003_160321_G16Day 19 of Scottish season 15/16. Well I took Sunday off as a rest day, and to watch the first Formula 1 race of the season, oh, and to go for a roast dinner at mum and dad’s. I’d taken a week off work for my winter holiday which I’d be doing where? Where else but Glencoe! And why not? I’ve got to beat last year’s days on snow. I think I may have already beaten my hours on snow as I’ve not done any half days. They have all been pretty full on. So Monday, I head for the slopes, but there has been a change. The weather has turned. Sunday was all sunshine, maybe I should have gone up then. Never mind, no point dwelling on it.

Once up the mountain it was grey and dank looking. Mid mountain was clear enough, but the top was shrouded in mist. It was also quite warm and drizzling, so everything was getting wet. Thank goodness for Gore-Tex. (Although my feet were soaked thanks to my second pair of faulty Vans Cirro boots).

014_160321_G16What to do? I ask myself. One of my to-dos for the season had been to ride more switch. With over 20 years experience, you’d think I’d have mastered riding my board backwards. But the truth is I’ve been lazy. I just want to hammer turns when I’m riding and have given little thought to diversifying my repertoire in snowboarding. It’s also quite humiliating, knowing you can go fast and crank up turns, when you go back to the beginner slopes, hoping no one is watching you as you bash your pride and other sensitive areas.

Well, it’s cloudy, the snow is slushy and sticky and the slopes are quiet . No time like the present to try those switch turns.

I’d watched a YouTube clip in which one tip was to make your first run of the day switch. That ‘s a great bit of advice as you are generally starting on easier slopes anyway and it prevents you from putting it off and never getting round to it.

All the issues from those early days over two decades ago came flooding back. Leaning over the back (actually the tip of your board now). Not committing into your turn by shifting your weight over your leading foot and looking far ahead where you want to go. All things I already know and have in fact taught others. It’s just a case of persisting and building it into your day on the mountain whenever you can.

What makes it even more difficult is the muscle memory I already have, trying to fight that and get my brain to flip and see all movement and control in mirror image. A lot easier said than done I might add.

It turned out to be the perfect way to make a less than outstanding weather day count as a valuable experience. I spent the majority of the day riding backwards or switch. I will have to make sure though I don’t lose any ability regarding my normal goofy stance! In future I’m going to mix things up a bit more during my days on the hill. First run, switch. More ollies, and all the techniques passed on at the Freeride Clinic a few weeks ago. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Whether I’ll achieve them is another matter?