Am I Crazy? (letters)

We get letters. Here’s one from Ann, who is looking for some positive support.

Brother-in-law says that it is a stupid idea to try to learn to snowboard after the age of 30. Says that if I try to learn I will break my nose and my tailbone. Says that the issue is learning the pivot point or balance point and you can only do that as a kid, so forget about it at the age of 52. I am not a skier, haven’t skied for years. My thought is why not take lessons and totally pad up, helmet, wristguards, etc? Seems to me that I’d be a fresh learner and wouldn’t have to unlearn any downhill skiing tendencies. Thoughts? Am I crazy for thinking about this?


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25 Responses to Am I Crazy? (letters)

  1. olderboarder says:

    I started at 44. No regrets at all. You’d be surprised how many people start in their 40’s. As for balance, I had taken yoga a couple of years before, and I found my yoga skills translated very well. Be patient, and continue to take lessons. You will do fine!!

  2. Pat Moore says:

    I took up boarding at age 50 and that was twenty years ago. My child bride (she’s only 64) is thinking of taking it up this year. It’s not the easiest activity to learn but the rewards are worth it.

  3. Tony B. says:

    I started at 42, I had never skied either. I’m still riding 15 years later, your BIL is (***)! I was never that athletic as a kid but I took it up without too much grief. Here are a couple of tips: wear a helmet, wrist guards, padded shorts (and possibly knee pads for kneeling in the snow) Take a few days with a good instructor at a resort (preferably out west where the slopes aren’t as narrow and better chance of good soft snow). The yoga or anything to help flexibility is a great idea also.

    I would add to try a balance board at home with all the padding in place. I train on one for about 6 weeks prior to hitting the slopes, be careful with these because they can be dangerous too. I’m sure you will be able to amaze the old BIL and yourself. For his info, I just took up wakeboarding at 57,;)

  4. Jeff Mason says:

    You’re not crazy. I started at 46 and taught myself on a bunny hill at a local city park. Best decision I made was getting Flow (step-thru) bindings so I didn’t have to sit in the snow to strap in before each run. Learning curve was a challenge with all the falling down. Glad I powered through and stuck with it. Go prove your brother-in-law wrong and make it happen.

  5. LESLIE MUNOZ says:

    I didn’t learn till I was 48. Two years later I was in a senior competition at 50. Now at 55, I still board at least once a week during the season.

  6. I to it up 24 years ago when I was 37. I had a couple lessons and wore rollerblade pads. Some good hard falls the first year. The balance point advice is a load of crap. It’s a steeper learning curve than skiing, but much shorter to proficiency. Just don’t get discouraged the first few times out.

  7. Kenny McCance says:

    I took up snowboarding 3 years ago at 50. Absolutely love it.

    Hardest part for me was the lessons. I’m a bit overweight so it proved a bit challenging.

    Stick with it. Once you get your confidence, it’s easy. I agree with Tony B, get padded shorts, wrist guards and a helmet. Mine have been well used. I also have Flow step-in bindings, makes it a lot easier. Don’t let anyone put you off, have a go, you won’t regret it.

  8. Jan P. says:

    Go for it! I learned in my fifties after decades of skiing. I agree with you that not having ski instincts will probably make it easier. My advice is not to get discouraged at the very beginning. You will fall a lot, and it will hurt, but after a few days something will “click” and your brain will figure out how to avoid the body slams. When that happens, you’ll suddenly be an intermediate rider!

    My other piece of advice, especially since you’re a woman, is always to get up from the toe side. Given our lower center of gravity, getting up from the heel side can be exhausting. Work with your instructor on flipping the board over when you’re on the snow. I also second the comment about step-in bindings. Now that I’m 62, the ground is much further away than it used to be, and the step-ins make it so easy to get going!

  9. Judy says:

    Hi Ann,
    My name is Judy and I am 51, level 3 certified, and I have taught snowboarding for over 25 years. Come take a private lesson from me and the learning curve is gentle and painless. I work at Park City Mountain Resort, Utah 800 227 2754
    Ask for Judy M

  10. John LaPlante says:

    Another reader left this comment (moved over from another page):

    Ann Nony, ignore your brother-in-law. (I say it’s stupid to think you can’t do anything new past 30–what a boring existence.) I took lessons at 40 and did not have any issue learning the pivot point. That’s like those people who say it’s easier to learn a new language when you’re young, so don’t try when they’re older.

    I also don’t think you have to unlearn anything from skiing–they feel completely different, so you’re not going to be influenced by skiing habits. I love snowboarding because I find it’s a slower pace.

    Sure, you can zip down the mountain, but when you want to stop and take in your surroundings, it’s easier to slow than skiing. I say go for it. You’re 52, not dead.

  11. Curt Jopling says:

    I tried to learn at age 59. Took lessons at Loveland CO and failed miserably. Wasted $100 bucks. Two years later I decided to try again. At a small local Midwest hill I received a one hour lesson, rental, and lift ticket for $10 bucks. Prior to the lesson I watched some videos by Snowboarding Professor and realized that the Loveland instructor taught us nothing. I was boarding by the end of the one hour lesson. Watch the videos and take the lessons. You will love snowboarding.

  12. John Thomas says:

    Best advice, do not listen to your BIL. There is no age limit on trying something new and having fun. Take a few lessons from trained professionals, that is key. Many resorts have awesome deals this month for never-evers, both skiers and boarders. Here in Vermont, there are discounts on lessons, equipment and passes, and even discounts on equipment. Go for it.

  13. bill hane says:

    u slay me dude ,i learned at 47 ,became an instructor at 53

  14. Shannon says:

    Ann – go for it girl! I was a lifelong skier but went to the “dark side” at age 53, encouraged by my boarder kids. I turn 73 this year and still ride (at Whistler) with a goal of at least 25 days a season. Started with “sit down” Preston bindings but changed to Flows and am on my second pair. Highly recommend!! Suggest you learn during soft snow season (i.e. NOT on icy spring hills). I made that mistake and suffered many bruises. I had a total hip replacement 5 years ago and never missed a beat post-op. The most rewarding part of being a mature and female rider is being able to ride with our son and grandson — 3 generations on the hill. True — I don’t do rails or kicks but I can ride side by side with them and watch the 10-year-old progress. I also get the occasional “thumbs up” from the lifties — always encouraging.

    Hope you give it a try at least … you may surprise yourself AND your BIL.

  15. Neil says:

    Started at 42 and had never been on snow before. Now I can’t get enough of it.

  16. Ramsey says:

    Go for it! I took up snowboarding as a 52-year-old female! I love it!

  17. James Zueger says:

    Jim Z. says ABSOLUTELY GO FOR IT. I learned in my 50s and have had a blast these last years since retirement (63 now), averaging over 100 days a winter and looking forward to at least another 20 years. You are right on track with the padding. I strongly suggest knee pads (with knee wraps underneath if you have any issues there), hockey pants with extra padding added for backside (to protect kidneys, lower ribs, tailbone, and backside), shoulder pads, wrist guards, and helmet. When you crash, you can laugh and keep on going. No, it is not at all cumbersome. I came across a gentleman in his 80s learning to board. Again, GO FOR IT.

    P.S. If you have back issues and or trouble strapping in, use step-in bindings. If you have knee issues and trouble skating to get on the lift, use a swivel attachment under your binding.

  18. JJohnson says:

    This old gal learned at 58. Fell a LOT and beat myself up. Helmet…check, wrist guards…check… AND homemade padded shorts after bruising my tailbone (sewed neoprene layers into old pair of bike shorts). There is nothing like the flying/floating ride of a snowboard. Hadn’t skied for a couple of decades and never going back. Helped to have a husband and son to cheer me on: lesson? Not so much.

  19. JJohnson says:

    Ditto on Snowboarder Professor videos. Taught me what the lesson should have and didn’t. Do it!

  20. Patti says:

    I was a skier all my life and took up snowboarding at 50. I am now 64 and still snowboarding. I protect my wrists and knees and am thinking of getting some padded shorts in case I fall. Have not fallen for some time. I would not go back to skiing. Love boarding. You can start at any age. Yes, the learning curve takes a while but after about three lessons you will get it. I say give it a try. Never too old to learn.


  21. Lance says:

    Go for it! Everyone has a different experience from learning. Balance is something we automatically adjust to, regardless of age. Just make sure you have the right gear as far as staying warm and/or protection if you think you need it. It gets easier every time. You should also get your brother-in-law to learn too. If you’re near Pennsylvania/Liberty, I have started teaching there recently and would love to help!

  22. Dave says:

    Go for it. I started boarding when I was 48 just for kicks. Boarding is easier in glades and off piste. You can surf over powder and make huge smooth turns. It’s a sensation you can’t get on skis, as JJohnson mentioned “nothing like the flying/floating ride of a snowboard”. I also fully agree with Shannon’s comment: learn in soft snow. Be sure to start with techniques on how to fall properly using forearms when falling forward and tucking your chin into your chest and rolling onto your back when you go down on your tail bone. Also keep that board off the snow when you go down on any steeper slopes to keep it from catching. Check out youtube for a bunch of tips. Take your time and just enjoy getting into the sport at your own pace. A good pair of crash pants when learning will protect you.

  23. Shannon says:

    Dave — please elaborate re: “… keep that board off the snow … to keep it from catching”? Can’t visualize this suggestion …

  24. Dave says:

    Shannon – I was going down a really icy steep ♦ and lost the heel side edge. I started sliding down on my back board first and forgot to bend my knees to get the board in the air. Needless to say, the board caught hard while sliding wrenching my left knee. I always make sure to get the board in the air now once I’m down as a matter of habit.

  25. Shannon says:

    Ouch! Makes sense now. I read “when you go down …” as meaning you were ‘riding down’ – not having fallen down. Good advice. I’m past the point of falling forward/toe side and end up on my butt when I do fall.That forward fall is so sudden and unstoppable I seem to be able to avoid it at this stage …

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