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How to fall in love with snowboarding in 10 days

group of happy skiers in hopfgarten, austria

Picture this, you walk outside of your dreamy home away from home in Austria… the snow is falling, tickling your nose as you stand in awe, coffee in hand. Your best friends come running outside to join you, you all laugh about memories made just yesterday. You strap on your boots, pull on a snug lil beanie, and grab your board. It’s going to be another perfect day in the winter wonderland that is Hopfgarten Im Brixenthal.

If you are anything like me, the idea of watching tiny ice flakes fall from the sky makes you dream of Baileys hot chocolates, snow angels and floating down a mountain like Shaun White (the five time Olympic gold medallist… and yes I had to google that for the sake of this article). I can confirm, there was definitely more sliding backwards head-first down a mountain than gliding gracefully for me. So if you are after an honest step-by-step guide on how to fall (pun intended) in love with snowboarding, scroll on my bucketlist-ticking buddy – this read is for you.

A man and a child enjoying a thrilling snowboarding experience.

Image source:Contiki

Step 1: “Sorry I can’t make it into work today, I have a ‘board’ meeting”

Book. That. Annual. Leave.

Or quit… you won’t want to come home anyway tbh.

Step 2: “Your vibe attracts your tribe”

Smile on your face, meet your new boarding fam. These people will be shredding with you, laughing with you, drinking with you, and encouraging you every damn day. The connections you’ll inevitably make with these people are a special kind, so mingle mingle snow pringle!

Step 3: “Bruised knees, Apres ski!”

You need lessons. I need lessons. Everybody needs lessons! *insert Oprah GIF here*.

Your incredible instructors are going to teach you the absolute basics, have a giggle with you when you fall, and then help you up (because trust me, it feels impossible). If you’re like me and have never even walked on snow, let alone strapped yourself onto a board, booking at least 3 lessons is going to be your best bet. You have to walk before you can run, and giving yourself the best chance on the bunny slope is only setting yourself up for success, and minimising the time spent looking like Bambi on ice!

Side note, the practice slope is a close walk to Rundell’s, the place to be for Apres Ski! Apres ski, if you didn’t know, translates to ‘after ski’ and kicks off after 2pm when everyone starts coming down from the mountain in need of a soul warming beverage to top off the perfect day.

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A group of people on a ski trip standing on top of a mountain.

Step 4: “The pain won’t last, but the memories will – adjust your altitude”

Accept that you’re going to fall. Accept that it’s gonna hurt. Accept that it’ll happen often, and that it’ll be funny, and that the snow must go on.

Whatever you do, keep going. It can be so frustrating falling over and over again, but I promise that you will surprise yourself with your resilience. After my first 3 days of lessons I’m pretty sure I was the resident ‘welcome’ sign at the bar: always the first one there, crying into an Aperol Spritz about my bruised everything. Apres Ski is like a mothers kiss to a boarding boo-boo.

Step 5: “With great power, comes great responsibility”

That first venture out to the can be mountain daunting. Questions such as these may be running through your head: How do I get off the lift without getting stuck? (I got stuck), What if I board off-piste and fall? (I accidentally did this – and fell), How do I avoid taking people out when I can’t steer? (I yeeted myself into the snow instead), What about the kids everywhere? (trust me, they’re probably better than you, they’ll ski around you).

Keep cool, everything you’ll fall into place around you, like lots of tiny snowflakes…

Step 6: “Boarded from the top and now we’re here”

You will never feel more accomplished than when you finish that first perfect run and you turn back to look at the mountain you defeated behind you. I personally shed a little tear of happiness because I was so proud of myself for the following reasons:

  1. I only fell down 7 times
  2. I didn’t cry until I got to the bottom
  3. I managed to avoid taking out any skiers OR children

Snaps for me.

Banff National Park - Apres Ski

You’re still reading? Thank you, you have somehow survived an avalanche of terrible puns and a self-deprecating account of my snowboarding adventure.

In all honesty, learning to snowboard was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. Between the people I met, the laughing fits we had, the tumbles in the snow, and the feeling of achievement after finishing a hard run is indescribable. If my TikTok for you page is anything to go by, my new obsession with boarding is fast becoming a fully blown addiction.

I know they say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you a (one way) ticket to the mountains in Austria. And really, it’s all the same thing.

So, if your 2023 plans include having your The Notebook moment, follow in my footsteps and opt for the ultimate snowmance. Falling in love with snowboarding is only the beginning. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your knight in shining thermals?

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