Back in the days before I started blogging, snowboarding was my life. I rode loads but had reached a plateau and grown-up life took over. I then discovered mountain biking, which gave me the same buzz as snowboarding, but with much less hassle and that became my sort of choice, and I have only snowboarded a handful of times in the past ten years. Although I had made a point of watching all of the snowboard competitions at the Winter Olympics.
Part of the story behind me getting back on a snowboard was that Partho and I were booked on a mountain bike “jumps and drops” course with Skillsloop, which was cancelled due to Storm Eunice. So we happened to be at a loose end when Rich asked if we fancied going to the SnowDome with him – sometimes these things just come together! Fortunately, the snowboard fashion of the noughties was for baggy kit, so it still fitted!
Walking down the stairs to the changing area at the SnowDome felt familiar, but it was not until I was at the top of the travellator and ratcheting up my bindings that I was sure the muscle memory for snowboarding was still there. Dropping in for my first run, with a traverse on my toe edge into a heelside turn, felt completely natural. Like I had never been gone. You could say “like riding a bike”! I had a slightly nervous wait at the bottom of the slope waiting for Partho (on skis) and Rich (also on a snowboard) to finish their runs – but when they joined me we were all smiles. Partho was noticeably faster on his second run, beating me to the bottom, but ending up on the deck to avoid taking out someone at the bottom. Resisting the temptation to spray him with snow, I went back up the rope tow to try to meet Rich halfway up the slope, but he was also quicker on this run.
We spent the next few hours doing laps of the slope. If I got a clear run I would hit the small kicker ramp and try to get some air, but was generally taking it easy and just enjoying being back on a snowboard. Strangely it felt like some of the best riding I have ever done, maybe it was a combination of no expectations and a familiar slope or the fact that I am a lot fitter these days, thanks to regular mountain biking. I would be interested to see how I fare on a real mountain with much longer runs.
It was especially good to be riding with some of my oldest friends, in the old days snowboarding was something that I mainly did with my brother, so it was great to be able to chat with Partho and Rich on the lift or to watch them riding down. Afterwards, we also went out for lunch, which felt like an extra treat in the week!
I am certainly not going to leave it another five years before I get back on my snowboard, especially now that my best friends are keen to join me. Maybe it could even lead to a trip to the Alps, which is not something that I would have been expecting to write even just a few days ago…