Learning to Snowboard Indoors and then.. Spreading the Wings

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By R. Richards

Marco Wells, Coronet Peak, NZ - Image: R. Richards

Last Friday, I had one of the strangest, (but good) experiences of my outdoor career –  I took a 14-year old friend snowboarding for the first time in the mountains. However, it wasn’t his first time snowboarding . He had learned at one of forty indoor ski facilities in the world, Snow Planet in Auckland, New Zealand. He learned to board over of a number of years, but had never been outside on natural snow on a mountain.  At Snow Planet they have a Poma style tow-lift. He had been on a chairlift once with his family, but that was in the summer without a snowboard on his feet. So combining his indoor boarding skills and one-time on a chair lift ride, gave him a collection of skills to head outside.  Taking him up Coronet Peak’s chair for the first run, was like watching someone who was putting all the pieces together. He kept saying, “Look at all this snow!” and, “We’re high up on this chair”. His skills were solid and it was quite an amazing experience to see someone come out of their shell or out of their building. The next days were filled with a trip in the backcountry, and an afternoon at the Remarkables Ski Area, where he was exposed to all sorts of terrain and conditions and handled them admirably.  It reminded some obscure fact of how many indoor rock climbers never climb on real rock, or never end up placing a piece of rock gear for protection on a climb, (what they quaintly call “trad”, I call climbing)

Anyway, congrats to Marco for coming out of the indoors ski gym and joining me in the mountains. Come out again soon! We’ll be waiting.

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