Tuesday, 11 March 2008

MaXtreme Snowboarding X

So yes, against my physical disposition, and against my God given instincts I went snowboarding for the first time on Sunday. And of course I was lucky that I went along because I had a great time in spite of my cold, and in spite of the terrible, torturous, muscle pain that has afflicted me ever since.

I’m laying it on a bit thick, but thanks to the use of muscles that my body has never required before, and then perhaps… possibly drinking too much at Chris’s Flatwarming party, I felt today like I had been hit – not only by a truck – but by a truck filled with booze.


Seriously, about those muscles, I’m pretty concerned. It’s good to get fit, and work out parts of your body that don’t normally get exercise; but the human body didn’t evolve to staple its feet to a plank of wood and hurtle down a hill. I’m not saying that the activity itself is unnatural, I’m just wondering if we might be developing parts of our bodies that aren’t really required in any other activity. I keep thinking of Frank Zappa’s high school pal who found the guide to muscles of the body and set about developing all the unnecessary ones, until he was a total freak. Then again I guess the proliferation of hot snowboarders out there should pretty much set my mind at ease.

The muscles that take the most abuse, of course, are your arms because you’re having to push yourself up every time you fall over. And for me that was pretty much every time. I had the hang of keeping myself upright for the most part by the end of the day, and could descend in one way or another, but my moments of perfect execution were few and far between. After I had the hang of sort of shuffling from side to side, I tried angling myself a little more directly down the hill. The speed was amazing, but I could only stop by falling over. Which, y’know… works. Ow.

Picking things up wasn’t actually as grindingly frustrating as I’d thought. Thanks to my teachers (Olivia & Sara, take a bow) and a pretty steep learning curve, I found that actually staying on your feet in the snow, which at first seems impossible, actually came pretty quickly. Also I was told things were tricky for me because of my high centre of gravity, I really had to crouch down for control sometimes. Gravity: my closest friend, my most vicious enemy. And if only that was the first time I’d had to use that sentence.

The other thing about snowboarding, or skiing even, is that it's worth it for the view alone. Seriously, somebody put a lift into the side of that mountain so you can go all the way to the top and take a look. Now all you've got to do is get back down without killing yourself. Oh wait, we're going to stick your feet to this carbon fibre board too. Off you go.

Tips for first time snowboarders:

From Yoko – keep some chocolates in your pocket. This didn’t sound so useful at first, but man I wish I’d had something up there to keep my blood-sugar up, because I must’ve sugar-crashed half a dozen times.

Bend your legs. No, more. More.

You don’t get bonus points for taking out kids. In fact, apparently you don’t get any points for taking out anyone. I’m not sure where I got that idea from, but I was pretty disappointed. Back to throwing bricks at skateboarders I guess.

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