We’ve been here for 12 days now, 11 of which were spent snowboarding both mountains. The days would usually (traditionally) start with the Whistler Village Gondola – quite a long ride all the way up to Roundhouse during which we would take time to adjust our boots or have a little extra nap. The slopes are getting quieter now as Christmas holidays are over, so we can see the difference with the lift lines all over the mountain. Even if we’d usually start the days in Whistler mountain, lately we started spending more and more time on the Blackcomb side, too. It actually often depends on the position of the sun in the morning and afternoon. The lifts here close pretty early – most of them are shut at 3pm, so by 3.30pm we’re usually back in the village – again, this must be due to the fact where the sun is placed in the midst of the winter – by end of January the opening hours will extend a tiny bit! Because of the fact the snowboarding days are shorter here, we started bringing our own little sandwiches to avoid a lengthily lunch hour.
We must have lapped Emerald chair a thousand times by now. It’s not because we always go on the same run, it’s because one lift would serve several runs – it’s pretty easy to learn the Mountain Atlas and remember which run leads to which lift. The terrain is really snowboard friendly all over, with the natural rollers and side hits which don’t get unnoticed by Arran. Just a few of the positives which make this resort so appealing.
This week we’ve been to see Blackcomb Glacier – a T-Bar and a little hike up but what a ride down! Can’t wait to visit it once it’s snowed again! The glacier itself had a little faded sign do not enter which us and everyone else simply pretended not to notice 😉
So, let’s talk Snowboarding!
I really want to bring a few new skills/tricks home after this season:
- to ride switch effortlessly
- to do Frontside 180’s. Or Backside 180’s. Whichever happens to seem easier!
- to be comfortable on the box and make my Boardslides smooth
- to get air in my jumps
To start with, I’ll quickly explain what switch riding is. Usually my stance is regular – meaning that when I stand sideways my left foot is the leading one. Switch simply means riding on your unnatural side – in my case, riding switch is riding with my right food in front. So, a quick update – my switch is getting better and better almost each time I try it (I noticed that if I’m feeling tired, my riding isn’t as smooth and good looking as I like it to be, so these are the times I don’t tend even to try riding switch) – I’ve got a few runs on Whistler mountain that I call my switch runs – I force myself do it every time I’m on them. And it’s definitely helping! I noticed that the Easy Out on the Blackcomb is a very nice mellow run for trying stuff out! So my switch there was the best so far!!
180’s. They haven’t happened to me yet. In a few words, 180 means you turn your body 180 degrees while riding down or doing a jump – so let’s say I’m riding down regular (with my left foot forward) and now I quickly twist my body to the left or right and I am now riding the same hill down but with a different foot forward. Sounds so easy but I don’t find it easy to do yet… Mainly I think it’s the fear that stops me from doing it. I know the task in my head but once it comes to doing it, I cannot fully commit and just back out. I see others do them all the time but when it comes to my own self, I just lack confidence. Today Arran showed me a few little tips on how to start easing into twisting the body to do a 180 – I caught the edge a few times or simply stopped my rotation midway, but I think it’s a good start. What’s also good is that I’m happier and happier with my switch! Watch this space.
Boardslide on the box. Just started working on them at the Terrain Garden Park in Blackcomb – this park is so tiny with only two kickers, two boxes and one rainbow box that it makes it less intimidating for me to try. It’s not bad to hike back up after trying the trick on the top box either. I’ll be back there!
Air. I’m trying to introduce little airs whenever I’m feeling comfortable approaching a roller on a slope, I might still look very funny but I’m trying and I guess this is already a good start that I’m pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Can’t wait for that constant nice POP!
I’m looking forward to seeing my progress by the end of the season! Hopefully it’ll be on film so that I can share it, too!