Sarah and I went snowboarding again towards the end of December. This was a great plan as it got us out of London for some of the scary lead-up to Christmas, but less good because there’s not much snow that early in the season and falling really hurts. My main aim for the week was to get through it without serious injury. Pathetic, perhaps, but after hurting my knee last time I was keen to get over the fear of falling and learn to enjoy boarding again. In order to meet this aim, there was quite a build up to the trip.
To start with, six weeks before we went away I saw a physiotherapist about the remaining problems with my knee. I got the all-clear from her before booking the trip and had four or five sessions with her. She was great and well worth the money, and gave me lots of exercises to do. She identified that I have been walking wrong and placing stress on the wrong parts of my leg. The exercises really made a difference and I could feel my knee hurting as it started to get used in the right way. I did my physio and stretched morning and night for the full six weeks. In addition, I went to the gym three times a week to build up my fitness.
When we were in France, we stretched at the start and end of each day and wore some protective clothing. I wore wrist guards and knee pads, which got me through the first few days of pain in icy conditions before the snow fell. Sarah also wore padded shorts, which she really appreciated.
Doesn’t this sound dweeby? Isn’t it just a waste of time? Well, actually, I think it’s the only reason I’m back in one piece. Unlike last time, I was able to concentrate on technique, rather than pain or fitness. I fell often, but when I did I had relatively few injuries. Sure, a strained muscle here and a bruise there, but nothing compared to the knee twist last time.
To take the precautions a bit further, Sarah has bought a snowboarding helmet for next time, and I’ve got one on the way. I fell downhill backwards a few times, and really wouldn’t want to do that with a rock in the way without wearing a helmet.