Before you head off to the mountains, you can pick up the basics of snowboarding on real snow here in the UK!
Here's what happened when Ski Club's Sophie Mead tried snowboarding for the first time...
Many people assume that if they can ski, then snowboarding should be straightforward. I made this mistake twice and paid the price. Having skied for years, I decided to hire a snowboard for the day a few years ago and ended up with very sore wrists and knees from constantly falling. It completely put me off for a decade, but now I’m back for round two. Given my previous failed attempts, I knew that the best option was to get lessons. You wouldn’t get in a car without spending time with an instructor, so why would you think that you can snowboard without guidance? I signed up to 3 two-hour lessons at The Snow Centre, Hemel Hempstead which is the closest slope to London and the largest beginner slope in the UK.
When you walk into the changing and equipment area, the first thing you see is the main slope which is an intimidating sight for a beginner. But luckily, the Snow Centre doesn’t just offer one slope, it has a beginner area which runs parallel to the main slope, and is half the length. That means you won’t have riders flying over your head or crashing into you and it also has a magic carpet to help you get up the slope. In previous failed attempts at self-taught snowboarding, the button lift has always been my enemy. A clear slope and a magic carpet make the view a little less scary.
First thing’s first, get to know your equipment. Clipping in and out of bindings is a hassle, but once you’ve got the hang of toe and heel release systems, it gets speedier. Our first activity was good fun: imagine a flat, polished floor that is begging you to run and slide on it. Our warm-up was like that on snow, some serious skidding. With our leading foot strapped in, we pushed along as if skateboarding then rested the pushing leg on the board and enjoyed a short ride on the flat ground. Easy enough to start off!