Posted by: TomA | 23 January 2007

Snowboarding

On Saturday, Becky and I undertook what most of you would probably assume to be a most unlikely pursuit for us: snowboarding. That said, there seem to be very few people in Vancouver that don’t participate in some form of winter sports, be it skiing, snowboarding, showshoeing, tubing, etc. With three ideal mountains all less than half an hour on the bus from downtown Vancouver, and Whistler only a few hours away it’s easy to see why; particularly in contrast to the expense and lack of snow in Europe.

Snowboarding was something of a last minute decision – we had thought of learning to ski until Becky’s friends persuaded us otherwise, saying although boarding is more difficult to start, once you can do it there’s much more fun to be had with it.

Cypress Mountain itself is gorgeous. The bus ride up was spectacular enough, as more and more snow started to engulf the trees beside the road and framing awesome views over the water and towards the mainland. The base itself was much nicer than Grouse Mountain, lacking the huge queues and Starbucks.

Once we were kitted up in our boarding gear, we met a small group for a beginners lesson. The initial fears of having your feet strapped to a board and the terrifying amount of momentum even a small hill brings were slowly overcome. The worst bit of being in a group is having everyone else watch you try and do something for the first time – be it stand on the board and try and stop without landing on your arse (which we all did, many, many times) or descending the tiny practise slope backwards.

Once we’d got the hang of it though, it was amazing. It’s ridiculously fun going down even the Bunny Hill at low speed. Becky seemed to have the worse luck – she’d be on a good run down the mountain and then get clattered by some woman on skis half way down.

We’re going next week for the second of our 5 lessons – there’ll be proper photos this time hopefully. Even though I’ve only spent 6 hours or so on a snowboard, I can tell I’m hooked. It’s going to be somewhat tough next year when they aren’t slopes so close…

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