As a child who grew up on the Prairies, there weren’t a lot of downhill activities in the area.
However, when I moved to B.C., I had high hopes that I would take full advantage of the glorious mountains around me – I just needed a perfect time to do it.
Now, flash forward 20 years, and I’m still waiting.
My time came last week when I signed myself and my family up for a snowboarding lesson at Mount Seymour. I knew that having it as one of my top “40 Under 40” adventures would not only be a great experience for me, but for my children as well.
Although I’ve never been on a snowboard, the concept of it seemed relatively straightforward. I was fairly confident that the two-hour snowboarding lesson would be more than enough to get me comfortable. That is, until my first foot was strapped in by my instructor, Emily Fonda. I felt awkward and a bit unsteady as I stood learning about how to manipulate my board and shift my weight as I go downhill.
Fonda had us lift our board up and down using the foot that was strapped in. This helped us get comfortable with the board.
She then had each of us use our free foot to push ourselves forward and place it on the board to get used to the motion on a gentle slope.
Learning to glide is an important skill to learn first as it gets you comfortable with shifting your weight forward and gaining snowboard control. We also practised how to stop (which is a very important aspect for me). Fonda also encouraged us to spread our arms for balance. Once we practised our gliding, we were ready to hit the “bunny hill” -much to the children’s relief who were just itching to try it out.
My daughter was the first to go, and Fonda helped guide her down. She fell only twice and managed to keep her balance for most of the run. My eight-year-old son and my husband both barreled down the hill with no fear, and only fell once on the way down.
Then it was my turn. As I gently started out, I could feel myself leaning too far back, and wound up on my butt. I tried again, and discovered that I did the same thing, and found myself butt first, in the snow. Fonda helped me shift my weight forward and told me to look toward where I wanted to go.
It worked. Once she let me go, I found myself enjoying the ride down and was able to stop somewhat gracefully at the bottom.
The new “Goldie Magic Carpet” (a new conveyor lift for the slope) made the trek up the hill a breeze for the family. The kids didn’t have to worry about hanging on to a rope and were able to enjoy their ride back up to the top.
My son absolutely loved snowboarding (as did his dad) and my five-year-old daughter did as well, although she was tired after a few runs. The lesson we had from Fonda was extremely useful and I recommend taking one for anyone new to the sport.
For me, despite falling several times and using muscles I never knew I had, I enjoyed it immensely. I plan on going back soon to practise what I’ve learned, and to try not to fall down so often.
And for this gal from the Prairies, I’ve finally achieved a “mountainous” goal…..20 years in the making.