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ELLE tries indoor skiing and snowboarding

Are winter sports really as difficult as they seem? Florence Song finds out

By Florence Song | Published: 20 Dec 2017

Review: First Traxx
Photo: ELLE Malaysia

What
Indoor skiing and snowboarding, RM159 for one session (per sport), class packages available

Where

First Traxx, UG-3A, Block D, Axis Business Park, 10 Jalan Bersatu 13/4, Selangor. 03 7932 3303

The workout
I’ve always been told that skiing is easier compared to snowboarding so I decided to start with the ‘easier’ option out of the two. I was fitted with the proper equipment – helmet, a pair of very heavy ski boots and skis (no poles here) - and then it was onto the slopes, a treadmill-like belt made out of fake grass-like material. Just like a treadmill, the speed, incline and movement of the belt could be controlled through a remote wielded by the instructor.

I started right at the bottom of the slope, in front of the full-length mirror, holding onto dear life the bar as I familiarised myself with having two long wooden planks strapped to my feet. I was taught to bend my knees in a semi-squat position so that my shins would rest on the front of my boots and lean forward to move. To stop, I’d have to spread my heels apart in an inverted V position. In theory, this all sounded simple enough, but in reality I felt like I had zero control over my legs as I wasn’t familiar with having such heavy weights on my feet. The skis also weren’t the easiest to navigate.

After three 10-minute intervals (there’s a 10-minute break in between each interval) with minimal progression and lots of terrified squealing, I was more than ready to move on to snowboarding.

Unlike skiing, I was required to wear knee pads and wrist guards for snowboarding. The boots were also more comfortable and less clunky. After determining my lead foot (the foot on the front of the board), I was ready to strap up and go. To start, my instructor put the slopes on a slow speed as I held on to the bars so that I could get used to the sensation of cruising on my board. Much like skiing, I had to keep my knees slightly bent with my back straight to maintain balance. The only difference was that this instantly felt more natural to me.

I also learnt how to shift my weight back and forth on the edge of my snowboard to stop or go faster. Soon enough, I was doing toe taps and minor hops with my board. By the end of my third 10-minute interval, I was ready to snowboard down the slope (set a moderate speed) without any assistance from my instructor.

The verdict
Personally, skiing was terrifying, but snowboarding was so much fun! Nonetheless, skiing and snowboarding on an indoor terrain is said to be more difficult than the real thing as it requires more accuracy on your technique. This is great considering that I’ll be heading to Niseko next month, so I guess I’ll be ready for the slopes then!


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