Feels like I’m going backwards.

Luckily not in a retrograde manner.

I’ve been to that snow dome thing again, sorry. Maybe there’s some music upcoming in my life, if that kicks off I promise to make some blog noise about that to try and spread the snowboarding rubbish out a little bit.

I’ve been meaning to get round to riding “switch” for some weeks, I’d penciled the task in for Wednesday morning gone. The plan was to get onto a lesson at level 4, but not owning up to the fact that I ride level 6+ normally and do the class entirely backwards.

“switch”, for the uninitiated, is the process of riding a snowboard with the ‘wrong’ foot forwards. It’s entirely symmetrical to riding normally but carries a far higher cognitive load from using a weak limb to be the controlling force.

I was able to do a long session today, booking in from 10-5. I only used 3-3.5 hrs in the end, but rests are a “good thing™”. I set myself the target of learning to ride backwards.

I’ve done it a few times for a couple of turns at a time, and been about half successful, but in order to master it it takes some dedication. It’s certainly coming to me far more slowly than the regular way round. I adopted riding the skilifts wrong footed, I didn’t actually fall off, but wow it was as wobbly as sin. I started riding switch from the top of the slope and got on with crashing. Alot.

I wrote the task off after a few abortive runs and the narrowly averted manslaughter of a skiing toddler, but the desire to “get it” didn’t leave and after a break I gave it a go from about 20m up the slope, I got two turns. After trying that 3 or 4 times, I graduated myself to 40m up the slope, and got three turns. Rinse and repeat that until you reach the top of the slope and I was able to do a few full runs of 160m with my mind on fire, my right knee burning from the newness of the muscle work BUT without falling over!

I think the real key to the process was getting on with riding the lifts the wrong way round. I found that the lifts are WAY hard to ride with the weight in the wrong place on the board, but that you get a nice constant speed ride with a metal pole to hang on to whilst you find the most confident place to put your weight. Once I’d got the lift working right, I knew where to stand on the board, and that got the downhill stuff under way.

Of course, soon after getting it all together, the fatigue got me and I became unable to ride anything in any direction. I’m sure I’ll have to start the whole sorry process again when I next go, but although this is gritted teeth rather than giggling fun, it’s the prelude to posts about 180s with tweaked grabs so it all needs doing.

What goes up must come down…

…but if you grab and tweak in the air then you score more points from the judges.

We had a larger kicker this week than last week, which sadly there wasn’t the opportunity to video.
Last week’s was a rolled off kicker with a smooth top, to get air off it you had to ollie slightly before the crest. Much safer for those of us new to the things in that if you didn’t ollie you just rode over it and down the other side.
Today’s kicker was a bit more classic with an upramp, a blunt top, and a slight gap before the run out.
With a little more confidence than last week I was able to rip at it with a couple of chicken speed checks, but popping it fully.
The tricks I can sign off this week are:

  • Straight Air
  • Indy grab
  • Mute grab
  • The pride on this stuff keeps growing, I’m loving every single session.

    Also, I got my driving licence back. If you know of a midsized diesel engined car at the affordable end of the market becoming available, spare me a thought.

    Learning to fly

    I recently posted some fluff about getting better at snowboarding or some rubbish.
    The thing about unsubstantiated claims is that people might call you out on them.
    Have some evidences:
    [flv:http://caitlin.me.uk/Boarding4thmay.m4v 425 344]
    It looks quite leisurely, but I can assure you that from a first person perspective, that’s 8 billion miles an hour and 45 feet in the air.