Do you ever see other people trying new sports and you think to yourself any of the following:
How do they make it look so easy?
I wish I started that sport when I was younger
I definitely would hurt myself if I tried that
Well, you're not alone!
I've lived in Colorado for almost 8 years and I have only started getting into winter sports recently. When I tell people I live in Denver, they normally ask the same questions, along the lines of,
Do you backpack/hike?
Is your car a Subaru?
Do you ski or snowboard?
How's the food in Colorado?
Coming from Southern California, I've had my fair share of good food and we do have some pretty nice hiking trails, but the ski and snowboard resorts are pretty far from LA and Orange County. And while I don't own a Suburu (or any vehicle, bikes all the way), since moving to Denver, I have always had to respond with "no, I never got into winter sports," or "it seems like a steep learning curve," or "it's a pretty expensive activity to get into." Well, last year I wanted to change that.
01 Starting is the hardest part
I think of Woody Allen's quote, "Eighty percent of success is showing up," a lot. Starting something new, in general, is very intimidating. Even starting to start something new is hard. Where does one even begin? Is there anyone you know that you can contact to get an idea of what to expect? There are so many blogs, how-to videos, and just general information on the internet, just thinking about it is overwhelming.
Something I do to ease some worry is to actually ignore the big picture, forget about the actual goal of learning something new and think about my day-to-day life. I consider myself as an active person, I'm on Strava every day, uploading my walks, runs, hikes, rides, and when I scroll through my feed, I'm inspired by my followers/friends who are out doing other sports, such as snowboarding. I see the cool places they visit, the photos they post, and the routes they create and it inspires me. It makes me want to try some of these sports and that's one thing I like about Strava. It shows that everyday people are doing everyday things, and in my case, it's snowboarding. If they can do it, why can't I? People motivate people.
One of Strava's new features: 3D Winter Maps
Elevation profile of a snowboarding activity
02 It's ok to fail, I mean fall, I guess fail, I guess both?
I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed - Michael Jordan.
When you get older, in some way, you think you're supposed to be good at things naturally. As they say, the older you are, the wiser you get, and you can learn things easier because you have more experience than when you were in your adolescence. This definitely was not the case while learning how to snowboard. The first time I went down the mountain I fell multiple times, on my hands and knees, my bottom, and even hitting my head a couple of times (wear your helmet!). By the end of my first run, I was over it. The mistake I made was that I believed I was fit enough to correct myself on the board. That proved not to be the case as I was using muscles that I normally do not use, resulting in slow reflexes and quicker fatigue. The lesson here is that you will fall, and it may (probably) hurt, the question I neglected to ask myself was if I was ready for that.
Taking a break after a fall and enjoying the view
03 Ask for help
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together - African Proverb
The first couple of times on the mountain, I went with friends and they offered to teach me. I obliged to save some money but I quickly learned that taking a lesson was what I needed to do. I was able to successfully get off the lift and "feather" down the mountain but that wasn't the most efficient, and most comfortable method, as I would be putting either my quads or hamstrings through a workout. The correct way of "carving" down the mountain was what I needed to learn as this would have me alternating between hamstrings and quads (heel edge to toe edge), letting the snowboard do the work for me.
I decided to take a beginner's lesson on a future date and it paid dividends as the teacher was able to show the different movements to do, and what leg to put weight on when transitioning from toe edge to heel edge and vice versa. After one lesson, I was able to successfully carve down the mountain by taking very wide turns (think of it like a big letter S down a mountain run). I knew I had to continue to practice in order to get my transitions tighter (think skinny S down a run), and the only way was to keep going.
Repeat runs after my first lesson
snowboarding with friends
04 Enjoy the journey Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination - Drake
Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. Find a community in the things you like to do. You never know what new experiences you might get yourself into or the people you may meet. Getting more comfortable with anything new is always a process and takes time. Sometimes it isn't always about getting to the destination, and in my case with snowboarding, I'm still on that journey. As with any sport, many of us are doing it not to become a professional and get paid for it, but we do it because it makes us feel good, it makes us feel alive. Sooo. why not give it a try? See you on the slopes!
Are there any new sports or activities that you're yearning to try? If so, comment below!
Successfully carving down the mountain (and enjoying it!)
Navi's most recent snowboarding activity
For more information on Strava's 3D maps, click here. For our latest news on Strava's maps, check out our Strava Club post, here.
Navi is part of our mighty support team. His preferred activity type is running but he has more recently gotten into cycling, and now snowboarding. In his free time, Navi likes to travel, take photos, and try foods from different cultures. He'll be traveling to Patagonia soon and will submit a new article about finding routes while traveling as well as tips on mobile photography while out on a hike/run/ride. #staytuned