Meant to report back here weeks ago, but just been busy. Anyway, we had a wonderful week in Brian Head and I came away absolutely CRAZY about snowboarding!
On the first day (Monday) my wife spent the day buying groceries and cooking while me and my two boys took snowboarding lessons. My youngest son went to kidsí camp, and my older son and I took group lessons together (I know folks here recommended against that, but it wasn't my decision, they just didn't have enough "adult" students to split us up). My oldest son was struggling from the start and not having much fun, and then fell and hurt his wrist right before lunch, so he quit for the day and went back to the slopeside condo. That left just me and a teenage girl in our group, so it was almost
a private lesson.
I was doing pretty well, and the young girl was a surfer from Hawaii, so she was pretty agile and was picking it up fast too. By the end of the day, we were going down long greens from the top of Navajo Mountain. At the end of the day when we picked up my youngest son, he didn't seem to have had much fun.
On Tuesday we took the day off and went snowmobiling and snow tubing.
Then on Wednesday my oldest son took skiing lessons. He had skied once before about 6 years ago, so he picked that back up pretty quickly and was having MUCH more fun! My wife and I encouraged (pushed) our youngest son to take another day of snowboard lessons, hoping that he would get better and like it more, but at the end of the day, he still wasn't crazy about it. I snowboarded that day while my wife skied and I had a blast! Of course I must have fallen about a thousand times, but most of them weren't too bad. Now ONE time I did catch my heel edge and did a REALLY hard butt-plant and hit my head on the snow pretty good. Fortunately I was wearing an Azzpad and a helmet, so no permanent damage was done. But it damn sure rattled my bones and hurt for a few minutes.
On Thursday, my oldest son and wife skied again, with me on the snowboard. We all had fun and my oldest son was having a great time on skis. And after two days of snowboard lessons, my youngest son had had enough and wanted to ski instead. He saw how much fun his older brother had on skis the day before (and his big brother was telling him how much easier skiing was). So Thursday he took a group ski lesson and was MUCH happier!! After two days on the snowboard, he couldn't even make it down the bunny slope without falling every few feet, but at the end of his FIRST day on skis, he went down the bunny slope with his mother and I, without falling and with a big grin on his face.
About two hours before the lifts closed on Thursday, I took a private snowboarding lesson and made some real progress! Before the lesson, I had gotten to the point where I could link turns, but not really smoothly. Here's a very brief video taken about an hour before the lesson: Snowboarding at Brian Head
During the lesson, my instructor (Brittany) really worked on my linked turn transitions and got me to lead with my hips instead of my shoulders, and it made a HUGE difference!! The last 45 minutes or so before the lifts closed, I went down a couple of long green runs and was confidently linking turns the whole way (not at high speed of course, but significantly faster than before the lesson). It was such a blast!! Unfortunately I couldn't find any video footage of me after the lesson (I was usually the one holding the camera trying to get lots of footage of the boys).
So on Friday (our last day on snow) my wife and two boys skied while I snowboarded and we all stayed together most of the time, except for a couple of hours when the boys wanted to snow tube. I wasn't about to give up any precious time on my last day, so I stayed on the board.
Early that morning the snow was a bit icy, and it seemed like I had lost most of what I had learned the day before, but then the snow started softening up and I began to "feel it" again. The last two runs of the day were so much fun it brought tears to my eyes!
So the trip was a huge success and my introduction to snowboarding went as well as I could have possibly imagined. I was a bit sore, but not as bad as I had feared (I was actually able to sit on a horse the next day for nearly two hours on a tour of Bryce Canyon!) I never would have expected my two sons to NOT
like snowboarding, but I guess they just didn't get over the hump fast enough (not enough instant gratification). They're not in the best aerobic shape (for the same reason many kids aren't - too much time in front of the TV, the computer, and video games) but they do have reasonably good balance and love to ride their scooters and bikes. I guess I just wanted to learn REALLY badly and that seemed to be the main difference. Plus I had read lots of advice here and in books, and watched lots of videos on snowboarding (plus had years of skiing experience, which probably helped at least a LITTLE just because of edge awareness) so I was pretty well prepared and expecting the worst. In any case I'm really glad they had fun on skis, and the most important thing is that they're all excited about going back next year!
We spent a couple of days in Vegas before flying home, and I was so excited about snowboarding that I decided to do a bit of shopping.
The board I rented after my group lesson seemed really nice (based on my VERY limited knowledge) but the boots really STANK and had some pressure points. Plus I kept wishing they were stiffer. I decided that Iíd love to have my own boots for next year (and just rent a board) and I thought I might find some good year-end closeout deals. So I went to McGhie's Ski, Bike and Board and spent some time trying on boots with their resident boot fitter. Their year-end selection wasn't huge, but they had about six different boots in my size that I tried on. My favorite based on fit and comfort and stiffness was a pair of Salomon Savage Boa Str8jkt boots. Most other boots had some minor discomfort or pressure points almost immediately, but I walked around in the Savage boots for about 20 minutes with no discomfort (a pair of Burtons were a very
close second but ultimately the Savage boots fit my feet a bit better). The closeout price was only a hundred bucks, so I figured I couldn't lose! Even if Iím not crazy about them after using them on the slopes for a few days next year, I should be able to sell them for pretty close to what I have in them.
Anyway, if youíve read this far, you must be really bored.
But I just wanted to say thanks for the advice I got here a few months ago. Canít wait to get back on the snow next season!