Skiing previously for three years, I was told that snowboarding would be a “piece of cake”. My worries of breaking a leg or wrist, were constantly blundered and pushed away, “if you can ski, you can board”. After a while, I gave up worrying and looked to learning a new skill and creating a new hobby: as exciting and interesting, rather than daunting. As I stepped onto the snowboard, I felt a surge of pride and strength, “I had got this, I was in control” and then…immediately fell over. I cursed everyone and anyone who said they were similar activities, as they are not. They are entirely different.
Snowboarding is like surfing, or skateboarding, whilst Skiing is like roller blading. Both have completely different forms and traits, and are unlike to one another. Imagine walking with two legs, and then walking with one, it is a challenging aspect and sums up snowboarding in a microcosm. Luckily my gorgeous snowboarding instructor “B”, constantly supplied copious amounts of motivational speeches to all of us, whom lay straggled and downbeat in the snow. “Snowboarding is all about practise and balance“, I remember him saying, as he cut swiftly into the snow with ease, whilst we watched him enviously from a far. And that is true, snowboarding is about balance, it’s about gripping your toe in a certain angle to change the direction of the board, and using your body to follow through. It is no “piece of cake” which can be learnt in one day- unless of course your Shaun White (this amazing snowboarder who got sponsored at the age of 7?!) and you need to be able to continuously pick yourself up from the soft wet snow and try again. Learning to snowboard, you do end up spending most of your time on the snow, rather than the actual board (well that is what it felt like to me).
Luckily, I was in an incredible location to roll around in snow and learn to board, and that was: Vermont. Vermont is notorious for its ever changing colourful foliage that surrounds the state with its lofty pine tree tops, Ben And Jerry’s Ice Cream, and its wide range of mountains for skiers and boarders to explore. We stayed in the particular area of Stowe, which is situated in a picturesque valley where rivers meet and rich city sleek Americans gather. A gaggle of giggling British teenagers were a little out of place, but we enjoyed every minute of it. Filled with traditional American eateries and shops (that put your items in a brown paper bag) we marvelled at this small town feel of the place, where Mount Mansfield (4393ft) loomed menacingly in the distance. With Stowe being a mecca for outdoor sports enthusiasts, both in winter and in summer, the town is brimming with active people whom love the outdoors. Being my first time in America, it felt like being on a film set with quaint churches and blossoming trees, whilst people wished me a good day, it felt artificial. Where was the grittiness and litter I was used to?
A favourite highlight of our stay was a visit to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory. Dairy farming used to bring the biggest income in the state of Vermont, and Stowe was the perfect location to transform Ice Cream forever. A wander through the old factory with insights in production as well as free tasting, is what makes the trip worthwhile.
Stowe is a wonderful location for a beginner, intermediate or experienced skiers or boarders, with its cross country skiing and downhill skiing it certainly entertains the most adventurous types. I would advise for more local people to visit (i.e. American’s and Canadian’s) as it is rather a far journey to venture to, when for British people the whole of Europe is on their doorstep.