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Old 03-22-2012, 09:48 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Learn HOW to fall... SERIOUSLY! I wish someone told me how to do it right the first day... my wrists would be much happier. Needless to say, just like another poster mentioned, I highly recommend wrist guards. If you don't have them, get thick gloves and do one of two things... 1.) Use your elbow instead of your wrists to cushion the fall or 2.) Punch the ground like you're doing close-fisted push-ups. Whichever you use will depend on the angle of your fall. It's important to do this not just to protect your wrists, but also you're noggin. My wife started the same day I did and got a minor concussion because she didn't fall properly after a heelside slip.

From your post, I suspect you're a full grown adult. Full grown adults don't fall nearly as nicely as small children. Your center of gravity is higher, which means your falls are harder. Unless you're consistently falling in soft powder, expect a lot of pain the next day due mostly to the falling and not the snowboarding itself. Once you get better, your lower body will start hurting more than your upper body.

That's a reason why I wouldn't recommend a lesson on the second day. If you put a full day on hardpack/ice like we did on the first day, a lesson on the second day would have probably been torture.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I took a group lesson my 2nd time snowboarding (took it up this season) my first time was just an hour on the bunny slope trying to stand up (We arrived late just before closing) etc. so doesn't really count. I found the lesson good for showing the basics, but due to having a very slow learner in the group (it was a group of 3) and very bad teaching conditions (blizzard basically so hard to hear/see instruction) I didn't get much out of it and it kind of put me off lessons, so the next 3 or 4 times I went I just practiced myself and was able to get down greens okay etc. but I knew my technique wasn't great and I was more in survival mood (get down by any means) than getting down in a fast and nice looking fashion. I was still having a blast though. After I kind of hit my wall of how far I could get without further instruction I took 3 more lessons (2 Full day, and 1 Half Day). They were technically group lessons but I never had more than 3 people and had one or two private ones (good odds of not having more than 1 or 2 others or even by yourself on a weekday once you are not in the very beginner lesson) with a great instructor so I learnt a LOT and had a ton of fun.

Now I can go out by myself and have a lot of fun and work on improving but the lessons were essential to me getting to that stage. If nothing else it was good motivation and a good confidence builder and really good fun, you get to see the mountain in a safe way (No wrong turns down blacks, well not too many anyways ) and if you're lucky enough to get a combination of a good instructor, a small group and other people of similar ability it really is the best way to learn how to snowboard.

I guess my advice to you would be to use the lessons to get to a level where you feel comfortable enough to practice on the bunny hill/mild green and assured of the basics of technique. My main stumbling block with snowboarding was not being confident enough in my technique to really go for it on greens/blues, if you take the time to practice and ask the right questions in the lessons you will grow in confidence quickly and really enjoy your time on the slopes.

Oh and ditto on the learning how to fall, my first time out I sprained both my wrists, bruised my tail-bone and ribs and generally came out black and blue. Conditions had a lot to do with this, it was a sheet of ice and I was just messing around by myself, but I can see how a lot of people pack it in after their first time if they get enough bad falls, once I learnt how to minimise the pain by falling properly (at least until I started going a bit faster/trying little jumps etc.) I started to really enjoy it!
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just wantedto thank everyone for the advice. I am currently up in the mountains and today marked my third day on the slopes.

Conditions for Colorado have been horrendous this year so I wasn't expecting much and sure enough when we arrived. I took the beginning level full day group lesson on the first day and was fortunate enough to have only 3 others in my group. We stayed on the bunny hill all day, practicing heel side before lunch and toe side afterward. Needless to say, it was a learning experience. I fell getting off the lift the first time and the icy patches all over the hill contributed to some tailbone and shouderblade soreness. But at the end of the day, I felt that I had progressed quite a bit to be able to go down without falling!

My second day I decided to go it alone and try my luck on some greens. I spent the next few hours busting my ass and being thankful that I had went into town and bought knee pads the day before! While i was able to traverse across the mountain,I really had no control in my turns and found myself untangling myself from the netting at the side of the trails on more than one occasion. I met up with my brother later that day and tried again but with the same result. I had no confidence being able to stop and be able to dodge the people around me. (if someone were close, i would usually wipe out ) After taking a nasty fall and straining my neck, I decided to call it early and left to nurse my injuries... I wasn't sure if i would be on the mountain again the next day.

But i did, and the third day I took the second full day group lesson which was "Introductions to Turns". I was very fortunate to have only 1 other person in my group and the more individual attention was great. The instructor critiqued my form and offered plenty of advice (such as keeping the hips facing up the hill for more control and getting low to initiate turns and then straightening up to pull weight off the board to help transition) We did all the green runs I had tried the day before and the results were night and day... there were still a couple falls but less and less. I was switching from heel side to toe side on every traverse and the increased control I had in the turns and in being able to stop was amazing! By the end of the day, we were going down the greens confidently and even went down a couple easy blues without falls. It was slushy out there, but i had an amazing time out there on the slopes.

I'm still debating on the next step... if I did another lesson it would be to learn how to carve but part of me just wants to see if I can replicate what i did that third day by going up solo. Regardless, I think I'm hooked... can't wait to try to plan another trip
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