I learned to snowboard on a 1995 Summer vacation to Norway (in Stryn). Since then I picked some tips and accumulated wisdom, which I’ll add to this post from time to time.
During off season
- When snowboarding, a lot of time will be spent on edges, crouching, and using your knees as shock-absorbers. All these actions use muscle groups which are not usually used in daily life. So, try to exercise them in the off season.
- Shop for clothing (socks, base layers, fleece jackets) and replaceable equipment (sky-goggles, gloves) off-season. These are “perishables” that needs to be re-purchased, and there’s no need to pay full (mid-season) price.
Few days before hitting the slopes
- Cut your toe-nails. When going to fowrard edge, a lot of pressure is put on your toes, and if your toenails are long, by midday your feet will give you an ultimatum to quite the slopes!
- Check all screws/bolts on the bindings (and tighten when necessary). Check all clothing articles and everything else you plan on bringing. In case something needs fixing/replacing - you have a few days to do it.
On first day of snowboarding
- No wisdom yet.
On a snowboarding day
- Do stretching exercises before hitting the slopes in the morning and after a long break: neck, shoulders, core, knees, feet.
- Use a halmet: it’s amazing how much more safe you feel when you now that if something unexpected happens, at least your head is safer.
- Use a leash, and when putting on your board, make it a habit to first put the leash on before getting to the bindings.
- Tighten all screws/bolts on the bindings.
- Before going on a chair-lift:
Take off your backpack, and carry it in your hand.
Unbind your back foot.
- Have a kit in your backpack that includes:
water bottle (preferably made of non-breakable material), sun-screen, lip-balm, few pieces of soft tissue, some high-energy snacks (e.g., chocolate). A small screwdriver with bit for your bindings’ screws/bolts, Spare bindings screw/washer. Wire-lock for your snowboard (when you have to leave it outside).
What to take to the slopes
- Dress in as many layers as it’s practical. It’s better to have three layers of clothing that gives the same heat as one layer. This way if you start feeling hot, or the Sun suddenly comes out of the clouds, you could take off layers as necessary.
- Have a comfortable backpack in which could be put clothing layers you currently don’t use.
All layers should be of a wicking material. Nothing is worse than cloths that retain sweat which will gradually get colder and colder. The outer layer should be also wind-resistant (I try to put my money in Gortex).
- If you want your own wisdom incorporated in this blog, please comment.
- I freeride so naturally some of these tips may not be applicable to freestyle boarders who spend most of their time in the park.
Many northern hemisphere ski resorts already closed for the season at Easter and are currently missing out on a return of winter-like conditions. The mountains of western and central Europe, as well as large parts of North America, including west coast areas that had a poor winter snow season are all seeing fresh snow.
Kudos to resorts like Cairngorm who have re-opened for skiing after a long period without enough snow. We don’t provide very long-range forecasts, but some meteorologists that do are now suggesting that Arctic winds across Western Europe will make the month of May the coldest in the last 100 years.
Our 9-day forecast confirms that unseasonal Alpine snowfalls will continue for at least another week, with some Swiss resorts seeing over half a metre of fresh snow in the next few days, accompanied by low freezing levels more typical of mid-February than late April.
Last Week, the Hermon Mountain was blessed with heavy snow fall, so much so that Neve Ativ, the people who operate the ski-site could not make the site ready on Monday, and the site was opened only on Tuesday, thus rendering all that awesome powder into ice overnight.
Finally, we’re on the lift, with white stuff all around:
After a few hours snowboarding, we went down to the base lift station, for lunch:
So, there’s snow in Israel.
Snowboarders of the world - take note: if you want to snowboard in the morning and still have stamina to surf in the afternoon on nearby Sea of Galilee - that’s the place!
Photograph by Kurt Müller, Zermatt Tourismus
Best For: Photographers with a taste for old-world culture and never-ending descents
Switzerland is a country of classic ski towns, but Zermatt is its crown jewel. To many, it is the world’s ultimate ski resort. Though surrounded by several glacier-clad peaks, everything here—the town, the skiing, the sky—is dominated by the spiking pyramid of the mighty Matterhorn, one of the most distinctive mountains on Earth. The village itself allows only electric cars (you arrive by rail), and luxury hotels sit side by side with centuries-old wooden barns. Streets are narrow and cobbled; restaurants are abundant and expensive. It’s everything you imagine a Swiss ski village to be.
Zermatt offers three interconnected Swiss skiing zones, each with its own cluster of lifts and all skiable with a single ticket and accessible directly from town. There are also two ski zones just across the Italian border. The scenery is unrelentingly stunning but the skiing and snowboarding is even more so, with vertical drops of up to 7,152 feet on terrain that varies from never-ending cruisers to north-facing powder runs. The more than 50 on-mountain restaurants are among the finest anywhere, and taking time for a relaxed lunch is de rigueur.
Don’t miss the ride on the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise cable car—the highest in the Alps—on which you can descend 12 miles into the Italian area of Cervinia (joint lift tickets available), where a midday meal costs half the price you’d pay in Switzerland.
Ask a Local
Longtime Zermatt resident Amadé Perrig is a former ski racer and instructor and the retired CEO of Zermatt Resort. He has climbed the Matterhorn more than 20 times. Here are his recommendations.
Budget: Hotel Bahnhof is a simple, low-budget hotel that is well known by climbers.
Swank: The Mont Cervin Palace is an old, classic, five-star hotel.
Cheap: Walliserkanne has a really good low-budget menu.
Gourmet: Try Chez Heini for high-quality lamb in the company of celebrities.
Best After-Ski Party Spot
Unique Hotel Post Zermatt has five bars, including one with live music.
Best Rest-Day Activity
Visit the Matterhorn Museum to learn about the history of the mountain, the first ascent, and more.
Zermatt’s Classic Ski Run
“National, it’s very steep and you can carve,” says Perrig.
A rather surprising fact I discovered while checking the Exercise & Activity Calculator: four hours of downhill moderate effort Skiing, burns only calories 1,776.00.
I thought: shame the calculator doesn’t have a snowboarding calculation section.
Then, I remembered that that’s the Internet of the 21st century - surly there’s a calculator that does include snowboarding.
So, I fired up a Google search, which gave me there calculators for snowboarding:
self.com seems to be geared only towards women.
sparkpeople.com seems to be geared towards North Americans only (they only calculate in pounds).
But glamour.com gave me the answer:
You burn 1864.8 calories during 240 minutes of Snowboarding.
So, even though it’s a bit more strenuous than skiing, still not much of an excersise.
But then, who goes snowboarding for the exercise?!
Skiers and snowboarders of the future are going to be pretty close to cyborgs. Over the years, we’ve seen such wearable electronics as heated clothing, cell phone-compatible ski gloves and camera-equipped goggles. We’ve also seen the Recon Instruments goggles, which use a small heads-up display so that you can view your speed, vertical and other ego-inflating (or deflating) stats.
Skiers that wear any combination of those things are already skating close to the man-machine fulcrum, and now we have a new upcoming technology that combines two existing ski electronics into one seamless system - machine is starting to take over. Recon Instruments and Contour announced a partnership that will turn Recon’s goggle-mounted display into a viewfinder for Contour action cams.
The companies must have used up all their time on tech, because the name they came up with is downright clunky. Contour Camera Connectivity App for MOD Live, as the kids are calling it, is an app for the Recon Instruments Mod Live device, which launched earlier this winter. After downloading the free app, Contour + and ContourGPS cameras will sync with the MOD Live device via Bluetooth and turn it into a viewfinder. Skiers will be able to line up shots without ever removing their goggles. They’ll also be able to view battery life and remaining storage space and control camera settings in real time.
Future self-made action film stars beware, though: your footage will only be as good as your skiing, and if you’re paying more attention to your in-goggle display than the ground ahead of you, it won’t be pretty. Aim Fuel TV, not Fail Blog.
Of course, the Recon + Contour technology won’t come cheap, particularly if you don’t own any of the necessary devices. MOD Live is the more expensive of Recon’s two add-on systems. It retails for US$399.99 - and that’s just for the device, you’ll have to purchase “Recon Ready” goggles to attach it to. Goggles are available from an increasing number of mainstream manufacturers that currently includes Uvex and Briko. Recon recently announced that it will add Scott and Smith next season.
After spending $550 or so on Recon-equipped goggles, you’ll still need the camera. And, guess what - the Contour + and ContourGPS are two of Contour’s most expensive models. The ContourGPS is the bargain of the two at $300. The Contour + will run you $500. Not only will you look like a cyborg, you’ll cost nearly as much as developing one.
At least the app is free. It will be available in the “coming weeks” from HQOnline.reconinstruments.com.
IPhone users will soon join Android users in enjoying MOD Live compatibility. Recon plans to make Mod Live compatible with the iPhone 4S by next ski season.
Police Brutality? of the Day: Police in Roosevelt, Utah, are conducting an internal investigation to determine whether officers overreacted when they pepper-sprayed a group of Polynesian youths who were performing a traditional Haka dance.
The incident occurred at football game between rivals Uintah High and Union High — the final game of a winless season for both. After Union lost, a group of 15 Polynesian spectators sought to cheer the team up by performing the Haka.
According to witnesses, police officers asked the group to back away from the exit, even as coaches, players, and other fans were asking to allow them to finish. After repeating the request a few times, officers began spraying the crowd with Mace, and, according to one witness, striking the performers with police batons. “It was continual spraying and spraying,” said a women identified as Breana.
The Desert News says the Union fans doing the Haka had traveled to Roosevelt from the Wasatch Front to watch a relative play in the game.
These policemen probably never left their hometown, and never saw NZ play a rugby game, or saw a movie of the the ANZAC worriers before going to battle. So, it it a wander they don’t know what a Haka dance is?