SNOWBOARDING FOR GROWN UPS OR ADULTS
"Adult snowboarder." Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Isn't snowboarding a sport for rebellious teenagers with dyed hair and pierced body parts, dressed in tee shirts and elephant-sized pants and performing impossible half-pipe tricks? Some hard core skiers and skeptics may be surprised to learn that the answer to both of these questions is emphatically "No."
True, the punk stereotype is what most people outside of the sport associate with the term "snowboarder." However, while young people dominate in terms of numbers, they are not the entire picture and are in fact newcomers to the sport. There were "old-school" and "alpine" riders before snowboarding became a popular fad, attracting this "new-school" from a skateboarding and street background.
Old-school pioneers have been snowboarding since the days when few, if any, ski areas allowed boards - ten, fifteen, or more years ago. Some, but not all, have prior skiing experience. In general, they don't limit themselves to the half-pipe like most newcomers do. They, like skiers, use the entire mountain, preferring powder, backcountry, steeps, chutes, and cliffs while riding free-riding boards with soft boots. And, as their name implies, they are no longer children.
Alpine riders are a small minority, with many of them being current or former skiers. They rarely, if ever, ride the half-pipe and prefer to speed down groomed trails, slicing deep ruts into the snow. They don't skid sideways or sit in groups in the middle of the trail. They occupy a misunderstood middle ground, with traditional ski-looking clothing, often a helmet, hard shelled boots, and stiff, narrow, directional carving boards: scorned as "skiers" by the new-school, but shunned as "snowboarders" by two plank die-hards. This group attracts the majority of "grownups" from the over-35, baby boomer generation.
Consider the following profile. You're a baby boomer who's been skiing since you were a child. You have the ability and experience to ski almost anywhere on the mountain. But, let's face it, your knees can't take the pounding of those moguls any longer; two or three runs in the bumps will deplete your energy for the rest of the day. And you're becoming more cautious, if not a little nervous, on those steep chutes you used to rip down with abandon. You prefer rapid cruising on Giant Slalom boards to groomed corduroy at your age. To be honest, after 20 or 30 years on skis, much of the challenge and a healthy dose of the thrill have worn off.
You've probably seen alpine snowboarders linking graceful, surgically carved turns that, as a matter of physics, are simply not possible on skis while riding the lifts above them. These riders can slide their hips, knees, or entire body across the snow as they cleave crisp, perfect arcs, rather than just drag their knuckles. Despite your resistance, they have piqued your interest. You may have even tried those "parabolic," "shaped," or "super-side cut" skis that are so popular these days. However, while they approximate a true carved turn better than your traditional shaped skis, they are pale imitations of an alpine snowboard.
The difference is analogous to water skiing: no matter how skilled a skier is on two planks, he or she will not be able to change direction as quickly and precisely, or achieve the edge and body angles that are possible with both feet mounted on a single surface, one behind the other.
So you've been persuaded to try snowboarding, and you've realized that this doesn't require you to pierce your ears, buy outlandish new clothing, or undergo a mid-life crisis. What should you do next?
Before purchasing equipment, I recommend that new snowboarders rent or demo both boots and boards. The snowboarding learning curve begins slowly and then quickly accelerates; needs and tastes will change dramatically in a short period of time. Renting a variety of different boots and boards while learning is both educational and cost effective.
The first board should be a symmetrical all-mountain "free-riding" board measuring between 135 and 160 cm in length, depending on the rider's size. It is not a good idea to borrow your friend's stiff, unforgiving racing board with the bindings mounted at a 60-degree angle, or your daughter's soft, tiny twin-tip freestyle board with the bindings mounted "duck stance" (both feet angled outward). Rely on a knowledgeable shop tech to fit the proper boots, board, and bindings, as well as adjust stance width and angles, to suit your personal needs based on age, height, weight, strength, and ability.
When choosing boots and boards, a critical decision must be made: which foot forward? Some new riders have already participated in similar sports such as water skiing, surfing, or skate boarding. If you're not sure which leg is dominant, try the following exercise: start running and slide across a linoleum floor in your stocking feet. In most cases, one leg is instinctively thrust forward for balance, while the stronger leg remains behind for support. This should determine your snowboard stance accurately.
Lessons, as with most new endeavors, are highly recommended. Taking the ski lift to the top of the mountain cold turkey is not. Prepare for a humbling experience your first time out, no matter how coordinated, strong, or balanced you are. Expect some face and fanny plants, as well as bruises and sore muscles. Some beginners even wear protective padding on their wrists, knees, elbows, and back; in-line skating equipment is effective. Competent, experienced instruction will reduce the struggle and speed up the transition from tumbling to turning. Adult snowboard lessons, such as the Delaney Snowboard Camp, are increasingly available at most resorts, assisting the mature set in making the learning process successful and enjoyable.
The baptism by fire that a new snowboarder goes through is usually brief. When the learning curves of skiing and snowboarding are compared, it is said that "skiing is easy to learn and difficult to master, while snowboarding is difficult to learn and easy to master." The ability to turn in both directions to control the rate of descent is the first task in both sports. This is usually accomplished more quickly on skis, where balance is easier to maintain with two legs moving independently rather than being attached to one surface simultaneously. However, once turning is mastered, the transition from awkward novice to steady intermediate to confident expert is significantly faster on a snowboard. It is not uncommon to progress from a state of floundering.
Finally, some remarks on injuries. Beginner snowboarders are more likely to sustain upper-body injuries, such as thumbs, wrists, elbows, and shoulders, which absorb much of the forces in falls. Soft boot riders are also prone to ankle and foot injuries. Caution and common sense, as well as the use of protective guards and pads, should help to reduce their occurrence during the learning phase. Once past the beginner stage, the rate of snowboarding injuries drops dramatically, and the likelihood of knee injuries is much lower than for skiers. Having both feet attached to the same board with bindings that are specifically designed not to release prevents the independent twisting of the legs and torsional stress that is associated with knee ligament injuries that are common in skiing.
So, to all of you grownups, adults, and senior citizens: be daring, be bold, and be outrageous. Follow your kids on a snowboard to your favorite resort on your next visit. You will not be let down.
Benefits of Snowboarding for Grown-ups
Snowboarding for grown-ups offers a wide range of benefits that go beyond just physical fitness. In addition to providing a great workout, snowboarding can also have positive effects on mental health, social life, and personal development.
One of the most significant benefits of snowboarding for grown-ups is the positive impact it has on mental health. Being out in nature and experiencing the thrill of riding down the mountain can reduce stress and anxiety, and improve mood. It can also provide a sense of achievement and confidence, as individuals conquer their fears and learn new skills.
Snowboarding also offers opportunities for social interaction and connection with others. It is a social sport that can be enjoyed with friends and family, and provides an opportunity to meet new people who share similar interests. Participating in snowboarding events, competitions, or group lessons can help individuals build a sense of community and belonging.
Moreover, snowboarding can also promote personal development and self-improvement. As individuals learn new skills and conquer their fears, they build confidence and self-esteem. Snowboarding requires a lot of perseverance and dedication, which can translate into other areas of life, such as work and personal relationships.
Finally, snowboarding for grown-ups can also provide an escape from the monotony of daily life. It offers a chance to unplug from technology and immerse oneself in the beauty of nature. The fresh air and peaceful surroundings can help individuals clear their minds and gain a new perspective on life
Snowboarding Safety Tips for Grown-ups
Snowboarding is an exciting winter sport that can provide a thrilling experience for grown-ups. However, it's crucial to prioritize safety when hitting the slopes to prevent injuries. Here are some tips to help you stay safe while enjoying snowboarding:
- Wear Appropriate Gear: It's essential to wear the right gear to protect yourself while snowboarding. Wear a helmet, goggles, gloves, and other protective gear to prevent head injuries, frostbite, and other accidents. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear layers of clothing to stay warm and dry.
- Check the Weather Conditions: Before heading out to snowboard, check the weather conditions and slope reports. Avoid going out in severe weather conditions like heavy snowfall or strong winds. If the conditions are not favorable, it's best to stay indoors and wait for the weather to improve.
- Stay Hydrated: Snowboarding can be a physically demanding activity that can cause dehydration. It's crucial to drink plenty of water and other hydrating beverages to keep yourself hydrated. Take breaks as needed to rest and recharge.
- Know Your Limits: Knowing your skill level is crucial when snowboarding. Don't attempt to ride down slopes that are too difficult for your skill level or try to perform tricks beyond your abilities. Push yourself, but not beyond your limits.
- Respect Other Snowboarders: When on the mountain, show respect for other snowboarders. Follow the rules of the mountain, and avoid cutting in front of others or engaging in risky behavior that could put others in danger.
By following these safety tips, you can enjoy snowboarding while minimizing the risk of injury. Always remember to prioritize safety and have fun on the slopes!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 21 too late to start snowboarding?
No, it's never too late to start snowboarding. Many people begin snowboarding in their twenties and beyond. With practice and dedication, you can learn to snowboard at any age.
Can I learn snowboarding at 25?
Yes, absolutely! You can start learning to snowboard at any age, including 25. It's never too late to try something new and exciting.
What age is good for snowboarding?
There is no specific age that is ideal for snowboarding. Children as young as three or four can learn to snowboard, while others begin in their teens or adulthood. It's best to start when you feel ready and excited about trying this fun winter sport.
Can older people learn to snowboard?
Yes, older people can learn to snowboard. While age may affect physical abilities, it's still possible to learn the basics and enjoy snowboarding. If you have any medical conditions or concerns, it's best to consult with a doctor before trying snowboarding.
Is snowboarding hard for tall people?
Snowboarding can be challenging for people of all heights, but being tall does not necessarily make it harder. Taller people may face some unique challenges, such as finding gear that fits comfortably, but with the right equipment and techniques, they can enjoy snowboarding like anyone else.
How do I get over my fear of snowboarding?
Getting over the fear of snowboarding can be challenging, but taking lessons from a qualified instructor can help. They can teach you proper techniques, help you build confidence, and provide support and encouragement. Starting on small, gentle slopes and gradually working your way up can also help alleviate fear.
What should I wear when snowboarding as a grown-up?
When snowboarding as a grown-up, it's essential to wear the right gear, including a helmet, goggles, gloves, and protective clothing. Dress in layers to stay warm and dry, and wear boots that fit comfortably and provide good support.
What are the best places to snowboard for grown-ups?
The best places to snowboard for grown-ups depend on personal preferences, but some popular destinations include Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Chamonix in France, and Niseko in Japan. It's best to research different locations and choose one that fits your skill level and interests.
How long does it take to become good at snowboarding?
The time it takes to become good at snowboarding varies from person to person. Some people can pick up the basics in a few days, while others may take weeks or months to feel comfortable on the slopes. Consistent practice and taking lessons can help you progress faster.
Can snowboarding be dangerous for grown-ups?
Snowboarding can be dangerous if proper safety precautions are not taken. Grown-ups should always wear appropriate protective gear, follow the rules of the mountain, and stay within their skill level. By prioritizing safety and being aware of potential risks, you can minimize the danger and enjoy snowboarding to the fullest.