A couple of weeks ago I was in Jasna, Slovakia in the beautiful Tatras mountains. I had a blast there, such a marvelous experience! In this post, I want to give you a little bit of what I tasted and to highlight what is like to ride a snowboard for 38 days straight.
The beginning was challenging – the first week it was the time when my body was adapting first to the cold and second to the movements you perform while snowboarding. Because if you go all mountain riding you work out every muscle in your body. Your legs (quads, calves), abdomen/core, chest, arms butt, and back, basically everything. If you have ever experienced snowboarding, probably the next day you were wondering why your neck
Getting it going
After the second week, my body did already adapt to the movement, the pressure and the tons of load on the muscles. Not only that but I got so used to the snowboard that it felt as natural as walking. Imagine being all day on the snowboard for such a long period of time. I really felt this attachment/connection which Shoun White is talking about.
“Some peopleShoun White
attatchtheir snowboards to their feet, others to their souls.”
Confidence and therefore huge increase of performance. I was lending tricks naturaly, without much effort. I remeber hitting a side kick or a jump and just with slight rotation I lend the 180 or 360, effortlessly. Feels so good to be flying around.
Immerse completely into the activity
Third and fourth week you on running on full throttle you know the terrain, your muscle memory knows what to do in almost every situation. Because of that, I am able to focus on building an imaginary line for the next let’s say approximately 50 meters. Drawing imaginary lines helps so much to play with the whole terrain creatively.
However, sometimes it can be tricky because even if your body knows what you have to do, your muscles sometimes give up and you can stumble pretty badly. That’s what happened to me a few times this season. I registered pretty bad falls this, but luckily it was able to recover pretty quick.
Speaking about falling when you ride for so long even falls start to become natural and you can even turn it into a trick. For example, imagine riding in powder. Your weight is distributed on the back leg, that way the nose is out and you are able to move. At some point, if it is a long run in the pow, you will feel how the back legs hurt a lot and if you release it, your nose of the board will end up in the snow. Most cases, you will lend on your head into the deep snow stuck. What I do in these situations when I notice that happening, I row myself forward onto the shoulder and ride it out clean. Imagine some kind of a shoulder front flip. Really cool!
Let’s talk about flow!
When you are freeriding and you are on full speed down the mountain, watching the terrain building an imaginary path in your mind. Avoiding different obstacles and using the terrain creatively requires all of your focus on the activity. This immersion into the activity kicks in the flow. There are situations when the time slows down so you can avoid collision into a tree or a rock or whatever the hell it’s there, other times you just got this tunnel vision and everything goes super-quick. It’s amazing but as I mentioned it requires a lot of energy! Snowboarding activates flow state a lot and to be in that state when you feel your best and perform your best it requires a lot of mental and physical energy. For longer periods of time, it can be exhausting.
Recovery is crucial.
Luckily we had access to SPA which really helps recover both the mind and the body. Saunas and ice bath results in quickest recovery you can get overnight. Also stretching at least one time a day was a mandatory part of my day. During your post, snowboard/ski stretching the circulation of blood will return to your muscles allowing them to recover and repair. I often did some stretches before going to bed this sets you up for a good quality sleep which has a tremendous recovery effect on your body.
Nutrition, nutrition and lots of hydration are also crucial for optimal performance.
The time we had in Slovakia was just what I needed even better. I was snowboarding every day this enabled me to free my mind for a while and just immerse and enjoy one of my favorites activities. Also, I had time for self-reflection, meditation and figuring out what’s next and what I want from the journey of life. Last but not least met wonderful people and had such an amazing time.