5 Life Lessons Snowsports Can Teach You
An insight into how snowsports have changed my life, how it still is and what you can get from these winter sports.
As an interesting fact, though I don’t think it had any influence on my future in snowsports, it did snow the morning I was born in Kingston Upon Thames in February 1994. Coincidently I have always loved the snow and would learn that I am at my best when I’m in that environment.
My first real snowsport experience was when I was ten years old, I had lost my step dad early in the year a few weeks before my tenth birthday. My mum decided that we would go away for Christmas, our first without him, to have fun and to avoid letting that time of year become depressing. It’s fair to say my snowboarding trips have always been an escape, somewhere I would be the best version of myself. We travelled to Finland on an all inclusive Holiday, it was there a couple of days in we had a two hour ski lesson. I ended up having the lesson on my own with a group I didn’t know because my younger sister was sick. Once I had been kitted up with ski boots and skis I was ready and headed out on to the slope with an instructor and a small group of people who were on the same holiday. I took to it quite naturally but knew looking up the hill that I would not be going up there within the time we had. We were taught the basics how to skate, how to climb, how to go (chips) and how to slow down/stop (pizza). We played games and did a couple of races climbing a small gradient and racing to the bottom. I loved every minute.
The next time I’d be on the slopes again wasn’t until six years later. My Dad was taking us to Norway on a ski holiday. A month or so before we headed to Snozone Milton Keynes to have some lessons. While everyone else was skiing I had already decided that I was going to Snowboard instead. For whatever impulsive reason I had already decided I’d enjoy it and went ahead and bought myself a Drake set up, board and bindings. Luckily for me I took to it like a duck to water. When we got to Norway I wanted to see how I got on by myself without instruction and I was getting on ok, but I was tripping from time to time, by lunch time I accepted an offer to get an instructor. I had a private lesson that lasted an hour and it was in that one hour lesson that I had discovered my passion. I wanted to become a snowboard instructor. After that lesson my riding had really improved and I was making the most of my holiday, first person on the lift in the mornings, enjoying the peacefulness and the scenes of white around me. I would stop for lunch with my dad, refuel and get straight back out again until the chairlifts were closed. As before I found the snow to be a place I felt comfortable. I also left Norway with a purpose and direction.
It took me the best part of six months to find a course that I could afford, but that same year I booked onto a course to learn to become a snowboard instructor. At seventeen years old I found myself travelling alone to Krakow in Poland. During the course my snowboarding ability increased and I learned how to teach others to improve their riding from first contact through to much more advanced riding. Through the friends I had made not only did my riding improve, but my confidence and self esteem also grew. The friends I made then are still my closest friends now and wherever I travel to there is always someone I will know. Just before the end of the course I flew to Spain to take the early exams in Andorra. I spent three days boarding in Soldeu with a small group of other snowboarders taking their exams. It wasn’t long enough, but I had passed and was now a qualified instructor. I have been teaching ever since and even coaching a small number of riders to go on to take their teaching exams.
So here are some key lessons that snowsports have taught me:
- Determination – If you really want something, you’ll find a way to get it and find the motivation you need to work hard enough to achieve your goal or objective.
- Patience and Acceptance – It takes time to get good at anything, you need to take the time to practice and understand that it’s ok to fail and take it as a lesson to improve.
- Versatility – Conditions on a mountain will often change and you have to be able to adapt, much the same as life, things will change and you have to adapt to whatever these changes are.
- Health & Fitness – It takes a level of fitness to be able to practise snow sports, as with any other sports I found that the exercise was good for both my physical and mental health.
- Awareness – Learning and teaching snowboarding and skiing has taught me how to analyse myself as well as others and through self awareness I can continue to better myself and help others.
Snowsports and now personal training continue to teach me, both life lessons and about myself. These jobs allow me to constantly meet new people, take many opportunities that present themselves and challenge me to become the best version of myself.It could do the same for you. Why don’t you take up one of these sports and discover how they can ultimately change your life for the better?
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