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SNOWBOARDING - HAVE FUN IN THE SNOW... GIVE IT A GO!!
Snowboards - General Comments & Tips
Member Name: belindacoles
Snowboards - General Comments & Tips
Advantages: Good fun, good exercise makes you feel care free and happy!
Disadvantages: Can be hard to get the hand of at first, can be addictive and can be expensive.
Well Snowboarding has really grown in the past 5 or 6 years and has now become a very popular winter sport whether you take part abroad, indoor slopes or outdoor dry slopes.
The general concept of Snowboarding is similar to that of Skateboarding in the sense that you maneuver on a single board rather than skis which are two pieces of equipment.
I have been snowboarding for 18 months, I learnt to Snowboard in a day on an 8 hour course at an Indoor slope, it was hard work but well worth it. Since then I have been on 1 snowboarding holiday and have another booked for much. I also use indoor slopes now and then for recreational use and to keep my skills up to date.
Equipment - First of all there's the snowboard, Picture a sandwich that is made up of a few layers (Bread on the bottom, cheese, ham, salad and bread on the top.) It’s the same concept, a snowboard is made of several layers of different types of materials, such as plastic, fibre glass and of course wood. Secondly there are bindings that fasten down (my screw fixings) to your board, the purpose of the binding is to secure your feet on the board and place your feet/knees/legs in what is known as a stance – a correct and comfortable position to snowboard in, your foot goes flat on the bindings and then you strap secure straps across the toe and ankle area, there are many different types of bindings – the standard ones are as explained above but there also some with “Toe Caps” which are straps that go across the edge of your toes and then there are “Step-Ins”, these are bindings that don’t require straps so avoid the whole strapping in and out everytime you dismount your Snowboard. And then of course there are the boots, again these vary but are of a mainly standard format, most are of a tough trainer type material. Some have heated insoles that mould to your feet, some have 2 or 3 layers of laces and some have fast lacing or “boa” lace systems which is a quick lacing system. The boots are the most important aspect in terms of comfort, if your boots don’t fit correctly then you’re off to a bad start!
Snowboards come in different sizes and the size you ride depends on your height, weight and sex – there are many different opinions on how best to decide which size to buy – my advice would be to go to a shop and get help and for that reason I wont go into details of the different beliefs of how to determine what size you are as the beliefs vary widely. You can also get wide boards if you have wide feet, to prevent your feet overlapping the board. Bindings usually come in S,M,L & XL and is done on the size of your feet so is pretty self explanatory. Boot sizes are the same as shoes, although sometimes you may need a size bigger so you have room to move.
Outerwear – When snowboarding there are many types of clothing you can wear but generally it’s the same set up as skiing, you need sallopetes or snowboarding pants which are waterproof and comfortable and of course the same goes for the jacket. Many people choose to wear layers to keep themselves warm. There is also a lot of protective gear available such a wrist guards, bum pads, spine protectors etc. Goggles and a hat is a must if riding in cold and snowy condition – Goggles are important to protect you from the bright sun rays you can experience and they help to balance your vision of lumps and bumps on the snow when the sun is reflecting off it. Gloves are another important aspect to keep your hands warm and dry and skiing or snowboarding specific gloves are by far the best. You also need thick socks to keep your feet warm inside your boots and again ski or snowboard specific ones are the best as they are a specialized fit and prevent creasing which can be very painful and some also have mild padding to protect you in certain areas.
Indoor Slopes – In the past few years there have been quite a few Indoor Slopes built which have real snow, these are a great place to learn and most of them do varied lesson packages, ranging from hours lessons to day long coaching. www.xscape.co.uk and www.snowdome.co.uk are the indoor slopes – located in Milton Keynes, Leeds, Tamworth and soon to be opened – Scotland.
Outdoor/Dry Slopes – These are as the name suggests and are outdoor slopes and are obviously not made from snow. Outdoor slopes are made from different materials depending on which ones you go to. I personally have never ridden on a dry slope but many people do and it can be a much cheaper option for lesson or recreational use.
Resorts – There are far too many resorts for me to begin to mention… 95% of mountain resorts cater for snowboarders and many now have “parks” which have jumps and rails for you to ride.
Types of Riding – The first step and main style is classed as “Freeride” – this is general riding on mountains with the ability to control speed, turn, use lifts etc. The next step if you so wish is classed as “Freestyle” which is progressing to doing jumps, spins, riding rails and pipes etc. Then for the braver and more experienced there is “Off Piste” where you ride in deeper snow conditions and away from resorts.
Prices – Costs of lesson and use of slopes vary widely depending on where you go and what you do so I won’t go into too much detail. You can get weeks holiday deals to European resorts for around the £200-£300 mark on average, sometimes more if you go to the likes of USA & Canada, sometimes less if you get a cheap deal. An hour’s use of indoor slopes ranges from about £15-£25 again depending where you go and when you go. Dry slopes tend to be cheaper for recreational use. Again the prices of the equipment and clothing can vary VERY much. A basic beginner snowboard will cost you around £170-£200 whereas a top range one can set you back £1000!! Bindings range from £70-£200+ and the same with the boots. Clothing is like any clothing, “no name” brands can be bargains but well known brands are very expensive.
Top Tip – My main tip would be, when you start out, hire equipment or buy cheap or second hand equipment, don’t splash out on the best of everything in case you decide that Snowboarding isn’t for you. Another tip would be to have lessons, don’t just assume you can do it, even if you are an experienced skier, snowboarding is a very different sport and can cause great injuries if you do not have the right teaching, attitude or equipment.
Snowboarding on a whole is a great fun sport which can be demanding on your muscles and ego at first and all the bumps and falls and tumbles can knock your confidence but they are part of the process and part of the fun, the trick it to stick at it and believe in yourself. It can be an expensive hobby but well worth it, there is a wide social aspect to Snowboarding too and lots of people like to go in groups.
All in all it’s a good laugh and a fun sport well worth trying!!
I have my own Snowboarding Website – check it out… www.face-plant.co.uk
Summary: Bring out the kid in yourself, get a face full of snow!
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