I didn’t realize it at the time, but October the 10th was Thanksgiving back in Canada. So a belated Happy Thanksgiving to all those that celebrated over the weekend! This is where I spent my Monday:
I had the day off from work. The weather was decent (not raining) and I had the entire day, so I headed straight for Mt. Ruapehu. Except this time I wore proper attire.
3 layers on top, 3 layers on bottom, I was ready to fall in some snow! At the Turoa ski field on Mt. Ruapehu, they have a a happy little beginners area where they keep people like me, and small children, away from the rest of the mountain. It’s right outside the main chalet, so no chairlifts necessary here. With a name like ‘Alpine Meadow’, you know it’s going to be a scary place.
I spent my first 2 hours here, one hour being taught in a lesson how to balance, go down the hill facing downhill (heels into the snow for control) and going down facing uphill (toes into the snow for control). Heels is the easy way for me, toes gave me trouble. After the lesson, I spent another hour just practicing in the easy area, and getting the heels and toes part down. Once you can do both, you start combining them in order to go down a hill making turns at will.
After lunch, I took a gamble and went further up the mountain. They have an ‘advanced beginner’ area at the end of the first chairlift.
It was indeed a lot steeper but still wide open and safe feeling. I got another 2 hours of practice in – I could now go from heels to toes with some success and link turns under control going downhill. Getting there! I can definitely do full runs under control using just heels, but still need more practice to get my turning down right. I think after a second day, I probably will be able to start looking at the blue runs. It is a LOT of fun, but also very tiring for a beginner. So I took breaks once in a while and enjoyed the view.
I definitely will be going up again. It was mentioned to me that it takes 3 days of snowboarding to really enjoy it – one day to learn the basics, one day to get turning under control and increase your speed and confidence, and a third day to explore the mountain with your new skills. I’m already looking forward to day 2 – just need my bruises to heal! My wrists, shoulders, hips and tailbone received quite a few bumps during my time on the mountain. A couple more days and I should be good to go again, just need the weather to improve.
About the only thing I didn’t like about snowboarding so far? Snowboarding culture/other snowboarders. I felt my braincells committing suicide anytime I was within range of being able to hear their inane conversations. I’d like to think I’m just getting old, but part of me just thinks there are a lot of morons strapped to snowboards.
Thankfully, the mountain is a big place. 🙂