Sure, snowboarding looks cool, but can everyone really successfully do it? You know, you're all buckled in with zero independent leg control. It just looks difficult. Like something only surfers can handle. Well, I'm happy to say, I gave it a go and I lived to tell, thanks to my trusty instructor at Ski Sundown in New Hartford, J.P. Kelly.
"Today is a great day for learning, " says Kelly hopefully. "The snow is soft. The air is warm!" And, you can be sure, there will be many more of these mild days towards the end of February and into March. "There's two straps," he says. "A toe strap and an ankle strap." Truthfully, snow boarding boots are much more comfortable than ski boots.
First, Kelly teaches me the necessary athletic stance. To snowboard correctly, you must stand straight but loose and hang over the board, sort of like a gorilla, with some spring in your legs. Then, he shows me how to "skate" with the board. We scoot all around the snow, pushing one foot behind the other. After learning these basic moves, he takes me a little ways up the bunny slope to learn how to "glide." Still, with only one foot clipped in, I "skate" a bit and then "glide" on the board. It's not too tough! But, the board is very sensitive. Every turn of the head, shoulders or hips will affect its direction.
We head a little further up the hill and this is where the lesson becomes challenging! I clip both feet into the board and attempt to find some control in the forward and side moving positions. Truthfully, I land on my backside many, many times! And, once down, it's not all that easy to stand back up! But, after a few runs down the beginners slope, I feel a wee bit confident! And, certainly, my experience proves that anyone can give this cool sport a try!
"Everyone knows how to snowboard," grins Kelly. "I just pull it out of you!" Lessons at Sundown are not just for beginners. The instructors love to help intermediate riders find new ways to enjoy the slopes.
Take it from Kelly who just loves boarding: "It's very freeing!"
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