Thursday, March 4, 2010

Intermediate/Advanced snowboard lessons

Like most snowboarders, I'm largely self-taught. That's part of the freedom. You hack it all together, maybe check out some YouTube videos, and surf your way to greatness.

The only problem - greatness never comes.

I don't even know how to rate myself. I only ride groomed runs to get to ungrooomed ones or to return at the end of the day. Much of what I ride is off-piste in Japan. In the states, I tend to stay semi-in-bounds or at least use the gates. So, I'm advanced.

But, I really suck in the trees. That doesn't stop me from riding them....I ride them all the time. But, truth be told, I wasn't getting any better. So, I'm an intermediate.

Anyway, I decided to take a lesson while in Colorado.

Professional golfers take lessons. Skiers take lessons. Why shouldn't I? Naturally, many of my friends laughed. My wife asked why. That just made me more determined.

I called the folks at A-Basin and asked to take a 3-hour private lesson. The person on the other end of the phone asked me if I was intermediate or advanced. I told him the above story and he elected to put me with an advanced teacher.

On February 16, I met my instructor Page Brush. Page started skiing at birth and graduated to snowboarding by the time he was 3 months old - okay, I exaggerate a little but he'd done both a very long time.

Naturally, he's much younger than me. At this stage in my life, everyone not in an old folk's home is younger than me. However, he was decidedly professional and knowledgeable and, as a bonus, had snowboarded Japan while stationed here in the Navy.

He asked me what I wanted to achieve. I told him to watch me ride and tell me what to work on first with the ultimate goal being to ride better in the trees. Throughout the 3 hours, he adjusted my stance, taught me how to turn correctly, adjusted my bindings, and - this is the amazing part - got me to ride moguls.

I've always hated moguls but he explained that they were a great place to practice to get better in the trees. I (hesitantly) took him at his word.

At the end of the 3 hours, I was better. I also had some serious things to practice. I rode moguls for a while longer to ingrain what he taught me. Making a very long story short, over the next weeks I rode trees better than ever before and I now intentionally ride a few moguls.

Bottom line - the lesson was the best thing I've done in a long time. Next year, I'll be back to take another...maybe two from the same instructor. If you're in the A-Basin area and want to contact him for a lesson, his email is I highly recommend him.

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