Snowboarding on a Saturday, well what else would you do on a random Saturday in September?!
I have skied many times before and I love it, but I had never even considered snowboarding until my friend Sophie mentioned she would love to learn. After thinking more in to I thought you know what yeah why not! The beginner sessions (level 1) are a two hour lesson with a trained instructor.
We booked in for a lesson and I mentally prepared myself to hate snowboarding. I had failed miserably at skate boarding when younger and had injured myself many a time from falling off after half a second. We decided to book with The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead and the centre really did impress me – the instructor was brilliant, the service was quick and the slope itself was really well kept and looked after.
I had been to the slope in Milton Keynes before and because of one thing or another I had always been annoyed by something they did or something that happened. They tell you to arrive about an hour before your session, we managed to check in pretty quickly and picked up my pass to get the gear. The queues weren’t really an issue and within 20 minutes Sophie and I were really to hit the slopes. Unlike MK you actually get your £1 back after using the lockers so it didn’t annoy me when I had to keep going back in to my locker again and again.
Our instructor was called Giuliano and he was amazing. He was only young (he actually asked if we were studying GCSE’s – we are 24!) but he was talkative, reassuring and really friendly. We started off at the bottom of the slope learning how to strap ourselves in to the board and making slow movements down the slope. Initially I didn’t like this part as we were asked to put both feet on the board and slowly let gravity take its toll – I fell over.
After I’d got my fall out of the way we all made our way further up the slope to the top of the training slope. In turns our instructor took us down the slope holding his hand, first forward facing and then backwards facing. We all went down with the instructor a handful of times and then he encouraged us to go on our own. The friendliness of the instructor and the other snow slope helpers around us really made you feel comfortable and despite falling over several times there was always someone at hand to help my back up.
After about an hour and a half we were all fairly confident and he let us all practice on our own down the training slope. This extra half hour was vital to each of us as it gave us time to practice our moves independently.
After a great session I was highly impressed with not just the slope but the overall facility and what is available inside of it. The Snow Centre slope is a great size and has a good variety to freestyle jumps and areas on the main slope. We didn’t actually hit the main slope as you’re not allowed until your confident but I could tell the slope looked great and the training slopes were also well kept with safety fences at the bottom of the slope. For beginners the dedicated slope allows you to practice without the concern for getting in anyone’s way and gives those more confident space to ski or snowboard freely without knocking anyone over!
I would highly recommend a visit for anyone who has not been before and whether you are a first timer or a professional the slope is a great afternoon out for those activity-obsessed travellers.
Thanks to The Snow Centre for having us and thanks to Giuliano for being a wonderful teacher!
To visit their website click here.