Last weekend, I headed out to Lake Louise for Roxy Ride Days, a one-day camp for female snowboarders of all ages looking to progress their terrain park skills. Terrain parks can be pretty intimidating, even for seasoned riders, but if you’ve ever wanted to give that kind of snowboarding a try, this is definitely a great way to go about it; the supportive, all-girl atmosphere is a major confidence booster.
The day started out with coaching sessions on the various jumps and sliding features, then wrapped up with The Game of ROXY, a variation on the game “HORSE,” in which participants were directed to perform certain jumps and tricks and were given a letter if they didn’t complete them.
Pro snowboarder Erin Comstock and Roxy snow team manager Amber Stackhouse were both in attendance. They were happy to share with me their tried-and-true tips for how to make the most of your day on the slopes, whether you’re a brand newbie or a well-seasoned rider with a few runs under your belt:
Dress for the weather
“Layer up. I’ll usually wear a light underlayer, then a fleece, then an insulated jacket. You can strip off one of those things if you’re hot, but if it’s cold that will usually be enough. The worst is being cold on the chairlift. You want to avoid that.” – Amber
“On freezing days, I’m a total wuss! I wear toe warmers and a face mask.” – Erin
Always wear sunscreen
“On a hot day, do not forget your sunscreen because you will get a burn. Obagi sunscreen is my favourite. It’s 30 SPF but it has zinc oxide in it, which is a physical barrier. I also carry a chapstick-sized sunscreen with me since sunscreen is always coming off because of sweating or rubbing off on your face mask.” – Erin
Take a lesson your first time out
“If you’re trying snowboarding for the first time, don’t just go up with your friends and have them teach you because it’s not going to work and you’ll never want to try it ever again. You definitely want to take a proper lesson with a proper instructor who can show you the basics and the foundations of learning how to turn. Being outside, out of your element, in nature, sliding down the hill with the wind in your face, is really exhilarating. Once people try it they usually get hooked. You’re never too old to try.” – Amber
“If it’s going to be your first time out, try to pick a sunny day. Being warm is important if you’re learning. It’s one less thing to think about. And if it’s your first time, don’t go with your boyfriend. If you go with your boyfriend you might break up!” – Erin
Stay in shape year-round
“Pre-season, I do a lot of stuff in the gym. I do a ton of cardio to keep my lungs strong and to just keep me in shape in general. I also do a lot of weight training to keep my legs strong. Also, since women have weak upper bodies, I try to keep my shoulders strong – shoulder injuries are common. During the season I’m a huge advocate of yoga and stretching. It’s too hard to make it to the gym (after a day of snowboarding), you’re just too exhausted, but lots of stretching is key.” – Erin
Visualize the things that challenge your abilities
“If I can’t visualize it, I will not do it. I feel like snowboarding is 70% mental. If you chicken out or don’t commit you’re probably going to get injured.” – Erin