The three S’s of skiing, surfing and skateboarding could be combined in several ways – a surfboard with long poles and wheels for riding long distances is probably one of the less wacky combinations I can think of – but the sleek, maneuverable snowboard on which you can perform tricks from both the surfing and skating repertoire is pure genius. The modern snowboard’s other parent is a cafeteria tray, but we’re now well beyond that stage to Olympic inclusion.
Still essentially a hybrid animal, you can do a lot on a snowboard. You can ride the white terrain anywhere that skiers can (Freeriding), you can perform stylish trix in the pipe or half pipe or morph street skating moves, like riding the rails and jumping (Freestyle), or race and slalom like traditional Olympic skiing(Freecarve). Because of their association with bratty sports like skating, snowboarders had to fight for the right to some space on the slopes, but again, those were the problems of the bad old days and these days most resorts allow snowboarders to use the same slopes as skiers, some even have purpose designed snow parks with pipes and rails and you can even learn to board at many ski schools, so you don’t need to get hung up on access.
The key to snowboarding is patience and remembering that snow is a pretty soft thing to fall about in. Some other useful hints are to learn without crowds or ice, find a gentle slope and to think about it like riding a bike, it’s more of a feeling than a set technique – but do get some help when you start out. Apart from that check out a resort with a designated snow park like Wanaka, Jurassik Park, Meribel or Japan’s Alts Bandai.
The main thing to remember is that snowboarding is supposed to be laid back like the Fonz. In aid of that snowboarders have invented their own aspirational word, another hybrid of course: steezy, which means to have style with ease. We’re all going to fall when we’re trying something new and we’ve all got to practice to get good, but if you keep your body fairly relaxed and ride through the knees and hips with a comfy motion, you’ll attain the right look of it all being too easy when you pull off that great new trick or cruise past people on the slopes. It will be far better for you when you fall off as well, relaxed bodies crumple and you’ll be able to get right back up and try again.