and "riding" the bus. As it made hard turns, we were up on our toes or heels trying to get the same feel. Not the same feel, of course, but a good little drill along the way. After lunch, we headed to the top of a hill and did a bit of tai chi to shake off the post-lunch food coma. By the end of the day, I was turning and making it down the Olympic run pretty smoothly.

The snowboarders I know always tell me how crappy green runs are for snowboarders because they tend to the be the snowcat tracks. I thought it was just because they liked going faster but it turns out it is because it is really hard to both keep an edge and keep going straight on those narrow tracks. Particularly with all of the little grooves made by skiers. It is way too easy to catch the bad edge and go down as I learned by doing just that several times. I guess I'd better just get better soon and head for the blue runs instead.

The next day I did more of that in about 8 inches of new powder while Kate and Zach zipped down on skis and Leslie took her snowboard lesson. Man that was fun! As the soreness fades, I'm already itching to get back up there.

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