Recently, we’ve been trying to take our workouts away from the gym and find new ways to keep fit and healthy. Forget your boring chicken and rice, or weights routine, we’re getting out there to give you the low down on the latest fitness and diet trends.
This week, we took to the slopes to try out snowboarding.
We arrived at Chill Factore, an intimidatingly huge building, half suspended in mid-air. That made us a little nervous to say the least.
As soon as we walked through the doors, we were met with a bustling indoor ski village, complete with restaurants and shops. After collecting our coats, trousers, boots, and boards, we were ready to meet our instructor and hit the slopes — or so we thought.
We walked out onto the snow, being hit by a fresh -4°C air and yet more nerves at the size of the slope. Luckily, we were quickly guided to a much smaller nursery slope to the left for our first lesson.
We were then told to strap into our snowboards — easier said than done when they want to slide off without you — before heading to the top of the slope on the travellator. Somehow we made it to the top with very little drama, despite one foot being strapped to a snowboard.
Standing up was harder than you’d think!
Our first time down the slope
From the top, even the nursery slope looked a long way to fall, so we were a little reassured when the instructor quite literally held our hand as we wobbled and slid our way down the first time. Once we’d got a feel for it, we were allowed to go back up and try sliding down on our own, which was mainly on our bums to be honest.
However, once we’d got the hang of this, it felt surprisingly natural to move the board from side to side so that we could move back and forth across the slope as we went. Don’t get me wrong, we still fell over a lot. We’ll be nursing bruises on our knees for weeks to come, but we did start to feel like we were getting the hang of it.
Oh, how wrong we were.
It was all going so well until… Ouch.
Going down backwards?!
After quite a few runs down, we were starting to feel a bit cocky about how quickly we’d picked it up. Unfortunately, it turns out that you can’t just snowboard down a slope forwards and you do, in fact, need to face backwards and turn between the two. Yikes.
Again, we were led backwards down the slope by the instructor, putting our weight through our toes to use the edge of the board as a brake before trying it on our own. Maybe it’s the thought of not being able to work if I break my wrist, but sliding backwards down a slope was just a little bit terrifying.
Keeping your weight forward was also pretty hard in this position, but you definitely didn’t want to fall backwards as it would be a long way before your bum reached the rock-hard slope. Not feeling like we’d really mastered this, we now learnt how to incorporate a turn.
Up until this point, we’d been going pretty slow, sideways down the slope. It turns out that as soon as you turn the board down the slope, it moves pretty fast. We spent the afternoon practising our turns between the two positions. There was a lot of falling and a lot of uncontrollable moves, but for a day’s work, we did pretty well.
By the end of the day, we were even catching the button lift halfway up the “big boy” slope to practise our turns.
We were absolutely exhausted, bruised and battered, and somehow both cold and sweaty, but the big smiles plastered across our faces said otherwise. Snowboarding is hard work, especially when you’re learning, but totally worth it for the exhilarating feeling of cold air whooshing past your face.
Getting to grips with button lifts and those pesky turns…
It definitely takes a bit of guts to throw yourself down a slope with a board strapped to your feet, but once you get over that, it’ll be the coolest skill you’ve ever learnt. If you want to feel like a bit of an action hero, then this is a great place to start! We may not be ready to ride to the top of the button lift, but the bruises haven’t put us off more lessons to perfect our snowboarding skills. Thanks for having us Chill Factore!