When I first moved to Italy I immediately decided that I would learn to snowboard. So I bought myself the kit and got out on the slopes. One weekend after the other I visited Chiesa di Valmalenco, Madesimo, Passo Tonale, Folgarida and Madonna di Campiglio. Often sleeping in the car to save cash I succeeded in teaching myself the art of surfing down the mountain.
Most of the people I subsequently ended up going out with have been skiers. In fact my first skiing partner was a telemarker.. a real skier as he went on to explain to me. The lifts had opened up a winter wonderland, a whole new world quite unlike the walk in to the Northern Corries!
The advantages and disadvantages of each mode of transport were obvious, if I wanted to go on from where the lifts ended I was going to need a more efficient means of getting around. Don’t get me wrong, descending on a board is cool but slogging uphill is strenuous enough without a board strapped to your back only to be replaced by snowshoes in descent.
And so this year I guess curiosity got the better of me. Having now spent two mornings strapped to two planks I must admit I am thoroughly enjoying the experience. At first I had my doubts, a lot of people say once you snowboard it is difficult to learn to ski and vice versa. In fact I have found quite the opposite, the fact that I can snowboard has really helped. I am used to the speed, the sensation of using the edge to make a turn, the flex of the skis and the subtleties of changing body position and distributing weight in all the right, or wrong places.
Having skiers around has always proved to be useful on flatter terrain, invaluable on up hill slopes and I owe a debt of gratitude to those friends who have pushed and pulled me along. Who knows by next year I to may be able to slide through the winter mountains with my friends.