As I have mentioned in my previous blog posts, this winter has been very special here in Poland. We’ve had a lot of snow, and I am surprisingly in no hurry for spring to arrive. 😉 This winter I also got into some winter sports that I had never tried before: I tried skiing for the first time in Slovakia last December and it didn’t go well at all. You can find my brief recount of that here. I have no intentions of trying skiing again because it was painful, uncomfortable and just not fun.:( No offense to people who enjoy skiing, I just quickly realized it’s not my thing!
My boyfriend pleaded me to give snowboarding a try however, so I thought I might as well. He recently got into snowboarding and has been passionate about it. While on the previous winters, we the people living in Central (and Northen) Poland had to travel down south to the mountains for these winter sports, this year due to a lot of snow, a small hill about 1 hour drive from Lodz has opened up for skiing and snowboarding again. The hill is perfect for beginners like me, unlike the Low Tatras in Slovakia which I think had too steep slopes for beginners.
My snowboarding adventure started a couple of weeks ago. On the first day, I took 2-hours class from an instructor who showed me a few basics, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the lesson. I had big problems getting up from falls and when I asked him the ways to get up, he said it should just come naturally. Oh well. By the end of 3-4 hours on the first day, I was able to snowboard for a bit, brake and change directions. The biggest problem was getting up from a fall. At one point I was down on the snow for 15 minutes until somebody gave me a hand because I just couldn’t get up. I was told by friends that getting up backwards is easier but at that point I didn’t know how to brake backwards.
The second time was two weeks ago when I noticed that I didn’t have to put any efforts to get up. It did come naturally like the instructor had said. 😀 I learned going backwards a bit and enjoyed snowboarding down the hill without much difficulty. I must have fell about 50 times during the whole day, but it didn’t feel as many as the first time. It was a definite improvement. Learning how to snowboard backwards was the most challenging, but I made some baby steps until we were too exhausted to continue snowboarding.
The last time I went snowboarding was last Saturday. It was a beautiful, sunny day and after doing a few practice rounds down the hill, I started getting the hang of it. My boyfriend pointed out a few things I was doing wrong: like I was snowboarding down the slope with the board almost completely horizontal which means I was braking constantly. That was causing my knees to ache while snowboarding. The moment I changed the snowboard to point downward vertically, the speed increased considerably and the knee pain eased, so that was fun. I’ve made slight progress snowboarding backwards (on toes) but I haven’t tried that yet on a steep slope as falling backwards head first is quite painful.
We are really lucky this year as the ski hill near Lodz is still open, so maybe after we’re back from the Philippines (in about 3 weeks, leaving this Saturday) the place will be still open. I hope so because I still want to practice. What I really enjoy about snowboarding is that we snowboard down the hill a few times and stop at the restaurant for hot mulled beer/wine, so that helps us stay warm. I even noticed a restaurant selling grilled Polish sausages at one of the restaurants last time, so I was elated 😀 My body was sore the next morning to the point that I couldn’t walk, but it was all muscle pain so everything was fine by Sunday afternoon. I should try to stay in shape regularly, as snowboarding is very physically demanding.
I’ve noticed that skiing/snowboarding are popular activities here in Poland, the number of parents teaching their little ones how to snowboard or ski amazes me and some of the little ones are already so good at it! Please share if it’s also popular where you live. And do you ski or snowboard? Or any winter sports? If not, would you like to give them a try?