I’ve always wanted to get into snowboarding but I never knew where to start. There are so many places all over the world that offer great slopes, scenery and people and it’s hard delving into a new sport not knowing anything about it. Friends of mine had been doing skiing holidays for years but while the sport didn’t appeal to me, the lifestyle did. I decided to take a look at snowboarding, skiing’s cooler younger brother, and this is what I learned.
Snowboarding in its rawest form was invented in the 1920s but its modern connotations were not truly known until the 60s when engineer Sherman Poppen designed a crude toy for his daughter which consisted of two skis stuck together and a rope tied to the front to give her control. He called the new activity ‘snurfing’, a combination of snow and surfing. His invention became so talked about that he had to take his design to a larger market. He began holding snurfing competitions and one of the favourite competitors was Tom Sims, an avid skateboarding fan who took Poppen’s idea and ran with it, creating a new design which he called the ‘winterstick’. Many other people added to the design but the snowboard we know today was finally finished by two Welshman who had the idea of using lightweight plywood.
When you begin to look at what kind of gear to buy, it’s very easy indeed to get caught up. In my case, there were so many choices for colour and style and it was easy for me to find something that suited me. The prices can change according to brand name but if you put in a little extra effort you can find some great deals, especially on discount sites like eBay.
Deciding where to go is the next hardest thing for would-be-snowboarders. Europe seems the obvious choice for a Brit but the resorts in America and Canada are immense and the perfect excuse to go a little further afield for a holiday. It makes such a change to sitting on a beach doing nothing all day; you can end the day feeling totally satisfied with what you’ve achieved. Nothing quite like a real wood fire and a hot chocolate with marshmallows in an actual snow-topped wood cabin! So picturesque!
Don’t be daunted by the seemingly endless slang and lingo used as well, it may seem like a whole new language but the odd words used normally just refer to different jumps or stances and you can look online for a snowboarding glossary to help get to grips with it all.
It may seem intimidating at first but the challenge should be embraced! If you’re bored with the textbook beach holiday, a winter sports holiday could be just the change you need. It’s not just pushing yourself to an extreme either, the roaring log fires and gorgeous scenery will help relax you after a long day on the slopes. Why not start enjoying the prospect of snow instead of dreading it?
Despite all the fun this activity can be hazardous so look around for the right ski helmet to suit your needs – don’t be short changed on the safety factor.