Tuesday, 11 April 2006
Bluffers Guide To: How to fake at Snowboarding
Photo and article by Jacques Marais
Your new girlfriend snoops around the garage and discovers a snowboard you bought years ago to help a down-and-out mate. One little white lie leads to another and, before you know it, she has booked a snow bash for two at Tiffindell. All eyes on you …
Ask the Pro:
Axel Zander, snowboarder supreme and owner of outdoor company Downhill Adventures, spills the beans: “No way will you become a proficient snowboarder in three easy lunch-time lessons. To style it on the slopes, you’ll have to put in the time. Get the moves before heading into the snow by booking sandboarding lessons, a brilliant way to get a head start once you hit powder
Dress like a hard-core boarder and, above all, don’t conform to the establishment fashionistas. When you step onto the slopes, functionality is key and your clothing will have to suck up everything the extreme outdoors throws at you. A technical jacket and bomb-proof trousers (Oakley), close-fitting base layer (CapeStorm), thermal socks (Falke), freestyle gloves (Da Kine), Billabong beanie, plus a backpack with self-rescue gear (think shovel and probe here) should see you right.
Axel again: “You’ll probably get away with your mate’s prehistoric plank along the training slope, but if your budget allows, invest in a top of the line board (Burton Pro Signature Model), as well as the boots and bindings to go with it. Powder City is an unforgiving place, so further stack the odds in your favour by wearing Oakley goggles to keep the visibility up.
Talk the Walk:
Hiking for Pow: On a mission to find untracked powder runs
Flat-lining a chute: Dropping into a possible avalanche run and riding it without turns in order to outrun a potential avalanche
Off-piste action: Hitting the bars & clubs after a good day on the slopes
Stomping a landing: Executing a perfect touchdown after a huge jump
Cool Moves: Mixing it up
If you’ve sneaked in a few sessions on the dunes, you shouldn’t look too much like a beginner while gearing up. Maybe now is a good time to mention you feel a bit ‘rusty’ (just in case!), then hang loose while getting your bearing along the kiddies’ slope. Check out the pros, pick up some tips and soon you’ll be ripping 360s (spinning through your horizontal axis while jumping) and riding Switch or Fakie (where you ride in the opposite direction to your natural stance).
Worst Possible Faux Pas:
Neon colours went out with the eighties, along with one-piece ski suits.
Where to hang out:
If you can’t make it to extreme ski resorts like Chamonix or St Anton, head for Tiffindell, our local snow spot (Matroosberg near Ceres and Sani Top in Lesotho also deserves a mention). When you’re off the slopes, order a Jack, straight up, at Ice Station 2720, the highest pub in SA.
Who da man?:
Jake Burton: the pioneer of modern snowboarding
Tom Burt: Arguably the most extreme free-rider still blasting the slopes
Terje Haakenson: The undisputed god of snowboarding