If you didn't learn to ski or snowboard as a child its too late to learn now right? Wrong. I've previously written about how much I love skiing and how I'd really recommend going on a ski trip if you haven't already been. After much thought about how easy it really is to pick up a new sport later in life I decided to test out my theory and see if I could learn to snowboard.
As much as I would love to have zipped off to Switzerland for the weekend instead I found myself in Hemel Hempstead at 8am on a Saturday morning for my first lesson. Just to put things into context although I love being active and trying new things I am not someone who easily picks up every new sport they try. (If you've seen me play tennis you'll know what I'm talking about). What I lack in skill I make up in enthusiasm by the bucket load. So after an initial panic when I arrived that I would be shown up by a group of 7 year olds I got myself ready for my accelerated beginners snowboarding lesson.
Boots, a board and a helmet all come as part of the package and at 8:25 I was nervous but ready. Within seconds of meeting my instructor and the rest of the group we were all made to feel at ease as our instructor confirmed no-one had snowboarded before. None of us knew how to put our boards on or what foot we wanted to lead with (or even what that meant) and so we all began together right from the beginning.
Learning something new and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone won't be everyone's favourite way to spend a Saturday morning. However, if you can give yourself that little nudge the rewards are huge. I had the most fun ever. Within an hour I was going down the slope unassisted. Again, just to add a bit of clarity, although I felt like Jenny Jones I was on the beginner slope going very slowly but I could do it and I wasn't embarrassing myself being completely terrible, in fact the pictures show just how much I was enjoying it.
There were lots of different skills to learn and that was one part of it I loved. It was a new mental task to get my head around the new terminology and what I was trying to make my body do but that's something I love about sports.
If you haven't been to the Snow Centre before then I would highly recommend giving it a try. It's not just for beginners they've got a piste where you can refresh your skills if you haven't skied for a while or work on your jumps. Having grown-up in Sheffield where I learnt to ski on matting I was impressed by the artificial snow. I loved all of the prints of mountain images of Valais, Switzerland and the motivational quotes from Snow & Rock around the entrance.
I was in an adult only group of just 5 of us and all of my group said how pleased they were that they'd booked in for the accelerated course before heading off to the mountains. We all still had a lot left to learn and master but we knew the basics and we knew that it didn't hurt when you feel over, which I did plenty of. Once you've finished your lesson there's a great café/bar upstairs with a balcony looking out onto the slopes. Or if you're heading off to the mountains soon be sure to pop into Snow & Rock and grab all of your final ski essentials.
I know the big question you all want to know the answer to is am I the next Aimee Fuller?! Probably not but I did find something I really enjoyed and I can't wait to try snowboarding on real snow! A huge thanks to the Snow Centre for giving me a chance to try something new.