Curious to know what my life as a snowboarder would be like, I spent one month in the Austrian Alps, snowboarding day in and day out. These are my stories and experiences from my month as a snowboarder.
About a 100 weeks ago, Mr.G and I spent one month in Austria for my 8th spin-off, be a snowboarder. Our days in the mountains evolved around snowboarding and nothing but snowboarding. We ate so we could snowboard and slept so we could snowboard more.
It was a deeply immersive experience that I didn’t manage to write about before. While I was busy chasing perfectionism on thespinoffproject.com, I made it increasingly harder for myself to start writing again. Time passed and the “perfect post” never came.
Almost two years later and the real-time excitement long gone, it was challenging to still try and write up the experience. At the same time, going through the journal that I kept in Austria now, long after finishing this spin-off, did allow me to draw out lessons that I wouldn’t have recognised in the buzz of excitement.
what it was like to snowboard every day for a month
Out in the nature, with my mind subdued by exercise, I became calmer, less reactive. I didn’t have the energy nor need to argue. I didn’t care much about what to wear or what to eat. I was less envious and less greedy. I lived in the present, unmoved about the future. And I didn’t want to be anywhere else.
I remember my life as a snowboarder being blissfully simple. If there’s anything I remember worrying about, it’s if I’d have the strength to go snowboarding another day. And yet, my journal reveals that physical fatigue wasn’t the only challenge I faced in the Austrian Alps.
Besides the majestic views and the finest homemade-sandwich lunches on the slopes, there were tricks that didn’t want to get honed, face plants and falls I never hope to remember, alarming weather conditions and impossible terrains that needed to be overcome including a whole range of fears and frustrations.
if I could do this spin-off over, this is what I’d do differently
Before this one-month immersion, the longest I had ever been in a winter sport destination was about 5 days. And although I spent quite some hours snowboarding indoor, this was only my third time boarding outdoors. Out on the real mountains, I was a beginner.
There were many new skills I needed to learn. Like, getting over cat tracks with my eyes open and fists unclenched. And learning to make it to the end of a T-Bar vs. being dragged off halfway en route. I also needed to work on my turns and speed. And I tried all kinds of little tricks and rode switch (snowboarding with the opposite foot forward of how one normally rides) for the first time.
I’m positive that all this playing around is what has made me a much better rider, but looking back, it would’ve been great if I had also set myself a specific goal. Like, for example, learning to do a 180. Focusing on learning an advanced trick would’ve given my days more structure. Plus, I’d have a tangible result to show for by the end of the month.
For my next spin-off, and the next time I go snowboarding or kiteboarding (for no matter how long), I want to keep working on various skills, but I’ll also make sure to set myself a challenge I can work towards to.
the insights that I took away from this month
When you find yourself floating through knee-high powder, enveloped in a dust storm of snow, it just happens, you can’t control it: you shout out loud. You cheer your lungs out. Out of relief. Out of happiness. Out of life. This just doesn’t happen when you’re walking down a city street.
Waking up every morning for a month to the sight of snow and ancient peaks, made me realise that life (or at least a major part of it) spent anywhere but lived in nature, is a waste of life. And furthermore, that in order for my mind to be clear, my body needs to be challenged.
Tell me what you think. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (links match comment pages for this post) and let me know: Are you thinking of doing a snowboard spin-off? Do you know a cool-looking trick that’s easy to learn? And what’s your favourite snowboard destination?
- The 5 (and only) “real-time posts” that I published during this spin-off: #spinoff8snowboarder.
- Tutorials that I rely on to help me improve my riding and learn tricks: Snowboard Addiction.
- Gear in pictures: all Burton except for the Anon Optics snowboard goggles.
- Three foods you must try when in Tyrol, Austria: Gërmknodel, Käsespätzle and Fleischkäse.