7 life lessons snowboarding has taught me

Swiss Alps

Before I started snowboarding, I had always admired the people with their boards on the slopes because they looked extremely cool and gnarly(whatever that means)…let’s be honest snowboarding is the most badass looking winter sport out there.

Here’s the full story regarding how I got started: I had injured my leg while skiing one day and was soon traumatized thereafter. As dumb as this sounds, my downfall went something like this…I did the splits on my skis and heard a crack(and it was goodbye and farewell to my right knee). I literally took an arrow in the knee. During the next 6 months, I was limping and had a tough time getting myself to go back on the slopes so I decided to try something different. Since both of your legs are bound to the board while you are snowboarding, the probability of getting a leg injury was much lower and this appeased my fears for the time being. My first time going was with a friend who was also a skier and so we both were complete beginners and had a blast laughing at each other mess up. After strapping in and going out for my first ride, I can confirm that it is harder than looks; which is a good thing in my opinion because once you get the hang of it you feel a sense of accomplishment. Snowboarding was so much more fun for me even though I was falling on my butt quite often. I did not expect to love it so much more than skiing and to learn so many things that are applicable to everyday life from it.

Lesson 1: Always look in the direction that you want to go and keep your head up.

  • In order to get anywhere in life, you need to know what you want; you have to be able to see and visualize a goal in order to reach it. When you want to steer your board left or right, you look in the direction that you are trying to go and you face your shoulders that way. Making the real life connection, knowing what your goals are and how to reach them before executing is crucial; another thing to keep in mind is to always keep your head up–both figuratively and literally. If you look down, that’s where you’re going. It’s that simple. Look straight ahead with confidence and scan your surroundings and you won’t fall or run into a tree!

Lesson 2: It is okay to fall as long as you get back up.

  • When I first started I was terrified of people seeing me fall and I would be so embarrassed every single time I would fall on my face trying to get off the ski lift with one foot strapped onto my board. Then I soon realized, no one fucking cares. They are too occupied not looking foolish themselves to care if you look stupid or not. My advice to people who are just starting to learn how to snowboard is to get your first tumble out of the way, you’ll realize that it’s not that bad and then enjoy yourself a lot more than if you were busy being anxious about looking silly or getting hurt. I was very fortunate to have trained in Karate and TKD my entire life and so I learned how to fall without seriously injuring myself but I will go over some pointers on how to fall on your face safely. I am expert in this topic. These skills have kept me from injuring myself when I fall(which is pretty often, trust me).
  1. Do not try to catch your fall with your hands or you’ll end up breaking your wrist or hurting your hand.
  2. Usually when you are on your toe edge, you’ll end up falling forward so try to land on your knees and not your face. I learned this the hard way and almost broke my nose.
  3. Brace for impact by rolling if you are going at a fast speed and end up losing your balance(saved me from breaking my neck but I got whiplash LOL).
  4. Let go. Just fall on your butt, it won’t hurt as much as you trying to catch the fall with another body part. Worst case is you break your tailbone but highly unlikely if you’re wearing snow pants(padding) and are not boarding in icy terrain.

Lesson 3: Growing pains are a real thing. Embrace the pain. It means that you are improving.

  • Feeling pain is a good thing in some instances. It means that your body is developing into a stronger version of itself. I always feel sore after a good powder sesh and this can last up to a week. In life, you will be hurt and you will feel pain no matter how much you try to avoid it; just know that it is a crucial component of learning. Some things are worth feeling pain for and sacrificing comfort to attain. #DEEP

Lesson 4: Work with what you have and try not to focus on what’s missing.

  • When you are on a snowboard, you have limited mobility because both of your feet are strapped onto the board and you need to be able to get used to this unnatural sensation and utilize this “handicap” to your advantage. Instead of facing forward and having separate control of both legs–like you would on skis–you are going sideways strapped to a piece of wood. This is not a position that humans are supposed to be in in nature. And as intimidating as this sounds, it introduces a foreign task for your brain to process which increases spatial, if not overall intelligence. In the real world you will sometimes be dealt with the shorter end of the stick and sometimes situations will not be ideal and you need to work with what you have to overcome obstacles. Instead of thinking about how tough it is to maneuver with both legs strapped to a board, learn to take advantage of having only one thing to control and focus on which is the board itself. You learn to change your way of thinking and move away from what is comfortable and tackle the problem constructively by being creative and through trial and error.

Lesson 5: Concentrate on the current task because it could mean the difference between life or death.

  • The reason why snowboarding is so therapeutic for me is because it is the only things I can focus on when I am doing it. If my mind were to wander to other things and I got distracted by what I am going to have for lunch that day then I could potentially get injured or even die. One hundred percent of my attention is required to stay alive. Engaging in activities where it is dangerous to lose focus really helps improve your focus. Yeah, call me captain obvious but if you’re snoozing while boarding you will be in a coma snoozing for a looong time after hitting a tree or a skier. Snooze you lose.

Lesson 6: Be fearless and chill the f*** out.

  • As the joker once said, ” why so serious?”. The more comfortable and relaxed you are , the better you will be at snowboarding. Have you noticed the riders who look like pros always seem so relaxed and nonchalant? This is because they are the honey badgers of the slopes. Honey badger don’t care, honey badger don’t give a shit(before you call me crazy please watch the youtube video on the honey badger). The honey badger is a badass because it doesn’t give a fuck, it does whatever it wants and gets away with it because it is calm cool and collected.

Lesson 7 : Have fun.

  • Grab a beer and let loose because life only happens once and it really isn’t that serious. We are just advanced primates on a floating rock circling around a ball of fire. Snowboarding is a sport and sports are fun. It shouldn’t feel serious. The same can be said about being alive. What you put into it is what you get out of it so just have fun with it and stop beating yourself up for messing up. You’re here to learn, enjoy life and “apres ski”(whatever that is as well).

I wish I could add a video of me falling on my face here for y’all but I don’t know how so cheers to falling on our faces and living life to the fullest!

Author: Tiffany Pham

Just an egg