A Week of Snowboarding in Andorra Booked for January!

I first took up snowboarding 8 years ago, and quite frankly, I sucked at it! It took me forever to pass my beginner lessons to be allowed on a proper slope but I did improve very slowly after some tuition and experience.

Injury

But it all came to a rather abrupt end a few years ago while in Austria. I had just managed to successfully clear a run that I had found quite difficult but as I was on the almost flat section heading back towards the lift, my board caught an edge and I ended up face down in agony.

I had dislocated my shoulder really badly. It was a slow painful recovery which took almost 2 years to fully heal. I have never been back on a board or snow of any kind since.

But I miss it, and it has been niggling at me.

Cairngorm Mountains, Scotland, 2011

Yeah the accident sucked, falling over all the time sucked, getting massive bruises on my butt sucked, BUT… when I actually managed to do it right the feeling was amazing and I have never experienced anything else like it since.

I have a huge amount of fear now, but I don’t want to live my life in fear. Millions of people snowboard every season without injury. If I can get back into it and get good enough to the point where I just don’t fall as much then the chance of injury is much lower.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been selling up all the stuff in my house and at first I listed all my snowboarding gear up for sale. It didn’t sell, so I put the price down to a stupidly low amount and it didn’t sell. So I decided to keep it.

At first I figured I’d just get back into it ‘one day’. Not next year as I plan to be in Spain in the warm next winter! So perhaps in 2 years time. But then I thought, why not this winter?

I have several months of boredom ahead during the winter months as I wait out the cold weather before heading out on my travels. After my brother’s death I don’t want to take life for granted any more and just put things off.

Austria (I don’t remember the region), 2013

The What If’s

I allowed myself a few minutes to contemplate the ‘worst case scenario’. I could break my neck and die. Actually that wouldn’t actually bother me as I would be dead. Would suck for my family but for me the actual worst case would be if I broke my neck and ended up with a life changing injury such as paralysis.

To do that though I would have to take a really bad fall. I did hurt my neck once on an indoor slope but I took a steep section of the slope way too fast when I was no where near the ability for it and when I fell I went flying and landed badly, which hurt my neck. On a beginner slope the scope for a serious fall should be limited.

So I figure those things really aren’t very likely at all. Sure it’s possible I could dislocate my shoulder again, or perhaps break a wrist – the most common snowboarding injury, but those are not life changing. I’d recover and get on with life.

But what if I I didn’t get injured? What if I managed to conquer my fear and actually get better? What if I really loved it and managed to actually ride in the way that I want to and have an amazing experience?

Life really can be short and I should just DO things. So I made the decision, and 24 hours later the trip was booked 🙂

Andorra

The beginner slope in Soldeu, Andorra. Photo from skiresort.info

I have snowboarded in the Milton Keynes indoor slope which I hate and I have also spent 3 days in the Cairngorms in Scotland and a few days in Austria before the accident. But the place I have always wanted to go in Andorra.

Due to my lack of natural talent, I want to learn. I have heard great things about the Soldeu resort in particular and how it is great for beginners with one of the best ski schools in Europe.

I figure that one way I may be able to get over my fear is to get tuition and be in the safety of a beginners group, on a beginners slope with an instructor on hand the whole time! I have booked 5 days tuition – 3 hours a day.

I imagine that for the first couple of days I will stick with the tuition only and will not even venture out on the slopes on my own. I’m going to take it slow and not push it. If all I do for the whole week is just those 15 hours of tuition then that will be fine.

I’m nervous but excited! 🙂

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