Snowboarding & My Date With Disaster

Every other Thursday I share a travel experience from the past. With 4 years of non-stop travel and 3 years of part time travel I have a lot to get through! From the highs of skidiving to the depths of scuba diving – and everything in between, let me inspire you to try something new!

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Adventure Series Snowboard


Let me paint the picture: I’m a skier – and after 4 winter seasons in the European Alps, I’m not half bad (if I do say so myself!). But I had to start somewhere – and man, it wasn’t pretty. You may have read about my experience over at Non Stop Destination, but if you missed it – here it is again:

Adventure Series Snowboard

“I started to ski when I was about 14 after I had been booked on a school trip to Switzerland. My mum booked me some weekend lessons at the local dry slope in the north of England so I could learn the ropes and make the most of the trip.

On my first day, we did the basics: ‘Pizza’ to slow down, ‘French Fry’ to go faster down the hill. We only used the small slope – probably no more than a 10m stretch with 5m up the other side to slow you down if you hadn’t quite got the hang of things. I managed for the first few goes, all fine and then I ‘French fried’ too much and I shot down the hill. I was only tiny and so I had no body weight to cause resistance between myself and the slope and so I just kept going.

I flew to the top of the safety slope, continued across the grass and managed to line my ski’s up perfectly between the iron railings bordering the facility, and SPLAT. I crashed into the fence Tom and Jerry style – I swear if I’d have gone through there would have been a cut out shaped like me. I then peeled myself backwards off the railings to the sounds of my mother crying laughing and the instructor running towards me to pull me out of the fence because I wasn’t able to get the skis out myself.

Queue the ultimate tantrum. But I persevered – my school trip was a success and inspired many more. I even moved to the mountains for 4 winters (running hotels) so I could ski more. I love skiing – but don’t ask me about snowboarding!”

So go on – you can ask:

What about the snowboarding??!

Despite my shaky start on skis – and some epic crashes: I sliced my head open with my ski once – whilst it was still attached to my foot! (which is no easy feat!) – But other than that I’ve *pretty much* always loved skiing. The same cannot be said for snowboarding.

Adventure Series Snowboarding

So here’s a sample crash.. on skis.. you couldn’t imagine the carnage on a snowboard!!

Running hotels in the French, Swiss and Austrian alps meant that I has the mountains on my doorstep and my ski time was good. Then my partner – who’s a snowboarder – convinced me to try snowboarding – I’d enjoy it he said.

Adverture Series Snowboard

For a start, the whole concept of having my feet effectively tied together was completely alien to me. I loved that I could schluss along on my skis, effectively like ice skating or roller-blading and so I was losing my temper with the snowboard before we even got to the slope. I can completely understand why snowboarders just take the damn thing off and walk! And then my partner took me to the baby slope with a button lift – they’re also really difficult when you can’t just swing the button between your knees and be dragged up the hill. And then you have to concentrate on keeping your body weight over one leg so that you don’t inadvertently change direction and end up off the track. There was just so many things to think about. Needless to say I failed pretty miserably at the button lift and consistently fell off. This wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t a million and one (or so it felt like) little European children (dressed like Maggie from the Simpsons in her snow suit!) flying past my on the lift without a care in the world – or shouting at me in French/Austrian to get out of their way. How embarrassing. *cringe*

 And this was only in the first 20 minutes.

Adventure Series Snowboard

Ah, pretty mountains.. remember the pretty mountains.. it’ll all be worth it…

I think in the end I stopped attempting the button lift and just walked up the hill. Very much stamping my feet – which is much easier in snowboard boots than ski boots! (not that I felt the need to stamp my feet when skiing often..)

Then came my first attempt at descent. Ouch. Ouch and Ouch. I fell forwards, I fell backwards, the base of my spine was not impressed at all and my wrists wondered what they had done to deserve this punishment. I got a cold butt from ending up in the snow so often and could easily understand why I saw so many wrist injuries each year from snowboarding.

 But I persevered. For about 2 hours. My partner was patient, helping me when I fell, showing my how to turn, how to stop – generally being all round awesome but I was so frustrated that I couldn’t do it that the whole episode nearly resulted in a break up. I was not a nice person on a snowboard. I eventually told him to go away (not politely) as I thought it might be better for me to try on my own, as if the frustration of my not being able to do it – and him watching me not be able to do it – would all go away if I was on my own.

Adventure Series Snowboard Sadly this was not the case. I maybe tried for another half an hour on my own and after I questioned for the 100th time why I wasting my time trying to snowboard when I could ski *perfectly * well, I fell over again. At this point I ripped off the snowboard and stomped back over the equipment shop. All I could hear in my head was Cartman (from SouthPark) declaring ‘screw you guys I’m going home.’ On returning my equipment I explained it just wasn’t for me, went home and put on my trusty skis and headed up the mountain. I was determined to have one good run that day.

 Sat on the chairlift all I could think was – God I love my ski’s. And my boots. And poles – do you know how awesome poles are?! I’m a skier – and I wouldn’t want to be anything else.

Adventure Series Snowboard

Look folks, we’re still friends!

Do you ski/snowboard? Have you tried to do one after being an *expert* at the other? Or are there any cross capable ski-boarders out there?

Let me know in the comments below!

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Adventure Series Snowboarding

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36 thoughts on “Snowboarding & My Date With Disaster

  1. Portia @ Migrant Muse says:

    Sorry to hear about your experience with snowboarding! I’m a skier too and while I admit I’m only okay, I think there’s way more flexibility on skis than a snowboard. I have yet to try snowboarding but feel like I’d have similar concerns haha. Thanks for sharing your story! Perhaps it’ll go better next time? 🙂

  2. Cynthia says:

    Great post! I really love your writing style! I always wanted to learn to snowboard but so far haven’t tried it yet. I miss the ski trips I use to go on with my school though!

  3. Lydiaclee says:

    My husband boards – I just can’t get motivated to try it for that very reason of not wanting to fall down again – while I’m not the worlds best skiier, it’s been years since I’ve had a stack…and I want to keep it that way…

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Lydiaclee, thanks for stopping by! I’m with you the whole way on the ski front – the boys can keep their boards to themselves! I’ve been mostly ‘stack-free’ for a few years now and hoping to keep it that way!
      Happy Travels 🙂

  4. Katrina says:

    I have all the feels for your snowboarding woes. I never grew up skiing (having five siblings made the price tag a bit much for my parents to afford), but enjoy going occasionally now. I attempted snowboarding once – under pressure from my roommate who was an avid boarder. Worst. Day. Ever. Couldn’t make it down the damn slope once without falling and/or nearly taking someone out along the way. I traded the board in for skis and a pole which salvaged the day. 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Katrina, thanks for stopping by! Boards are the absolute worst!! Glad you managed switch it out for some beautiful skis and poles – aren’t poles amazing?! Lol
      Happy Skiing 🙂

  5. Brooke of Passport Couture says:

    I started out as a skier as well and when I tried snowboarding, it didn’t bode well for me either. Just when I had gotten down the slope without falling and thinking I was doing well, I face planted and landed right in the snow. It was a very frustrating experience and I remember every inch of my body feeling sore the next day. I keep thinking I’ll try it again, but I’m not so certain about that . . .

  6. mark says:

    Being Australian It is crazy expensive to go skiing as you may know now living in Melbourne. It looks really cool though and i am sure like all sports the more you put into it the more you would get out of it. Have you been skiing in Australia yet ?

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Mark – TBH I’m a snow snob – having grown up in the UK and spent 4 winters in the European Alps – i’ve been too scared to ski in Australia in case it ruins my skis! We did go to NZ in 2014 though and that was ok. We’re hoping to get to Japan next!

  7. tammyonthemove says:

    I can ski (ish). Learned it as a child in my hometown’s ski slope, but I have never been on a big mountain. I have never tried snowboarding, only sandboarding down some very high and steep sand dunes. I was so scared that I ended up going down on my belly instead. 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Sandboarding on your belly sounds amazing!! I was meant to try sandboarding in Dubai on a 4×4 adventure – but they forgot the boards (doh!). I was so bummed – but if they had had them – belly would probably have been the way I would have gone anyway!

  8. Emma Hart | Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles says:

    I’m sorry Vicki but this post made me giggle 🙂 I snowboard and completely see where you’re coming from! It’s a difficult thing to master and I’m pretty sure I’d be as frustrated, if not more, if I gave skiing a go! At least you tried it though, however there’s no point wasting valuable time on the mountains if skiing is your thing 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Emma – I’m pleased it made you giggle and I can laugh about it now, but I was feral at the time! And you’re right about not wasting mountain time – ski’s all the way from now on! Happy Travels 🙂

  9. jason says:

    I have never tried skiing, much more snow boarding. It sure sounds tougher than I could imagine. Thank you for sharing your experience. Perhaps if ever I get the chance to be in a winter sport place, I’d try the skis first…

  10. [email protected](.net) says:

    Awesome post – So, one has to ask: Did you ever try it again? I’m a desert rat and don’t ski or snowboard, but I imagine it’s a lot like water skis versus surf boards. Can’t water ski to save my life, but surfing…well, at least I suck less at that. 😉 #WeekendWanderlust

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Rob – I have never picked up a snowboard again! I’ve been quite happy to stick with my skis after resolving there is no point wasting mountain time! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Travels 🙂

  11. Vlad says:

    I’ve never skied before and reading your post, probably -won’t- snowboard either and go for skiing instead, haha. I adore ice skating, do you think it would be easier for me to learn how to ski?

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Vlad, It takes a little while to get the hang of it – and you will fall down – but its worth it in the end! Happy Travels!

  12. Samiya selim says:

    I just tried skiing for the first time and absolutely loved it! Will definitely stick to that for years to come before I even attempt to try snowboarding. Good on you for trying even if it didn’t quite work out 🙂

  13. Anda says:

    Your post made me laugh because it reminded me of the time when my husband taught me to ski. It took weeks for me to learn and I wasn’t a very nice person either, believe me.

  14. shere says:

    I learnt to ski without lessons at the age of 26, so I know the frustration of falling over and over. At the end I managed it and a year later I even went with my colleagues to Austria. I felt so bad because everyone was a great skier, at least I had a colleague waiting for me and showing me how to descend the red piste. It took me the whole morning to get to the lunch spot. Ten years later I don’t think I’m going to try snowboarding, I prefer to spend the time in having a nice day rather than falling over and over 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Shere – I have been there – in my early days I got to the top of a very steep red in Courcheval and it must have been the slowest descent anyone has ever seen! I literally skied horizontally across the piste and made tiny turns at each end. It took me hours to get down! Luckily I was with my aunt and she waited with me and talked me down – the rest of the group we had to arrange to meet at a restaurant later! Oh the joys of learning to ski 🙂

  15. Beth @ Paces and Places says:

    I’ve skied since I was a young kiddo but never tried snowboarding. I’d have to imagine it would go about the same as your experience. It’s so much harder learning a skill as an adult, and even tougher when you’re used to getting down the mountain in a very different fashion. Maybe one of these days I’ll put my skis to the side and give boarding a shot…maybe…

    • Vicki says:

      Hats off to you if you do Beth! I’ll pick you up after a couple of hours and give you back your skis – and poles – because you underestimate how awesome poles are until you don’t have them 😉

  16. Tony says:

    I started snowboarding when I was forty and been doing it 18 years now, so anyone can do it!
    The main thing is to get lessons from day one and best not from your partner, who may be a good snowboarder but not good at teaching! Dont teach yourself! In one day you should master the basics and then slowly start the turns and build from there. Group snowboarding lessons cater to all levels of skill and are a fantastic way to learn.

  17. womenssnowboardings says:

    It is really a good experience. But, need more stamina to enjoy it. I am beginner of snowboarding and your activities is able to makes me impress. Can helps me with some snowboarding tips, please?

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