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Snowboarding Isn’t Just For Kids Anymore
Pain and injury avoidance techniques for snowboarding are invaluable but not well known. If you know how, you can avoid the two biggest mistakes that first time snowboarders make. A positive experience your first few times out will make you more likely to stick out the hard times until you learn enough to really have fun!
“There’s no reason that adults shouldn’t snowboard and have as much fun as kids” says self-proclaimed Snowboard Evangelist Lauren Traub Teton who admits to being “in her 40s”. “I have been riding a snowboard for four years, and am having the most fun of my life!”
She feels that the only thing stopping “oldsters” (in their mid-30s and up) from embracing snowboarding in a big way are the inevitable hard falls experienced during the short steep learning curve. She says “there are easy ways to avoid the pain. They are just not well known.”
The reason “snowboard pain avoidance” is not more widely discussed has to do with the history of snowboarding. To some snowboarders, pain and injury are cool. This is obvious if you the read the hundreds of war stories on snowboard websites.
This viewpoint has its roots in the fact that snowboarding is stylistically a descendant of skateboarding and embraces some of the same traditions. For example, doing a grab, where the rider reaches down and grabs the board while airborne, is more of a necessity in skating than in snowboarding, because the skateboard is not attached to the feet. But grabs have morphed into a popular trick and a way to show style in snowboarding too.
The other tradition that has carried over from skating is the tradition of pain. In skateboarding, injury from accidental impact with the hard ground is a common occurrence and gives a skater bragging rights (as well as bruises and breaks.). A lot of skaters are also snowboarders, and so the tradition of absorbing pain as part of “paying dues” remains.
Another factor keeping some adults away from snowboarding may be the reputation for wildness on the slopes that snowboarders have. That probably comes from the fact that when the equipment was first invented, it was technologically primitive, with little ability to steer or stop. That’s how snowboarding got its image as an extreme sport and snowboarders got their reputation as outlaws of the snow. Now snowboards have evolved technologically into precision devices that can turn and stop easily, when operated under control.
With older snowboarders hitting the slopes, the culture of injury and pain has outlived it’s origins. Adults don’t equate injuries with status. People who start riding as adults want to stay upright and uninjured. Some skiers switch over because it seems like more fun and less stress on the knees. Again, the goal is to stay whole!
I learned by trial, error and luck how to avoid injury. In fact, a fine young gentleman working at the guest services desk on Whistler Mountain (B.C.) offered to let me borrow his Rollerblade wrist guards and knee pads, one day when I was learning, and I was hooked on safety and comfort from that moment.
Don’t make the two biggest mistakes new snowboarders often make when you do decide to take up this wonderful sport. To be safe, comfortable, and happy, you MUST
1. Take a lesson given by a professional your first time out.
2. You MUST wear padding, on your knees, butt, and wrists.
Come now, why try to reinvent the wheel? If you want to learn to snowboard, then a snowboard lesson with a trained instructor will teach you IMPORTANT basic snowboarding skills that you will use every day for the rest of your riding life.
So learn them right, right from the start. Forget about teaching yourself how to get on and off a lift safely on a board. This is what teachers are for.
And the padding is a must because falling is an inevitable part of the learning process. You WILL fall at first. But if you are padded properly, you will not have to hurt yourself. And don’t chuck the padding once you have mastered the basics. You will need it when you progress to jumping and tricks!
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