In Easter of 2002, our sixth form was given an opportunity to go to Tignes, a Winter resort near Val d’Isère, for a week. Having already being skiing with the school to Cormayeur, Italy, I knew I liked skiing. However, I was offered the chance to go snowboarding, and it appealed to me very much. It was an amazing trip, and I really loved snowboarding. As well as being more physically challenging, it was simply a lot more fun. I felt a lot more relaxed on a board, more in control, and that meant I attempt more adventurous routes and tricks.
I joined the same trip the following year, but decided to become a little more involved in the sport, purchasing my own boots and clothing, but still using a rental board. This year, I was given the opportunity to ride with the more competent boarders. We ran some very challenging routes, managed a lot of off-piste boarding, and even got ourselves to the jump park for a day or two.
The following October, Xscape opened another retail centre in Castleford, complete with real ski slope! The run is short but provides enough interest for boarders, and occasionally has jumps open. A few of us took it upon ourselves to go along during the Christmas holidays of my first year of university.
By my third year, I had joined the university snowboarding club. I decided to purchase my own board and bindings too. I used this board for five seasons between 2006 and 2011 (missing only 2009). It survived incredibly well, only requiring a small service each season.
I spent 3 weeks in July 2012 in New Zealand, so I decided to purchase a new board, bindings and boots for the occasion, as well as the obligatory new gear. I managed to get away each year between 2014 and 2017, making good use of the snow train to travel to the French Alps — it means an extra day or two on the slopes compared to flying! I was also able to go to Snowbombing in 2015, but I’m glad we went to Les Arcs eariler in the year because I really didn’t get much boarding done…
For various reasons I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus since 2017, but I’m looking forward to being able to get back on the board again!