SNOW BOARDING : SKIING
Fast. Free. In flight. Full of life. These are all the things that snowboarding will make you feel.
Snow sports are not for the faint hearted but for the stubborn. As Snow sport locations are reserved to the very few northern Indian states, a few of you might be confused between Snowboarding and the very known skiing.
In simple terms, balancing yourself on a piece of slide board, while burdened with multiple layers of woollens to beat the chilling weather and safety gears to keep you safe – that’s snowboarding for you. Skiing, on the other hand, requires two thinner planks and two ski-sticks for propelling. Skiing in India is, comparatively, a more popular activity and has many operators offering ski tour packages and training courses. Snowboarding in India, on the other hand, is yet to make a wide-spread mark and is mostly done by trained professionals. There are fewer training courses and tours.
The rivalry between those who choose “planks” (skis) and those who prefer “trays” (snowboards) is well-documented. But not everyone has the time to learn both modes, so which one to go for?
“Skiing is easier to learn but harder to master – whereas snowboarding is harder to learn but easier to master.”
This is a common claim you will hear in the world of snow-sports and while different people can take to different sports, it’s generally true.
Ease of learning
Skiing: The initial learning curve is pretty fast. The most natural mode of transport we ever learn, walking, involves independent leg movement. So does skiing. Once you’ve got the hang of the snowplough turn, usually on the first or second day, you’re capable of skiing around the whole mountain, as long as it’s not too steep. Even parallel turns usually come fairly quickly.But the problem with skiing is that it’s too easy to get away with doing it badly.
Snowboarding: Anyone who has done it will tell you that learning to snowboard is a long and bruising process at first, only to be undertaken when the snow is soft. Imagine learning to windsurf with out the water! For me it was humbling: even after three days, it took me half an hour to ride down a run that I could ski down in around two minutes.
Skiing: Of course, the worst part is walking to the lifts, clumping along with your ski boots open, dropping skis, poles, gloves and goggles as you go. You try to look cool with your skis on your shoulder, just like your instructor, but they keep slipping apart, and anyway they hurt your collarbone. But once you’re on the mountain, you’re in your element.
Snowboarding: Walking through the car park, you’re the coolest of dudes. In your comfy soft boots you can saunter past the clumping skiers, snowboard nonchalantly tucked under one arm. But on the mountain, a snowboard is not the best-thought-out method of getting around.
To ride any lift, you have to remove your back foot. Step-in bindings have made this easier, but most of them still keep clogging up with ice. At the top of every lift you increase your risk of haemorrhoids, sitting in the snow as you struggle to strap your back foot in again. And when you encounter the dreaded flat sections, you have four options: take the back foot one arm. But on the mountain, a snowboard is not the best-thought-out method of getting around.
To ride any lift, you have to remove your back foot. Step-in bindings have made this easier, but most of them still keep clogging up with ice. At the top of every lift you increase your risk of haemorrhoids, sitting in the snow as you struggle to strap your back foot in again. And when you encounter the dreaded flat sections, you have four options: take the back foot out and “scoot”; bend down and claw yourself along with your fingernails; hop like a demented frog; or beg your skiing mates for a tow.
Skiing: At the moment, skintight suits are just not “in”. Ski-racers need to wear them for aerodynamics, but most other young skiers have adopted fairly baggy gear. The “New School freeriders”, acrobats who are inventing new skiing tricks based upon snowboarding, would not be seen dead in anything that isn’t baggy.
Snowboarding: You may think those young whippersnappers in the terrain park look pretty scruffy, in their baggy, drab-coloured gear. But they have spent good money to achieve that look. The snowboards themselves should have fairly subdued, retro graphics (no palm trees, motorbikes or naked women nowadays, thank you very much).