Snowboarding Lessons: Eating Snow in Taos Ski Valley


So, I was so busy learning how to snowboard that I forgot to take pictures.

Or it was just too embarrassing to let people see me falling over a million times. But I maintain that for snowboarders falling over is a valid method of stopping.

To be fair, snowboarders have to spend a lot of time on the snow. You have to strap in at pretty much every stop. At the top of lifts, you have to strap in. When you are just scooting back over to the lifts, you have to unstrap… Then strap back in later. If you fall, you’ll probably have to unstrap.

Did I mention the straps require a certain amount of flexibility that my lardy self found a touch more than I have?

We started out on the bunny slopes with the instructor telling us how to tie our shoe laces and get the straps on. Then he kept making fine tuning adjustments while me and the two youth that were in lessons with me experimented with getting moving and comfortable. When the instructor finished we started learning how to side slide forward and side slide backwards.

I was awesome at going backwards.

I struggled going forwards.

The biggest problem I had is that I’m fairly ambidextrous – so I’m neither goofy (right foot forward looking over your right shoulder) nor regular. On top of that I’m a swimmer, which may not be a problem for some, but for me that means that when I look in any direction my shoulders automatically rotate.

Even when I know it’s happening, I can’t seem to stop it.

When you turn your shoulders, your weight shifts.

When your weight shifts, you turn.

And I just spin round and round.

Then I fall.

The biggest trick that eventually sunk in? Learning to not look where I am going. Using peripheral vision or just blind luck, I finally started to get some control. Then we took a break for lunch.

Now almost everyone in the lesson just left and went off on the mountain. See yesterday’s post for why that’s not a good idea. I came back after lunch to finish out the day for lessons. With dramatic results. By the end of the day I could control where I was going backwards, but I couldn’t go forward much better.

Not until the last run of the day.

Then it came together and I managed to side slide down strawberry under control. I still wasn’t satisfied, and I knew going on to the mountain would be a crazy idea without more control. So, I turned in my snowboard and switched over to skis for the next day.

Maybe next year I’ll get the hang of it.


About Sean Smith

Husband, Father, Pastor, Swimmer, Writer, Reader, and attempted Adventurer!
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