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Showing posts with label Snowboarding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Snowboarding. Show all posts


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I think snowskates are a lot of fun for everybody, and it's a good alternative to snowboarding. Snowskates are designed to be used anywhere you have snow - your backyard, a golf course, a small hill, anywhere. If there's snow outside, you can snowskate.

The reason I only find it a "good" alternative is because, personally, I found it more difficult to use a snowskate comparing to a snowboard. Since snowsktes are like mini snowboards without bindings, it was hard for me to get used to "bindings- free riding", and as I hadn't been on a skateboard for a long time, it was a real challenge to keep my balance.

There two major types of snowskates : bi-level and snowdeck.

Landyachtz Sunrise Complete Snowskate 2017 New

Bi- level snowskate

Ambition Snowskate Snowdeck

Snowdeck is basically your regular skateboard without wheels. They have P-Tex no-wax bottom to make them fast for sliding on snow and boxes. One of their drawbacks - they don't have edges like snowboards which makes it especially hard to stop. Also, for this very reason they are not allowed on chairlifts.

I used Premier Baron Snowskate.  Even comparing to the shortest snowboard, this snowskate is really "tiny" ( about 33' ) with even shorter ski blade. And this is its major problem. When the snow is relatively deep ( may be 2-3'), the blade tends to get stuck in the snow.

What I loved about snowskates was that it created a totally new experience ! "Bindings- free riding" is a combination of skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. Another reason I like 'em is because they don't have bindings, you don't have to waste your time sitting in the snow and strapping 'em up.

Next time snow blankets Seattle, you can just pick up a snowskate and take it outside, with no gearing up or driving to the mountain.

Ski Washington

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Just two months into 2011, and I feel like my Bucket List is getting full ( one drop at a time).

One of the ideas/goals for this year was to ski at as many ski areas in Washington state as possible.

As an employee at the Summit at Snoqualmie one can ski/board at ALL Washington ski areas/resorts for FREE !

Because the Summit at Snoqualmie is a member of the Pacific Northwest Ski Area Association’s Exchange Program, the Summit's employees are eligible for discounted and/or free skiing at other PNSAA participating ski areas around the country !

2011 is my third year working as a ski instructor at the Summit, but I still haven't taken the full advantage of this awesome benefit. May be because there are just too many of them. There are 12 ski areas in WA :

The Summit at Snoqualmie
49° North Mountain Resort
Hurricane Ridge
Mission Ridge
Leavenworth Ski Hill
Mt Baker
Stevens Pass
Mt Spokane
Crystal Mt
Loup Loup Ski Bowl
White Pass
Ski Bluewood

My very first "painful" experience was at Leavenworth's Ski Hill just 3 years ago.

During my visit to Winthrop, I stopped by the Loup Loup Ski Bowl to get a few runs before heading home.

During the last two weeks I managed to squeeze in two (!) trips : White Pass and Stevens.

The Summit's sister resort Crystal Mountain is just 1.5 away from where I live, but for the past three years I've skied there just a handful of times. This year, I finally had a chance to try out it's famous Mt Rainier Gondola !

I've also skied at Mt Baker, Mission Ridge and Hurricane Ridge.

Newbie at the Summit at Snoqualmie Terrain Park

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At the end of last ski season I “discovered” for myself a terrain park located at Summit Central. By that time I had been snowboarding for just under two years, and felt a bit intimidated by all those jibs (fixture which can be ridden with the board/skis either parallel or perpendicular to ground : rails, boxes, trees…), plus, occupied mostly by teenagers, it didn’t feel like I was fitting in.

Before, I’d watched a few Youtube videos and was absolutely stoked by what those kids could do. They make riding rails look as easy as walking down the street. I thought I was ready to take my “snowboarding skills” to the next level.

The very first fixture looked pretty decent: low to the ground, wide and flat, it didn’t look dangerous at all. As it turned out, “table top “ ( and that’s what it was ) is the most common feature at a terrain park where many injuries occur… After landing on my back and regaining conscious…I was hooked!

To ride at the Summit Central Terrain Park you will need a pass. It’s really easy to get one: just go to ski patrol office , watch a safety movie for about 20 minutes, and then you can either opt for a one day free pass or purchase a season pass for $ 5. If you get a day pass, you’ll have to watch the same movie the next time you’ll want to ski/snowboard at the park. So, it’s more time effective just to buy one.

My biggest disappointment is that there are no “official” classes to learn all this “cool stuff”. Last year I wrote a post about the Barn, the first indoor ski and snowboard training facility at Copper Mountain Resort, CO. I wish we had something like this in Washington.

If your kid is a Flaik...

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...you know, like a snowflake...or like a regular flake.

Flaik is a GPS device that allows ski resorts to track children, who have enrolled in a ski or snowboard school, in case they get lost or separated from their ski school class. A technician monitoring the GPS system is able to inform ski instructors immediately when one of their kids goes missing as well as inform them exactly where the child is on the mountain.
The device is strapped to a student's leg, and if a student moves beyond a certain distance from his instructor, it sends out an automatic alert.

Sounds like a great idea, but I have a feeling I've already seen it somewhere. Oh, that's right on my own ankle.

I think it will be cheaper for parents just to strap any ( electronic ) device to their kids' arm/leg and say : " If you venture beyond a certain distance, it will go Kaboom ! "

On the plus side: Flaik also gives riders the ability to monitor personal performance such as speed, distance, altitude and airtime. Something somebody can find useful. Not me.

Be aware of NARSID

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I've been skiing and snowboarding for just 3-4 years, and before, I have always thought that the only danger that existed in the mountains was an avalanche. But even that , I thought , could happen somewhere in Himalayas or at least on Rainier.

When I started working as a ski instructor, I realized that not all mountain hazards come in the form of avalanches. That's when I first heard about NARSID - Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death.

Many skiers/snowboarders are aware of inbound avalanches, the danger of getting lost, or hitting a tree. But not many skiers and boarders have heard of tree wells.

A deep snow or tree well accident occurs when a rider or skier falls into an area of deep unconsolidated snow and becomes immobilized. The more the person struggles the more entrapped in the snow they become.

If a partner is not there for immediate rescue, the skier or rider may die very quickly from suffocation - in many cases, they can die as quickly as someone can drown in water.

Even people who are familiar with tree wells under-appreciate the danger of this hazard.

According to the statistics, 90 percent of sliders who fall into tree wells are unable to get out without help. The odds of surviving a deep snow immersion/NARSID accident are low; especially if you are by yourself.

So, remember, next time you are filming one of your friends skiing and he happens to fall into a tree well...just keep filming, cause I couldn't find a single good video online:

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Never too young to learn to snowboard ! She's one (!), and she's awesome !

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What's the appropriate age for your kid to start learning to snowboard ? 4...6...7...? At the Summit of Snoqualmie they offer group snowboard lessons for kids 7 years old and up.

Many parents feel more comfortable with their kids learning how to ski first, because they can "judge" whats going on and can give some "guidance"...

...but really there is no minimum age to start snowboarding:

How to teach a 4 year old snowboarding

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You mean the hard way or the easy way ?

The easiest, hassle free way is to sign him/her up with an 8 consecutive week lesson program at your local ski area. Drop off your kid in the morning, pick him up two hours later, repeat in the afternoon. No stress, no worries, and you can ski/snowboard freely while his is learning.

How do they call the hard way ?
Tough love, every father's nightmare ( or as I like to call it "every kid's nightmare" ), stoic approach...?

But there is another way...
The Yibb, is a training tool that can be mounted on a board so the kids can learn to ride without puts and use the whole body to turn...

Invented by a design agency in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Atomic sells the product under the name “PIQ Training Bar” in US. So chances are, you will not (yet) find the Yibb/ PIQ Training Bar in many retail shops ( or on Amazon ). The suggested retail price was EUR 169...in US $$$ it would be ehhh...

P.S : I think it's a great product, wish I could buy for myself, but browsing Atomic.com web site I couldn't find anything about the Yibb/ PIQ Training Bar.

If you're still looking for ways for you little ones ( or yourself ! ) to learn snowboarding, try Kahuna Snow Paddle Stick !

Check out this post to see how it works !

Beginner snowboarder : How to buy your first snowboarding gear

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First , I'd like to say that this is not an "expert advice" post on how to buy your first snowboarding gear. Below, I provide a detailed link and a video from our " authority on all things outdoorsy " -REI. Here, I just want to share some "beginner-to- beginner" tips on how to save money buying your first snowboarding gear.

I've been snowboarding for just 3 years, and still consider myself to be a novice rider. I still use the same gear that I bought when I got started, and I am still quite happy with what I have.

I bought my gear (board, bindings and boots) off of Craigslist for just $50, and the only thing that mattered at that time was the right size and some cool graphics ( actually, it still does).

Your first obvious move would be to rent snowboarding gear from your local ski area. Kids who work at those rental shops know what they are doing, and will gear you up without boring you with too many unnecessary details.

Now that you know your boot size and approximate length of a board, you can shop around.

#Personally, for your first set up ( board, bindings and boots), I wouldn't pay more than $100.

#If possible, try to buy the whole package - board, bindings and boots.

#Make sure that the boots fit into the bindings, and the bindings are not broken.

#For beginners, I wouldn't recommend buying "clicker/step in" boots and bindings. While step in bindings eliminate bending over and sitting on the cold ground, old school step -ins ( that go cheap on eBay and Craigslist) don't have the highback that for some people makes learning process more difficult.

A couple more tips:

You can always " figure out how to snowboard ", but my advice, take at least 1 lesson from an instructor ( not a friend who will take you to the top of "black diamond" and say "see you at the bottom")

Invest in a pair of ski or snowboard pants and a puffy jacket. It will make your experience less painful.

If you decided that snowboarding is not for you, you can always sell your gear ( if not for the same price, at least $10-20 less ).

Of course, if you can afford to spend $300 -500 on brand new gear, and you know that snowboarding is something you'd stick to for a long time, by all means go for it.

If you still need more details on how to choose your first snowboard, check out REI's very detailed ( and very lengthy ) article here.

Skiing In Whistler,BC

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Peak to Peak Gondola

Whistler Village


On top of Whistler Mountain

Whistler Mountain Symbol

Whistler Blckcomb -North America's # 1 ranked ski resort has a lot to offer -alpine bowls, wide-open glaciers,gladed trees and perfectly-groomed cruisers.Whistler is a utopia for the adventurous spirit. Heli-skiing, snowmobiling, ziptrekking, bungee jumping, dog sledding,snowshoeing are just a few of the options to get your blood pumping.

But what most people come here for -is ,of course,skiing. Whistler boasts the largest ski area on the continent with more than 200 marked trails and the two greatest vertical rise ski mountains in North America.The ski season stretches from late November to early June.

For me ,as an avid skier, it wasn't skiing that made me fall in love with this place, it was the scenery.I had to admit, even the great Mt Rainier couldn't compete with that (author's personal opinion).

As for the actual skiing, because of the limited time, I couldn't ( and probably wouldn't have been able ) to cover all the trails.The main ones -Harmony Express,Symphony and the Peak lead to the magnificent viewpoints.

The major drawback- no night skiing, lifts close 2:30 pm.
The advantage of being a Washingtonian--about 10% off on your lift ticket ( I paid $ 78.85 (Canadian) -or $ 68 US )

Snowboarding at Ski Hill in Leavenworth

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If you think snowboarding is hard- think again.

This was my first winter when I tried it. It took me about 1 hour ( and 200+ falls) to learn it.

It does not matter how old you are to learn new things, as long as you have the desire to learn and a sense of adventure. I did not have an instructor or some fancy equipment, just the desire to have fun ( at all cost).