The chill in the air is increasing. Our gas heater has been restored to its prime winter position and the bed socks are out in full force. The small number of deciduous trees around have made a good ole mess along the footpaths and our weekly dinner menus include an increasing number of slow-cooked stews, casseroles and curries. I also have an unaccountable craving for hot chocolate…
Yep winter is coming. And we know what that means.
Well, that’s what it means to me anyway.
Sure summer is great, long days and warm air, lazing on the beach and swimming, BBQ’s and all the festivities/parties of Christmas (this is all probably very strange for any Northern Hemisphere readers!). But this year, I have been HANGING OUT for winter. Hubby and I got to spend over a week snowboarding in Austria in January and soon it will be Australia’s turn!
Yes, we have snow in Australia (see my Snowboarding page) but it is in a very specific part of the country and the conditions are incredibly touch and go. Last year we got in some amazing powder boarding at Perisher (powder past our knees! Don’t see that in Oz very often) but that is rare.
A bit about my snowboarding style
Stance: Goofy (i.e. my right foot faces down the mountain). My husband is ‘Natural’ (left foot down the mountain) which makes it interesting for lifts. Apparently the first person to snowboard was ‘natural’ and decided everyone who was different was ‘goofy’. Its weird because I am right handed but apparently left footed (the back foot generally does the steering in snowboarding). No idea how that works.
Level: Intermediate. I do blue and double blue as well as the occasional black run. I like the burm track at Thredbo but am not so into the jumping or park type tricks. Lots of very painful looking injuries there…Mainly I like going FAST and doing a bit of technical riding in between trees.
Things I like: Fresh powder (feels like floating and speed is picked up really quickly. Plus when you fall over its so soft! But does get everywhere and make for a wet day). Beating my husband down a run. Riding through trees and finding snow drifts. Building up speed for a dip or going through narrow sections (gets the heart racing ). Scoping out new trails from the chair lift. Heavy, warming meals and beer in front of the fire at the end of a full day boarding. The vistas and the fresh mountain air. The exhilaration of an amazing run. Planning several runs in advance from the trail map and smashing them out in order. When trails connect and make super trails. The gear – love my new snowboard boots, can’t wait to break them in. Also love my old board which I got when I lived in Canada. I love spending time with my husband and with my good friends who also board (last year I got to hang out with my bestie but she will have much too big a belly for that this year…) and challenging each other to go harder.
Things I don’t like: Trying to catch an edge on ice. Moguls, you have to go so super slow and if you miss one turn you’re screwed…having said that they can be fun in the right conditions (i.e. no icy patches). T-Bars. Oh I can do them (only figured that out recently, pretty horrible learning curve). I just don’t like them. Traversing – feel the BURN. Traversing (as a snowboarder you have to be unclipped and push yourself along flat sections) is exhausting and takes up time which could be spent boarding. Skiers. It’s an ongoing war between skiers and boarders – I believe it is mutual. Having said that some skiers are really lovely and give you a lift sometimes in a traverse with their ski poles. But for the norm they cut you off at the MOST inopportune times (like trying to get through a flat section without unclipping). Unclipping. Lift lines. Crowds. Being gouged (its expensive).
The likes FAR outweigh the dislikes…and I still like the dislikes more than I normally like normal things. If you know what I mean.
The Snowboarding Workout
Oh, the calories! I’m looking forward to wearing my heart rate monitor for a few runs this year to compare the energy burn and see where my heart rate gets. What I do know is that for snowboarding you need strong legs. You know you’ve done a long run because by the end that back leg is on fire. Core strength also helps as you use your stomach muscles and core to turn. A strong back doesn’t go astray in that sense either. Flexibility is also useful for clipping in (you have to bend all the way down to your feet, I like to do it while standing up but you have to be pretty well-balanced to pull it off and I more often than not end up on my rear) and ‘skating’ (i.e. pushing your snowboard along the ground with one leg unclipped, like skateboarding almost…). I plan on increasing my yoga sessions as the season cools because the muscle isolation, core strength, flexibility and balance involved can only be helpful. General fitness and squats also don’t go astray!
I really want to get the most out of the short duration trips we have planned (weekends only) and don’t want to waste precious snowboarding time ‘having a break’. My snowboarding companions better watch out, they’re in for a manic ride…
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow….