On a bit of a bank holiday whim yesterday, a few friends and I decided to head up to The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead for the day. It was their 5 year ‘birthday’ celebrations and as a result there were to be several of the Team GB Winter Olympians giving tips and signing posters.
We travelled up first thing in the morning. Four of us, 3 snowboards and Celine Dion on the iPod (Celine travels with us on all our best adventures).
We were out on the snow by 12 o’clock and after half an hour or so of practicing riding switch, trying to spin in continuous circles and generally just arsing around, we realised we’d been joined on the slopes by Jamie Nicholls and Aimee Fuller, Olympic legends and just spectacularly cool in every way. Awesome start to the day.
A few minutes later, as I unstrapped from my bindings at the bottom of the piste, I stood up and came face to face with the effortlessly gorgeous, ultimate babe on a board, Jenny Jones herself.
Cue ridiculous fangirl moment whereby I missed the next two buttons on the lift and thanked an imaginary snow god for giving me the best Bank Holiday EVERRRR.
For the next hour, we spent our time learning to jump on our boards with oodles of helpful tips from Jenny (that’s right, just ‘Jenny’ - you see we’re acquaintances now, so that’s allowed). I have learned (I think) that a jump is really called a kicker. And you don’t ‘jump’ off a jump, you ‘ollie’ (lift one foot off and then the other). You only jump when there is no jump. This is called flatland snowboarding.
Confusing, says you. Inspiring, says I.
For a while I got totally caught up in the moment and thought, ‘hell, I could be the next Jenny Jones if I wanted’. Then an adorable six year old girl in a Burton onesie snowboarded past me and totally stole my thunder. Even worse, a seven year old called Brad was cruising over the jumps AND the box feature without so much as a second thought.
Ok. So maybe THESE guys are going to be the next generation of Olympians, but at the end of the day, who cares. They were awesome kids who totally deserve to have a shot at pro boarding and I, well I got my helmet signed and a freestyle lesson with the coolest olympic snowboarding gang around.
Cheers to The Snow Centre for an amazing event, and to the Olympians for being the nicest, smiliest bunch of board and ski babes and dudes around.