Woes of a Noob... TLDR
First year, went all out and bought all my own gear and a season pass.
37 years old
195 lbs 5'10"
K2 Raygun 159
K2 Formula Bindings (both 2012)
32 Lashed SL's 2013
My local is Shames Mountain in NW BC. See the attached run map.
So, built a backyard balance beam of wood like has been posted and practiced a little on that, went to the local sled hill the first snow, and then hiked for my first couple of turns up Shames before opening day. Spent a lot of time on my ass (and face).
Signed up for a 2 hour private lesson on opening day. Didn't really learn shit. The instructor was a total douche. He had just moved to BC from Alberta where his local was basically a "hill" with snow making. He wasted most of my time telling me about how at 30 he had been instructing since 96' and was really a freestyle coach. He never did more than a 9 in comp but can totally land 12's and 14's. He also had to show me his knee brace and complain about how he shattered his leg landing a 30' air on his dirt bike, etc. etc.
Even though I had my own gear he wasted my time "explaining" what an edge was and the base, bindings, etc.
He then went quickly over skating and edge stepping basically on our way to the rope tow. We did maybe 2 runs down the bunny side-slipping and my legs were burning like a mutha. I thought maybe a little more forward lean on my high-backs would help with my heel edge. He grabbed my board to "do it for me" and I had to show him how and told him I had it, and he still insisted on doing one binding which I later found loose and flapping around (tool less thumb screw type stuff).
He then had me doing the pendulum or falling leaf. I complained that AASI and CASI no longer teach this technique and that it can lead to bad habits and limit progression based on some reading I've done. He said "I know, I just correct the bad habits". I probably should have walked then, but it gets better.
He was talking to me like I was 10 years old "that's ok buddy" and never once said anything about correcting what I was doing that didn't have something to do with holding my arms out like an airplane and pointing where I wanted to go. Even I could tell I was in the backseat and that was why I was having trouble heel side, but he never said it.
He also kept trying to force me to ride switch telling me that I was goofy even though I skated as a kid and I know I'm regular. This wasn't based on testing me or anything, he just kept trying to make me point my tail downhill. He rides goofy and I think he is just easily confused. Anyway, the 3rd time I told him I wasn't goofy I started to get a little pissed.
Went straight from side-slipping to linked turns. No garlands or isolated turns, just go for it. I did OK other than the aforementioned backseat heel problem.
Oh yeah, even though I was standing to strap in, he kept trying to force me to sit and was wasting my time explaining how to strap in sitting. After the first 2 or 3 runs he then wasted my time trying to explain how to strap standing while I was already standing there strapped in. I wanted to kick him in the head.
So, after not making it down the bunny without falling back at least a couple times on my heel edge he starts trying to make me mimic him in a couple of quick "corrections" he called them or basically what I understand to be dynamic turns. It was a little ugly, but I managed.
After a break an hour and fifteen in where I had to explain to him that my lesson was not over and that I indeed had 45 minutes left he took me straight to the lift. Now anyone who knows Shames will know that there is no such thing as beginner terrain there. There are basically 2 green runs one of which is a too narrow for a cat and doglegs back and forth all the way down and the other starts out with enough room for wide beginner turns on a gentle slope and turns into a steeper run with little washes and drops that he just told me to side-slip through.
My favorite part was how he kept cutting me off and stopping right in front of me to watch me. I laid it down a half a dozen times to avoid hitting the moron. He still never corrected my heel side technique and I was doing pretty good toe side, but washing out and landing on my ass at least 1 out of every 3 heel turns.
He then ends the lesson with a pitch about how I need to buy more lessons and to make sure I ask for him while hinting around about a tip. FUCK this asshole!
So I took one more run by myself, took a wrong turn and ended up on a steeper blue called shooter and caught a wicked toe edge. It was one of those don't realize you're falling or anything, just "come to" on the ground wondering why you can't breath and why your goggles and helmet are on sideways. Best part is doing it right under the chair so you can hear the laughs and all the "are you ok's". Of course you can't talk so you just hold up a thumb.
Even better, while my bell was still ringing I got up and tried again. I dropped into a little wash or bowl or whatever and somehow ended up going down inline with my board instead of forward or backward. I jacked up my ankle and knee pretty good. My ankle is still sprained pretty badly and all black and blue and shit.
Still better, I promised a guy from work that I would ride with him the next day. So, I took a couple OTC anti-inflammatories and a non-narcotic pain pill, wrapped it up crammed it in my boot and went for it. Bad idea! Pain on the way up the chair with my board hanging off my injured leg was excruciating. Needless to say I made it one run, my buddy got a raincheck voucher and we played xbox the rest of the day.
I also tried again this last Saturday (a week after the initial injury). It was feeling a lot better. I made it down the bunny hill a couple of times with no wipeouts and decided I was good to go. The chair wasn't bad either. Again, took another wrong turn on this shitty hill with no signage and ended up on another blue run and re-injured my still recovering ankle.
Now I'm on the couch with 2 weeks off work and a season pass doing fuck-all!
Hopefully nobody will read this as it is definitely too long and probably stupid and whiney, but it was cathartic and I feel better. :D
The learning curve for snowboarding is steep and filled with booby traps. But it's worth it. You'll find out.
And yeah, you got a douche instructor.
Its def sucks to start snowboarding, but imagine, in 4 or 5 weeks you'll be much better, you can start enjoying the bc pow and doing tricks while cutting skiers of at mach 10. its worth it, just keep it up.
Yeah, there are some days I have where I am on my ass all day and I am like why the fuck am I doing this. Then I got a day on Sunday where the snow was deep there was lots of it and I just spent the day surfing in the trees. I even dropped of a 7 foot ish cliff once after going past it like 10 times... It was an epic day.
Also yes, sounds like you had a retard instructor. I had a ok one my first 2 lessons, then I got a dude named Jimmy at WH2O and he was great. Corrected my shit turns and really instilled confidence in my riding. There are great instructors out there, just ask not to have that guy next time and maybe you will get lucky!
If you make it down south at all this season hit me up and we can kill White Water!
Ah man, I certainly feel your pain. I learnt at 30 and busted up my ankle good in my first week. It was 24 months before I could face it again. Now I'm like a cheap whore on a meth pipe, I just can't get enough of that shit. It will come soon enough and youll be better than me by season end.
Look on the bright side, you live in B.C. - I get about 20 days per year and dream about one day making it to B.C before my current improvement/age vector starts heading south.
Thanks for all the commiseration...
I was just thinking (OK obsessing) over my next play. How long do I rest the ankle before I try again? I'm going to say at least 2 - 3 more days. As soon as I can strap in and carpet surf without pain I'm heading back up to the mountain.
When I do, then what? Do I take another lesson and waste another $60/hr wanting to use my board to bash someone's head in?
Do I stay on the bunny hill until I am much more confident? What techniques should I be practicing? The 150' rope tow doesn't give you a whole lot of room to practice much. Especially with kids and learners like me strewn all about.
I've read a bit about pivot turns (like in this vid) and I've seen mixed messages from the same people. Is it a valid technique, just for moguls, or totally stupid and noobish? It makes sense to me and I think if I practiced it a bit on the bunny hill and the one green groomed run at Shames (that would be a blue anywhere else) it would help me with my confidence and I could gradually increase my speed. As it is now I am only comfortable on my toe edge and my basic skidded turns aren't keeping my speed under control. I'm braking too hard on my heel and skidding out every time I hit a steeper section. That, or sideslipping until my thighs are on fire. :dunno:
I have two basic problems. I need to be more confident leaning downhill on my heel edge and I'm not confident because the terrain I have to ride is steep and uneven. Hence I need a better way to control speed and generate confidence on intermediate to advanced terrain (cuz that's all there is at Shames)
I'm hoping you went and complained to the resort about your instructor. How can the resort fix a problem they don't know about? My GF has had about 5 lessons now over the years and each one has brought her past the next plateau...
Go to the top of mountain and go to the hardest route, then try to get down without falling. Repeat. Before you know it, the blue's will feel slow and like shit. This will force you to use your body to control the snowboard without any technique. Or you can go in steps and learn the right way.
As for complaining, no I didn't. I thought about it. But I kind of doubt anybody would give a shit. The mountain is really pretty half-assed. It's run by a coop who is leasing it from the owners to keep it open. And that was supposedly their "best snowboard instructor". Kind of makes me leery of taking yet another shitty lesson.
karma's a bitch.
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