XScape Snowdome, Castleford: Fast-Track 3 & 4

Yo dudes, it’s The Function here, back for the second slice of hot lesson action. (I said lesson!) Let’s dive in…

The second lesson

After my first fast-track session, I didn’t get to go back for my next one for nearly 2 months. I was bricking it that I’d be back at square one and I’d have to start over again. I needn’t have worried. The other 5 people in my group had also left it a while since their previous lesson, so I was unlikely to be left behind.

Once again, it was £72 for 3 hours’ slope time. Instructor this time was a guy called Dave. He was friendly enough, but a little less easy-going than Ollie had been. I suspect it all got off to a bit of a bad start when most of the people in the group couldn’t use the rope tow. This was meant to be a fairly basic part of the first two lessons and even I was a little surprised they coudln’t do it. I think they even said they’d not used it before. How they passed their earlier lessons is anyone’s guess.

Anyway, agenda this time was essentially:

  • Proving we’d got through fast-track 1 & 2
  • Toe-to-heel edge turns on the baby slope
  • Heel-to-toe-edge turns on the baby slope
  • Linked turns on the baby slope
  • Linked turns on the main slope
  • Linked turns from the top of the main slope

Clearly, a couple of people in the group were having difficulty with the first item there, but to my relief, I was fine. After a couple of jerky sideslips. 😉

Turn, turn, turn

So, next was learning to turn. Obviously, we could already do this a little, as we’d just been traversing, but putting in a full turn was to be new. When it was explained to us, however, it just sounded so much more complicated — some thing about twisting the board by pointing one foot forward and the other back while rubbing your stomach and patting your head.

Ok, maybe not the last two, but the whole twisting thing just sounded too much to think about whilst not falling over. Consequently, I just listened to the other bit of advice about keeping your weight on your front foot. Hey presto, you’re round the corner. Job done.

The slopes at CastlefordBy the time I’d got onto the linked turns, progress in the group was becoming increasingly varied. In fact, by the time we took our mid-lesson break (not sure why we have a break — it’s hardly exhausting), I was ready for the main slope, but others were still struggling to put a single turn in. This was making it a bit awkward for Dave to teach us together, but at least it meant I got to do whatever I needed most practice on.

After the break, out to the main slope it was — by myself. The Castleford main slope has two different gradients on it: the bottom half at 10%; and the top half at 15%. Up both sides of the slope are poma lifts, although there was only one operating on the night of this lesson. Initially, I was just taking the poma half way up and then trying to put in 5 or more turns before the bottom of the slope. Dave pretty much left me to this while he went back to the rest of the group, but this was fine by me. Wilka and Mark were both on the main slope, so I still had someone to share the craic with.

From here on, things just started becoming more and more natural. Sure, I took a couple of gentle falls, turned into another boarder (ooops!) and was wasted by a skier, but I was just concentrating on getting some kind of flow going. Soon enough, I’d moved onto doing the full slope and, despite getting a bit wobbly at first with the extra speed, managed to stay upright for the rest of the evening. With half an hour of the lesson still to go, Dave marked my lesson card as passed and let me get on with it. Result! As a bonus, I now have a free hour’s slope time to spend at a later date. Could well be this coming Sunday.

Conclusion

Overall, I have to say that if you’re thinking about trying out snowboarding, or want a head-start before your first boarding holiday, these lessons are excellent. Granted, a lot will depend upon the group you’re in as to how much time the instructor can devote to you, but I doubt you’ll ever be left wanting. I was only left to myself because the instructor figured I could manage ok alone *grin*.

Plus, when you factor in the equipment hire, £24 per hour really isn’t that bad a deal. Certainly beats the £60 per hour I pay for my karting shenanigans. The XScape in Castleford even has a railway station right outside, so transport there needn’t be a problem. Go on, give it a try. Maybe I’ll see you there. 🙂

3 Comments

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Dave – you should definitely try it mate! Plus, if you get interested in snowboarding it will give us an excellent reason to go riding in Japan!

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Dave

    Nice work Mal, good to see you’ve persisted and found your feet.Makes me wonder if I shouldn’t have a bash at this boarding thing myself…

  • Reply April 13, 2010

    Gavin Hope

    Sick! Mal I’m so pleased you’ve cracked it mate. Like I said before, once you can link turns from the top of a run to the bottom you’ve got it sorted. It’s now just a matter of building confidence as you add more control, more speed, tackle harder terrain and have more fun… 🙂Nicely done, and thanks for adding sharing the experience!

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