I'm not going to lie, when an invite for an evening class at an indoor snowboarding slope dropped through my letterbox, I was a little dubious. After all, my idea of good entertainment is watching a good DVD, cup of cocoa in hand, and slippers on feet. What can I say; I'm nearly 30.
The last time I did something vaguely sporty was as a teenager; my Dad's an athletics coach and I attended his local club twice a week.
That said, you'll be glad to hear I was a good sport, rooted out my gym wear from the dusty depths of my wardrobe, and headed down to Castleford's Sno!Zone.
|Photo: Via Google Images|
As part of a collaboration between British Gas and Lastminute, I'll be giving three more experiences over the coming weeks a try, too - recording a CD in a studio (Gawd help me!), hopping aboard a helicopter, and chocolate-making with Green and Blacks (yum).
The idea? To test out British Gas', quite frankly, genius new Remote Heating Contol service, by attending a range of fun experiences and returning home to a lovely warm flat.
So, how did I get on?
But snowboarding's hard, according to Daryl's 'outdoorsy' pal Dean. He's tried it a couple of times and is yet to master sliding down the slope from top to bottom in an upright fashion.
In our modest class of seven, we were taught everything from the very basics (the various names for bits on the board, how to put our boots in the straps - that sort of thing), to mastering climbing up the slope, snowboard attached to one foot; and coming back down, both feet sturdily strapped in. And my Gawd, it's much harder than it looks.
We began the lesson with our instructor Colin (nice bloke by the way - hi Colin!) by 'scooting' on the board; in a weird 'one foot on, one foot off' fashion, to get a feel of how fast it glides across the snow. Next, we tackled the aforementioned uphill slope climb, before strapping both feet onto the board and attempting to stand up without decking it. Note: Getting off with the ground with a heavy snowboard attached to one's feet is far from elegant and graceful. Just go with it, and console yourself with the fact that you probably won't have to see your classmates again after the lesson.
Next for the fun part; actually doing some snowboarding. Now, this was easily the hardest thing I've done. It beats the old driving test, in fact (which took me six attempts, no less).
In snowboarding, it seems, you start by coming down the slope backwards. And while Daryl and the rest of the group seemed to improve with each attempt, the only thing I seemed to master was taking my snowboard off my feet and putting it back on again.
Here's what else I learned from the 90-minute session:
* Snowboards are heavy, very heavy
* Despite being on the snow, it was swelteringly HOT under all that gear
* There is nothing elegant or ladylike about the hobby
* It'll take me 45,576 years to master it
* Getting snow down your trousers is NOT a nice way to spend a Sunday evening
* Colin has the patience of a saint
All that said, I was surprised how much I enjoyed the lesson. No one sniggered when it took me a minute longer than everyone else to 'scoot' from one end of the slope to the next; neither did they laugh when the instructor had to practically drag me up the slippery slope during the uphill climbing part.
The highlight, though? Returning to a toasty flat (we'd switched on the heating while we were on the motorway - the joys of remote control heating), and a steaming hot mug of tea. I told you I was boring.
Have you tried snowboarding? Do you fancy it? Do I need to get out more? What's your idea of a great day's (or night's) entertainment? I'd love to know.
Disclaimer: This experience, and the British Gas Remote Heating was provided by Lastminute.com and British Gas respectively. I have not been paid to write this post, neither am I affiliated with either brand in any way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest, as always.