How to Learn to Snowboard – Canadian Rockies and Crested Butte (Part II)

Canmore was epic, and I was hoping Crested Butte would be too. I wasn’t disappointed. The 20 hour drive was a little long, but well worth it. We ended up stopping in Golden to visit friends before heading ‘home’ to Crested Butte, and taking them with us.

David n Natalie watching Tess race!

I spent the next 3 days on the mountain, actually learning how to snowboard for the first time. I’d been boarding before, years ago, but never had any control. Thanks to my new friend Tess (a competitive racer) I finally understood how to actually ride.

Learning to snowboard isn’t easy, but is totally doable if you put your mind, and ass to it. I kicked my own butt the first day. And then Tess kicked it harder, when she wasn’t training. Then the mountain kicked it the last day, and I ended up getting a mild concussion, my first ever. (Yes, I was wearing a helmet)

Mike, David & Tess… (I took the photo!)

Regardless, I’ve decided to make a mini list of how to learn to snowboard, and what to bring with you.

  1. Guts – Don’t be scared to fall. You’re going to end up bruised and broken, no matter how quickly you pick it up. Go for the ‘hard’ stuff. It’s a LOT easier to learn, and understand what’s really going on with steeper terrain than it is on the bunny hill. The bunny hill isn’t for boarders, it’s for children on skis, just don’t do it.
  2. Heart and Determination– No matter how hard you try, the mountain is going to slam you. Doesn’t matter if it’s ice or powder, you’ve got to keep going. If you quit when it gets rough, you’ll never actually understand what you’re doing wrong.
  3. Mentors – I had three. Tess was a patient and experienced teacher, willing and excited to work with a determined novice. Mike and David we’re both telemark skiing all weekend, but provided so much moral support I cant help but to mention them.
  4. Gear – I was determined to learn, and bought everything I needed. Being comfortable, and in your own shoes (literally) can make a huge difference on how long you can stay out there, and how hard you can push yourself. I’m not against renting, just be picky! And research what will actually fit you and your perceived style.

Tess napping between races, we spent a few really long days on the mountain!

I’m hoping to visit Crested Butte again in 2012/13. She knocked me out and knocked me on my ass, but I’m willing and ready to take the challenge to stay upright and conscious. I highly recommend the mountain and the town. The culture is amazing and I’m looking forward to shredding my face off this winter. Thank you Crested Butte for being a beast and a teacher.

About vanizzle17

Climber and Adventure Therapist.
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