I’m typing this post while exhausted and full of Chinese food, my reward for all the snowboarding I’ve done this weekend.Â We spent last night at the new Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead, it opened a couple of months ago and yesterday was the first time we’d had the time (and money) to check it out. When it first opened the Friday night freestyle session was Â£50 for non members, thankfully they’ve dropped their prices so last night cost Â£31.50 with my SCUK membership.Â I’d heard good things about Hemel, every-one’s been raving about the snow quality so as I was going to be at MK SNO!zone all day today we thought we’d do the Hemel session, stay in a hotel to save mileage on the car and then drive up to MK first thing this morning.
The first thing that hit me when we arrived in reception was the view of the slope, you can see it through a glass window behind them, it was shorter than MK but on the plus side shorter means more laps per session.Â They had a rail and kicker line set up on half the main slope (with half being clear for non-freestylers) and then a bunch of toys on half the nursery slope as well.
The snow was definitely different to MK, finer and less granular and it was running well speed-wise, so well in fact that despite dropping in low on the kicker I almost over shot the landing!Â I spent most of the night on the kicker, none of my friends were really hitting the rails on the main slope, so I figured I’d give the gap kicker a try.Â It looked pretty whippy from the lift but it was a pretty smooth take off and once I’d got the feel from where to drop in from I had a really good session.Â As ever, The BoyfÂ was on hand to take some photos, so I set about doing some tail fishes (it’s the first opportunity I’ve really had to do them since I set up this new site) and then some shifty mutes.Â I really did want to spin over it but the gap and the rutted run in meant i didn’t quite believe in my ability and the fact that I wasn’t going to catch my edge.Â the park crew were doing their best to maintain the kicker but when you have 20 or so people hitting it solidly it’s always going to be tough to keep it perfect.Â I did have a play on the rails and boxes on the nursery slope as well but 3 hours on the kicker had taken it’s toll and I wasn’t really feeling it by the time I made the switch.
It was a fun night and it was good to see friends (Doc & Street) I hadn’t ridden with for ages and I can see us heading over to Hemel once a month to see people who don’t make it up to MK as regularly as I do.
So after a rough night’s sleep in the hotel (smokey smelling bedroom leading to the invocation of Premier Inn’s good night guarantee) we hopped in the car and headed up to MK SNO!zone for another Maverix One Day camp.Â This was my third full day with them and I was looking forward to it, on the drive up I planned out my “want list” for the day and during the pre-session briefing listed it as “all four 180s on the kicker and spins on and off rails and side ons”.Â Once again we started on the kicker and after a couple of warm up runs I started spinning.Â First up was the frontside 180 and although the spin itself was really smooth I had my arms in a perfect ballerina pose over my head….never a good look!Â Thankfully as I settled in to it I became a bit more relaxed and managed to get my arms down and get a FS180 indy.Â Next up backside, again I was a bit flayly initially but managed to get a BS180 mute.Â I finished the morning session by stepping it up and riding switch, nailing Cab1s and switch BS1s, no grabs this time and I need to work on hitting the kicker a bit faster switch but that will come with practice.
The afternoon was a rail session, we started on the box and I managed to get FS180 on and Cab180 on, this was the first time I’d tried spinning switch on to a box.Â It’s was Coach Phil’s suggestion and I was stoked to land it first try.Â We then moved on to the long rail (switch frontside boardslide!) before heading up to the side on gas pipe.Â After a few hits to 50:50 I managed to nail a couple of backslide lipslides.Â Considering I’d been riding for about 5 hours by now I was pleased my legs held up and I didn’t clip the front of the pipe and I popped my back leg over the pipe before boardsliding away….after my second of these I called it a day, no point in riding too hard when your legs are getting shaky, that’s when accidents happen, and with the first leg of the Westbeach Snowflex Freestyle Series next Saturday I wanted to stay firmly in one piece.Â I was especially keen not to repeat the run where I’d slide half the length of the corrugated gas pipe on my bum!
All in all it’s been a brilliant weekend, I managed to get about 8 hours riding into 24 hours and nail a load of new tricks into the bargain!