Snowboard stumblings – Travel Mail

Nick Morgan gave up his skis and went to the slopes of Tignes in France to learn to snowboard.

As I moved forward on my snowboard, somehow I was at the edge of the piste before I knew it. ‘What’s going on? You’re stalling,’ shouted my instructor.

I had to admit I was afraid of falling. ‘If that’s what you think, that’s what will happen,’ he replied. ‘Be positive, believe you can do it, follow through and commit to the turn.’

My eyes rolled to the sky. What was I doing here? As an intermediate skier, I could have been perfecting my parallel turns at the top of a mountain, but no, I’m back at the beginning, learning a new skill and getting shouted at.

‘Look into the turn,’ shouts the instructor and, as I did I, realised the side of my board was cutting into the snow and I was coming out of my first, beautiful, perfect turn. Elation.

I spent that afternoon practising my new craft: believing, committed to the turn and doing a lot of falling over. I have learnt to ski and snowboard, and I can tell you learning to snowboard is a lot more painful.

Despite protective wrist-guards, knee and elbow pads, at the end of the day I was battered and bruised. I was ready for some top food and a beer – after all, this was a holiday.

Day two began with a lesson from Thomas, a French Ski School instructor, who explained most beginners look at what they fear most, the snow beneath their feet and as a result they fall.

All day I would fall over, and each time I found myself longingly looking up as skiers whizzed down blues, reds and blacks like extras in a James Bond film. I couldn’t help wondering why I was putting myself through this. On the third day, I cracked, exchanging the hired board for a set of poles and parabolic skis. My snowboard lay idle. The assistant gave me a knowing look. With skis I felt free, in control and rather guilty.

Next morning it was back to the board. How could I have been so fickle? How could I give up when I was so close?

My big break came on day four. After some top advice from the instructor, my balance became better, my turning smoother and my confidence soared.

So, at the end of the week, would I go back to my skis or stick with the snowboard? In powdery snow and for pure fun it would be a snowboard. Every time.

Travel Facts

For details on the Crystal Club Hotel Curling in Tignes, call: 0870 848 7000.

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France, Ski, Avoriaz