Not that many years ago, snowboarding was the bailiwick of young men who might have been a bit crazy in the estimation of a lot of skiers. Same as those skateboarders you might see in the movies.
Snowboarding has matured and developed into a challenging, fun sport that is enjoyed by throngs of enthusiasts. Here in this neck of the woods, there are more than a few very good performers of this exciting winter activity.
Last week, the BC Snowboard Association was in town with its presentation that is designed to introduce youngsters to some of the intricacies involved in learning how to go down a snow-covered slope on a single implement — fast.
Kim Wiersma is from the from Little Riders snowboard program from the BC Snowboard Association. She was in town with one of the four special kits that the group has available for such work. While most of the presentations are done in the south, the group is attempting to have more available in the north.
Funding for the program comes from Canadian Ski Council and Canada Snowboard. The Ski Council works with resorts and other similar groups.
“We do this in schools: Kindergarten to Grade 3. We do everything inside so they can get the confidence to get on a snowboard. Its really hard to learn but its very good for balance and coordination. They have lots of fun,” she said.
Watching the activities that the youngsters from Muheim Memorial Elementary School were introduced to left no doubt that it was fun. After a bit of a warm up, there were some relay races in which one youngster was hauled on modified board by another pulling them by a rope attached to the front of a board.
“We get them to use all of the different equipment. Its super counter intuitive. When you are walking you are facing forward but when you are on a snowboard, you are facing sideways. Many of them have never had to be in that position before. They have to bend their knees and put their arms out,” she said.
She explained that the scooter boards were for balancing.
“These are to teach them how to carve. They have to use their toe edge and their heel edge,” she said.
“They are able to feel what its like using their edges and balance. If they ever get up on the ski hill to snowboard, they hopefully will have muscle memory of what its like.”
There shouldn’t be too many problems with a fair number if these kids wanting to try this fascinating sport.
More information is available at canadasnowboard.ca/en/programs/littleriders.