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Muscle Memory Is Great!

Muscle memory is great!

Isn’t muscle memory great?

Something we don’t really think about so often, but when you get up the hill after 6 months of not riding (through the summer months) and strap your board on for the first time, there’s that sudden fleeting moment when you quickly wonder if it’ll all come back, will the skills acquired still be there? How long it will take? Will I remember how to do it?

Your boots feel awkwardly stiff, half your brain is trying to work out what you might have forgotten, gloves, goggles, hat… the other half is trying to remember how it feels to ride a Snowboard and if you were as good as you remember being?

The snow crunches under foot in a familiar way as you walk, board in hand.

You drop your board down onto its base, automatically catching it under your foot to stop it slipping away. You reach down, hold the high-back and clear the straps out of the way. You tilt your board onto the heel edge, slide your foot into the binding, pushing your heel back and strap in your front foot. Seems familiar so far. Hmm, how tight do I do these? Does that feel right?

You stand and dig in your heel edge, making a secure spot for balance, clear the straps and slide your back foot into place…

Your stance immediately feels both strange and familiar. Maybe wider than you remember, the angles might feel a bit wrong, your feet not used to being locked in place fight to rotate.

Did I set this up right? We will see…

Goggles on, gloves on, final check around…

You release the edge with your front foot and feel the board start to slide, you feel the base as you flatten your foot towards the fall line and then tilt it gently back to the edge feeling it grip and track as your speed build and you’re off.

It starts to feel familiar immediately, you settle into your stance, rotating your upper body into line with your hips, drop your arms and sink into balance above your feet…ahh this is it.

A subtle movement of your front foot to adjust the edge tilt, the back foot adjusts in opposition and the board glides and carves.

You let your speed build into your turn, subtle pressure to the front foot, tilt to the edge, feel it gently bite as the board bends and steers into the arc. You start to soften for balance as the board tilts and you get feedback from the snow. the pressure builds and flows back along the edge of the board as the turn arcs in a tighter curve. The rear foot is edging now, getting stronger, the pressure moves towards the tail, you sink into the rear leg, squatting lower, edging harder, waiting, balancing, leaning, steering, carving… a quick snap of increased edge tilt and pressure to the tail to flex and snap the end of the turn and bang the arc is finished, you feel the rebound from the tail as you release the edge and swing back into balance over the base, the front foot already primed ready for the next line adjustment or turn, your gaze is both near and far…you’re back into the groove, you’re scouring the terrain, looking for changes in the snowpack, soft and hard, sun and shade, wind effect, features to ride, fun to be had…

Yep, it’s all in there, its exactly as it was when you left off last winter, maybe a few adjustments to make here and there and your legs will be burning in places you’d forgotten about by the bottom, but its all in the program and by the bottom of the run you’ll be back on form and looking for more…

Haha…Imagine if we had to start from scratch every time out! Yep, muscle memory is great!

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