I told my house guest I was going Mountain Boarding and she asked what it entailed. I had to admit, I had no idea.
I still had no idea when my friends picked me up and we started our drive out of London. I imagined it would be a like Sandboarding and therefore Snowboarding. However slight panic set in when I was told the boards had wheels. Skateboarding especially down steep slopes was something I had long ago discounted as sensible. I calmed myself. After all there isn’t a mountain anywhere in England.
The first thing that struck me was how lovely the setting for our adventure was going to be. Haredown is a working farm set in lush Sussex Downs. Very much off the beaten track. We paid, padded up, petted the new born cows and got onto the nursery area.
Language for this sport is the same as Snowboarding or Skiing. The boards are less like skateboards and more like the boards Dave Cornwaith used to cross Australia. Longer, flatter and really stable. Like snowboards, straps keep you in place and next time I hope to have snowboarding bindings. Also I will wear a pair of skaterboi trainers, heavy duty Vans maybe. Although one of my mates did really well in walking boots.
Our lesson taught us to set off, turn and finally a bizarre form of stopping which is more like falling face forward or bottom first and jumping back up as quickly as possible. Lots of emphasis was placed on the experiencing the feeling. Much like other Zen hippie sports such as surfing. Despite this Steve did an awesome job teaching. As did his assistants, all seasoned competitors. I was surprised how quickly all three of us girls, three times older the average age of the rest of the boys on the hill, got to grips with the techniques.
Very quickly we were traversing the greens runs. This was my favorite part, riding down the slope, wind in the hair, carving up a turn, the sensation of skiing came flooding back. Which isn’t a surprise as this is a sport invented independently on several continents by off season snow boarders. What is a surprise is that despite long ago discounting boarding as a sport for me and the lack of local mountains, I may yet become a fully fledged mountain boarding addict.