I went up the resort for the 4th time today. I did 3 lessons, then today got my season pass...because it was a special deal and I only had to pay $65.
I have had high hopes. I keep reading about people who took one lesson or no lessons and were carving down the mountain by day 2. This is not me.
I seem to be an uncoordinated clutz. I cant even make it down the kiddie bunny hill. I get up there, I get going down.....and then nothing wants to work. I catch an edge, or I lose my balance, or I start spinning around as I am heading down the hill like a freakish helicopter.
Today I had my first really scary fall. I tweaked my ankle, slammed my head into the ground, and just generally messed up my back. After 4 weeks I am covered in bruises. There is a 12 inch section of each leg that is just black and blue (centered around the knee). I have bruises on my behind, on my arms. I am a mess.
So the questions are.....did you ever think of giving up? Did any of you have this hard of a time learning and then end up actually progressing beyond the point of a mentally disabled circus animal? Are you sure anyone can learn...or should some of us just realize we are hopeless and then cry over the obscene amount of money they have already spent on this?
Ok...so maybe I am just cranky and want to bitch. But I am actually sort of serious with the questions.
I was getting frustrated until I realized that what I was doing to learn was wrong...I kept trying to go down a bunny hill, turn and stop. This is what was recommended by the instructor I took a lesson with. I am a total newbie but I am a seasoned educator and I know how to tell when someone (including myself) is not learning and just wasting time.
This is my recommendation...go to a beginner slope (one step above bunny hill). Strap your front foot in. Leave your back binding open so you can put your foot in and quickly take it out when needed. Position your board parallel to the slope. Step into the back binding and keep going down the hill sideway, making sure your weight is balanced between both legs. This I think is called a hillside slide. Put more pressure on the edge to slow down, less to speed up but stay parallel to the hill. If you get nervous or tired and want to rest, take your foot out of the back binding (quickly!) and put it on the ground as an anchor. Since you don't have your foot strapped, you will be able to stop the process without falling. You don't want to practice falling but rather controlling the board. Once you are comfortable going sideways experiment with gently steering the board to each side. You do this by twisting either end of the board downhill. (I've hear talk about shifting weight from foot to foot but this is too abstract you use as a guideline)
This could be totally wrong but it worked for me last night when I finally had a eureka moment: it is the motion of pressing on the gas pedal on the side you want to go down while doing the opposite movement with the other foot. These movements are very subtle but will allow you to get the feel for the mechanics of what makes the board go and where. At this point the objective will be to keep going between letting the board go down a little and bring it right back to the parallel slide, traveling from side to side. I think that the key to be successful is to keep doing this exercise over an over again until one no longer needs to stop. The next step would be to strap in and work on the toe side slide doing the same mechanics...this is where I am now after 6 sessions full of frustration, falling on my behind and not getting any better. I think it is crazy to just keep going down the hill crossing fingers and hoping to learn without learning the basic mechanics and practicing how to control the board, which is what I was doing up until the last night.
I am slowly falling in love with snowboarding and looking forward to carving down the mountain but I really enjoy the sensation of going down the mountain even if I doing it very slowly right now. I am having a time of my life during the time of the year when I usually just keep waiting for the snow to melt so I can go windsurfing and Stan Up Paddling.