January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and there’s no time like the present to get out and try something new. As someone who learned to snowboard for her 30th birthday, I can appreciate the challenges that come with being the new kid on the slopes. Although it’s been a few (cough, cough) years since that first bruising of my behind (and ego), I can easily remember my first time.
My first morning on the hill was refereed by a young gentlemen who thought that “become one with your board,” meant something useful to me. Now, to be fair, the skater kid in my group got it right away, so this method of instruction works for some.
Not really for me, though, so my first outing was a bit disappointing. And painful. My boyfriend, who was looking forward to long, blissful weekends at snug retreats with his snow-bunny girlfriend, instead received a barrage of expletives and angry tears as I wondered what I had done to deserve such punishment.
I’m not one to give up, though, and I agreed to give snowboarding another shot.
My second lesson was with Joe, an “over-30 specialist” who took the time to really explain the mechanics of snowboarding. He was everything you look for in an educator – patient, knowledgeable, kind, affinity for small words – and he honestly tried to not laugh out loud when I proceeded to fall every 30 seconds. But a funny thing happened over the course of our morning together – I actually got better. I began falling every minute, and then only every two minutes. And even better, when I fell, I started to figure out why I fell, and I was able to make adjustments and stay upright even longer. I didn’t have it all wired in one day, but I was hungry for more.
Since that day, I have considered myself a “snowboarder.” I’ve spent winters where I’ve been on the mountain every weekend we had snow. My husband and I postponed our honeymoon to take a snowboard trip during a better snow cycle. I moved to Lake Tahoe, for Pete’s sake.
And to this day, I take at least one lesson or clinic each season. Resorts in Lake Tahoe will offer special programs for children and adults who want to learn a snow sport. Programs vary in make-up and cost, but a typical learning package consists of a lift ticket, equipment rentals and lessons from a professional instructor (generally at a reduced cost).
Sierra-at-Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort, and Kirkwood Mountain Resort all offer lessons from professional instructors, and in my opinion, you’re never too cool to learn something new. I always learn something, and usually make a few friends in the process.
To learn more about the wide world of snow sports, check out Ski and Snowboard Month.
Additional information for this blog provided by The Western Division of Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA-W) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI-W). You can find out more information about certified snowsport instructors at PSIA-W or ask for one when you take your next lesson!