Snowbeasts

snowboarding

Cat’s first run

First off, some good news. We’ve had two short stories accepted for publications this week. One we can’t talk about and the other one we can. The Eden Project, which won third prize in the British Fantasy Society award 2016 has just been accepted by the Best Indie Speculative Fiction anthology! And we’ll get paid, plus get a copy of the anthology. We’re not sure when it will be out yet, but we’ll keep you updated. And don’t forget, our Horsemen of the Apocalypse novel, Bleeding Empire, will be out this Saturday! Its official launch will take place in Wales Comic Con, but you can pre-order it. UK. USA. Although we’ll be too distracted embarrassing ourselves in front of Pink Power Ranger Amy Jo Johnson at the con to properly launch the book. If you hear news of people being banned from the event because of asking her to do balance tricks, that will be us.snowboarding

snowboarding

Lynx learning to front side slip

And on to more exciting stuff. On Sunday, we went snowboarding for the first time. One of our gymnastics friends, Becky, wanted to do something fun for her birthday and put it to a vote – trampolining, swimming or snowboarding. Snowboarding won. We were excited. We’ve always wanted to try it. We’ve never even been skiing before. Our parents couldn’t afford it when we were kids and we can’t afford it now we’re adults. Plus we hate the cold, so a skiing holiday has never appealed to us. We can stay at home and be cold and save ourselves a lot of money. But this would be a group lesson and was surprisingly affordable.

snowboarding

Lynx making it to the bottom

We showed up at Cardiff Ski and Snowboarding Centre in more layers than an onion. It’s a dry slope centre, so we were worried about getting hurt. Plus, Cat tore her ankle ligaments last week, falling off the gymnastics floor, so we wanted to limit further injury. Yes. She tore them falling off a floor. Last week, we did the Wolf Run and only got a few bruises. Two days later, we did two hours of gymnastics. No injuries. At the end of session, she helps to put a block away, falls off the floor and tears her ligaments. Fortunately, she managed to get the swelling down enough to get a boot on, and once the boot was on, it acted as a brace, allowing her to walk without crutches. The sensible thing to do would have been to not go snowboarding, but it’s something we’ve always wanted to do and we didn’t know when we’d next get the opportunity. Besides, her ankle was fine, proving it was the right decision. Plus, it couldn’t get any worse!

snowboarding

Lynx doing a side slip

The instructor handed out boards by sizing them against us. He put one against Cat then gave it to Sarah C (you may remember her from our last post about the Wolf Run.) He returned with shorter boards for us. Cat “are we getting children’s boards?” Yes, we did. 35 year old women on children’s boards. We all headed out to the slope and had to decide which leg would go forward. It wasn’t about being left or right handed, but which leg was dominant, like which one you jumped off, or which one was forward in a boxing stance. Our fighting stance is left leg forward so we went with that. Having the left foot forward is known as snowboardingregular, having the right foot forward is known as goofy. Sarah C was

snowboarding

Cat doing a front side slip

the only goofy one 😀 No-one was surprised.

After that, we practised moving the boards in a circle, bending them and jumping. Except the bindings on Cat’s board were broken so she couldn’t join in as her board was being replaced. Then we headed up the small red slope at the bottom of the dry slope. You had to walk with one foot on the board, dragging it behind you. That was tiring work! Never mind Cat’s torn ligaments, this action caused immense pain to her bad knee (it’s had 3 operations), as it twisted it. Sarah C had the same problem with her bad knee too. We all lined up and the top…and refused to go. Nobody wanted to be the first down the slope. We were all terrified! Eventually, someone volunteered and we all reluctantly took our turns. Our hearts were pounding as our anxiety went into overdrive. Would we fall? Would we go too fast? Would we be able to control it? The only thing we weren’t worried about was making fools of ourselves. These guys see us make fools of ourselves in gymnastics every week.

snowboarding

Cat landing on her arse

After we’d been down once and didn’t fall, we were slightly less scared the second time. That was until the instructor, Guto, said we had to stamp our back foot as we went down. Why? We’re not rabbits warning the warren of danger. Again, everyone was reluctant to go first. The third time, he wanted us to jump the board slightly. What? We were barely confident going down flat! Save the tricks for another day, sir! This time, Cat did fall, but not badly. She ended up sliding backwards down the slope like a starfish. Guto then said we were heading up the slope. Uh, no, we were just getting used to the little slope! We went up the slope and sat on the prickly white brush. We didn’t wear enough layers for that.

snowboarding

Lynx going backwards

We had to do what’s called Side Slip. Stand sideways on the board and go down the slope. This was it. This was where we would die. The younger instructor, Dom, told us all to show enthusiasm. It’s hard to be enthusiastic when you’re staring death in the face. Guto warned if we caught our toes, we’d somersault. We’re a group of gymnasts. Somersaulting would be the one thing we could do. Well, except us. We can’t land them. Again, no-one volunteered to go first. Luckily, Lynx had her phone with her and was able to capture all the falls. She was one of the few who didn’t fall.

snowboarding

Cat was better going backwards

Lynx went down really well, looking confident. At the bottom, Guto turned her and pushed her forwards. This was far less scary now we’d done the red slope. Then  it was Cat’s turn. She went too fast and nearly took Dom out, who was guiding her. Then she fell on her arse. She got back up, again nearly took him out and again fell on her arse. He eventually got her down the slope. We had another go. Lynx’s run went smoothly. Sam was really good at it. Sarah C fell over. Lloyd and Sean also kept falling over. Cat warned Guto she nearly ran Dom over. Then promptly ran into Guto, nearly sending him down the slope. He turned and pushed her at the bottom. She fell on her arse. As he helped her up, she assured him she was already injured and explained about the ligaments. Him “Should you be doing this?” Cat “Yes.”

snowboarding

how to get around

Then we did the side slip backwards. Lynx reckoned Cat would be better going backwards. We work weirdly that way. We had to roll over with the boards attached to our feet and shuffle into position. That was dignified! It was much less scary going backwards! Mostly because we couldn’t see the slope. Sarah C mysteriously managed to tumble over backwards. We each had two turns of this. And Lynx was right. Cat was much better going backwards and didn’t fall once. Becky and Sam proved to the best at snowboarding and even managed the backwards side slip unaided.

snowboarding

how not to get around

We now want to go again. At first we were terrified and going forwards in the side slip was even scarier. But then we got used to being on the boards and the balance and we really enjoyed it. We want another lesson now before the fear returns! This is definitely a tick on our New Year’s resolution of ‘Try Something New’. So far, we’ve done an online Anatomy and Physiology course for aerial fitness, taken part in the Wolf Run, got cartilage piercings, tried a new gymnastics club (where Cat did her ligaments on our first night there) and have now gone snowboarding. And it’s only April!snowboarding

2 Comments

  1. Sounds like so much fun!! You’ve inspired me to have a go at this. I’ve never liked skiing, I worry too much about ending up in a forced splits! the imagined pain! I’d much rather have a go at snowboarding.

    Take care of your ankle now Cat. Ligaments are the worst for healing.

    • The forced splits is exactly why we’ve never tried skiing! 😀 Once we got over our fear of snowboarding, it was so much fun. Definitely have a go.


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