My Plus Size Snowboarding Adventure
Tickets booked, adventure planned, time to hit the slopes! Then the dread sets in, will I find anything to fit me? Being plus size can make things that little bit challenging and being on the plus side of plus size there is always the concern that I won’t be able to source size friendly equipment and clothing to allow me to do my chosen activities.
My sister, who has set up an amazing little B & B called Stoke Stash in the ski town of Revelstoke, picked me and my family up from the airport. She had already sourced me some ski gear to try on. Off to the toilet I went to try them on and yep they won’t fit!
The worst thing about building up the courage and confidence to try a new activity is when you ask if something is going to fit, the provider says yeah they are very large you will be fine. Only to discover you can’t get the pants past your knees. however, I was not going to let that stop me.
Luckily I had called ahead to a store called Pennington’s who stock some amazing ski wear. Lots to choose from and some great designs. I always assume I will be the biggest size in the store if they even fit me. To my surprise, I managed to fit comfortably into a 4x. It was a novel experience shouting from the change room “bring me a smaller size".
Next stop, the rental shop to get some gear, another part of trying new things that I hate. Walking into a shop full of super fit, active people and knowing that the majority of them will be judging me for being my size and making assumptions about my fitness level. As we all know there are many plus size people that are very fit and active, unfortunately, the stigma of size being linked to laziness has yet to be overcome. Well, wait till u see me on the slopes!
Fortunately, I did not have to openly declare my weight to anyone, the computer-based system takes all your details and prints you off a form to take to the desk to collect your equipment.
The guy serving me was super friendly, we had some skiing vs snowboarding banter and then he gave me boots to try on. I had concerns about the width of my calves, as I have problems getting winter boots, but there seemed to be no issues with the snowboarding boots. I collected my board and off to the training slope I went.
Luckily my sister's partner is a snowboarding instructor and my sister is an experienced snowboarder, so we had one-on-one tuition. I think my biggest challenge was overcoming my own fear, oh and my gut getting in the way off doing my bindings (the things that connect your feet to the board) up.
We spent a lot of time getting familiar with the board and how it moved over the snow, it was a challenge but totally worth it! My sister must have sourced a huge sack of patience as I repeatedly got her to help me get my board on and do up my bindings!
My biggest hurdle was getting up. Getting up forward facing can be a challenge if you carry your weight on your tummy. After lots of taking my board off, getting up and putting my board back on I finally managed to get myself up with the board in tow on the last day. I was so proud of myself but a little annoyed I had not had the confidence to believe I could do it sooner.
Ok so four or five days on the ski hill and I may have only done the training slope, but I can tell you coming down that hill, on that board was one of the most amazing feelings I have had. A mix of terror along with a huge sense of accomplishment!
My tips for Snowboarding:
- Do it! Don't worry about what people think of you. The feeling of achievement will far outweigh any embarrassment you might have. And really, anyone judging you clearly has their own issues!
- If funds allow, having a one-on-one lesson with an instructor. As a scuba diving instructor I often see people drop out of courses, not because they can’t do it, but because they are not getting the one-on-one attention they might need. This is nothing to do with size, just sometimes it’s nice to have a little extra help!