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You don't have to get big air to have fun at snowboard camp
(especially if you're a "grown up") (ha ha ha!)

There are plenty of less risky skills to brush up on which will still give you a great feeling of accomplishment and improving your skills.

So what exactly do I do at snowboard camp when itıs a terrain park camp?
Well, since Iım there to have a good time and to write about the camp, I donıt put much emphasis on learning big tricks or riding rails.  I stay low to the ground. I make it a point to try not to get injured, because I can think of not much worse than ending up on crutches and having to make my way back to the States by bus, train, and plane traveling alone, as I was, with 60 lbs. of gear to move! To say nothing of what a bummer it would be to miss the rest of camp!

Anyway, if you must try risky tricks at camp, I would suggest that you wear padding and purchase evacuation insurance. For under $100 the evacuation insurance policy is supposed to help you with hospital care and getting home if you canıt go on your scheduled flight. There is also 'helicopter insurance'  that you can buy added right onto your lift ticket for a few dollars each day. As far as I can understand, that pays for the helicopter that may have to come evacuate you from the glacier if you are too hurt to take the 40 minute, 2 part gondola (telecabine) ride down the mountain. We did see the helicopter in action picking up an injured rider or skier during our camp stay.

By the way, Europeans have a whole different outlook on wearing padded protective clothing than we Americans. At Les Deux Alpes I watched the skiers on the sun deck proudly comparing their back armour protection. Snowboarders are equally eager to protect themselves from injury. In fact, Flexmeter protective wrist guards and gloves are sold at almost every snow shop in France!

At SMK Camp my group hit some small kickers. I went slow, so as not to get thrown up in the air. Embarrassingly slow, in fact. When it was my turn to get filmed for the camp critique film, I rode up the melting snow so slowly that I then slid back down the same side I had just come up. Arghgh! Caught on film!

I enjoyed riding the pipe in this park, and since the delicate low wall at the beginning of the pipe was closed for dropping in low, to protect it from summer breakage, I had to force myself to drop in right over the steep edge.

Iım not a vert skater so this was new to me, I had to hang out and get psyched for a little while, but then knowing there was no other way to get in, I stuck the front edge of my board out over the top wall edge of the pipe, took a breath, and then dropped in. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it all went, I remained riding (not falling) and did my thing in the pipe (which my regular readers know, is... not much. Just riding side to side, making my turns.) I do need to learn some low impact tricks in the pipe so I can get better scores when I compete in my local Catskill USASA halfpipe series in the upcoming season. Write me if you know some easy point-getters I might learn.

I was told afterward by a very experienced rider that a more "proper" way to drop into the pipe from the high deck, is to get a little speed on the deck of the pipe first, then drop in. Iım sure thatıs way more stylish, and Iııll work up to that, perhaps. In the meantime, the static drop-in that I did works fine, as a "baby step". Just keep your board heading at the correct angle down and across the pipe wall and transition.

I ride regular stance, and I tried the drop-in from both sides of the pipe successfully. I DONıT LIKE to go high ,(though I do go a little higher up the wall each season.) So I am always speed checking myself to slow down in the pipe, to stay away from the top! (I know, Iım a snowboard wuss.)

I must say that dropping into the pipe from the top instead of the end, AND, riding the very long (4 minute!) T-bar with some aplomb were the 2 feats I am proudest of attaining from this session of camp.


"Let's Ride!"






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