In Easter of 2002, TGS Year 12 were 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 in Year 8, 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 can’t really describe the difference between the two without sounding rude to skiers, but I felt a lot more relaxed on a board, more in control, and that meant I attempt more adventurous routes and tricks.

The same trip was organised in Year 13, and I knew that I had to go. I decided to become a little more involved in the sport, and purchased my own boots and clothing. The snowboard, like last year, could be provided by the hotel, but I needed to change over to soft bindings.

This time the boarders were separated into two groups. The Year 12s, along with first-time or less experienced Year 13s, went with the instructors as before. I was given the opportunity to go off with a couple of the other 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.

In my third year of university, I decided I was going to become even more involved in the sport, and joined the DUSSC. Their annual trip (also to Val d’Isère) is known for being amazing! I signed up straight away.

If I was going to become more involved, I realised I needed a board. The one I decided to purchase is a 153cm Rossignol Dazer bought on eBay for £125 (including bindings).

I used this board, with original bindings, for five seasons between 2006 and 2011 (missing only 2009). It survived incredibly well for the price, only requiring a service at the beginning of each season. However 2012 demanded an entirely new set-up.

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.

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