Why I’ll never go snowboarding again!

Why I’ll never go snowboarding again!

Snowboarding has long been a bucket list item for me. I’ve always wanted to experience gliding down a snow-covered mountain at top speeds, feeling the wind against my face and the sense of unique exhilaration that winter sports give you. That was until I tried it. Here’s why I’ll never go snowboarding again!


Why snowboarding

The question isn’t, “why snowboarding?”, the question is “why NOT snowboarding??”.

From being really little I’ve always thought snowboarding was just the coolest thing EVER! Images of snowboarders flying down snowy mountainsides looked like pure adrenaline and I wanted IN!

I grew up as an expat kid in the Middle East so I was much more acquainted with sand than I was snow!

I had probably seen snow a handful of times in my life before I returned to the UK at 17. Which only added to my determination to become an effortlessly cool snowboarder of course!

Growing up, my parents were typical expat sun-worshippers. They had no interest in winter destinations. Having spent most of their lives feeling the brunt of the awful British weather, I couldn’t blame them.

When I eventually returned the UK I found myself steering away from cold winter destination too in favour for city breaks and escapes to the sunshine!

But snowboarding was still on my bucket list.

Snowboarder flying in the air coming off a large snowy mound

Snowboarding Taster session

In my twenties as I was building my career, taking a snowboarding holiday just didn’t seem like a financially viable option.

The closest I got to the beautiful ski slopes of the French Alps was at the Chill Factore in Manchester. Although it does boast the longest indoor ski slope in the UK – so there’s that I guess! 😂

After showing an interest in trying snowboarding, a family member thoughtfully bought me a taster session at the Chill Factore one Christmas. This included a one hour lesson where you get to grips with the board and practise some foundational skills.

I naively presumed I would be sailing down the main slope within the first lesson. They made it look so easy, how hard could it be?

In reality I could still barely stand up on the board even after an hour! It feels completely unnatural to have your feet strapped onto a board on a slippery surface.

As a beginner, if you start to fall, your only options are to fall back onto your backside or fall forward onto your hands.

There’s nothing and no one to grab onto and God help you if you’re on a slight slope and have started to build some traction before that fall!

I obviously didn’t enjoy the session that much as I didn’t try snowboarding again for another four years…

Whatever I thought I had absorbed skill-wise in that taster session was well gone by the time I came to my next lesson. Which is where things went horribly, horribly wrong.

Mel wearing a pink jacket, black pants  and helmet snowboarding down the mountain up close

Post-lockdown fun

Four years after I had the taster session I decided to give snowboarding another go. My boyfriend was keen to try it for the first time and so I thought it would make a great birthday present.

The only snag of choosing this birthday to go snowboarding was that the UK was only just out of lockdown. So there was a chance that his birthday could get cancelled if covid cases went up and everywhere was forced to shut again.

But we were both dying to get out of the house (as everyone the world over was!), eager to get active and feel normal again. So we pushed ahead with the booking and I paid for us to do a full day of snowboarding.

Luckily it didn’t get cancelled but we still had to wear masks. Now don’t get wrong, I was a diligent mask wearer during the pandemic. But when you’re snowboarding up and down slopes all day and getting out of breath, your face mask becomes a small, hot torture chamber attached to your face!

Regardless though, we were excited to go snowboarding!

Point of view of legs and feet in a snowboard with snow all over the board

“What a great idea for a present!”

We had such a great time learning to snowboard at first! We had a lovely and patient instructor who taught us the basics and took us up and down the snowboarding slope so we could practise balancing and learning to fall correctly.

One thing was for sure though – I’d totally forgotten how exhausting snowboarding is! Especially when you consider, we’d just spent almost two years in lockdown stuck at home.

We were both lacking fitness and unaware of all the new muscles you’re required to use when you go snowboarding! But we were troupers and just kept going up and down the slope. The more you practise, the better you’ll get after all!

After eight hours of snowboarding we were absolutely knackered! But I didn’t want to lose any time in the session. Who knew when we’d be able to go snowboarding again.

So with 10 minutes to go we decided to try one last run to see if we were could snowboard unassisted from the top of the slope to the bottom without falling down.

I should never have gone on that last run.

Mel taking a selfie on the escalator that takes you to the top of the slope wearing a black helmet and face mask and pink jacket

The last run

I was already physically exhausted when I went to attempt that last run.

But as usual I wanted to challenge myself and with the clock ticking I thought I’d just have “one more go” to see if I could put everything I had learned into practise.

As your feet are attached to a heavy wood board all day, you find yourself falling down when learning to snowboard – A LOT. My tailbone was sore AF from falling directly onto my backside all day as you naturally fall back instead of forwards to protect your face.

So there I go, all full of hope and determination that this is the very last run of the day and I’m going to prove to myself that I can snowboard to the end and not fall down.

As I confidently teetered over the edge of the slope and felt the bite point of the momentum, I leaned in and balanced myself for an epic final run.

Person falling on their snowboard and reaching out to grab something wearing all black and the ski centre in the background

The accident

I glided down the slope and I thought, “I can do this – look at me go!”.

But as I gained more and more momentum I found myself starting to panic about the inevitable “end” to this run. Despite this, the training kicked in and I started to gently ‘break’ with the board as I approached the end of the slope.

For anyone who hasn’t been snowboarding this involves gently leaning your entire body weight backwards without falling or snagging any snow that would cause you to go flying. This is all whilst you’ve got both feet strapped onto the board and you’re in full momentum!

I knew as soon as I tried to break that I had too much momentum and I was going to fall. But due to the pain in my tailbone from falling backwards all day, I went to fall forwards.

I instinctively put both arms out as I reached the end of the run, falling forwards at almost full speed and *SNAP*. My left arm went totally limp and I fell face down into the snow.

I almost threw up from the shot of adrenaline that surged through my body. I’d never felt pain like it. I let out a blood-curdling scream and started having an anxiety attack as I couldn’t catch my breath with the sweat-soaked face mask over my mouth.

My feet were still attached to the snowboard as I lay there face down in a panic unable to clip myself out of the heavy helmet rattling around on my head.

Snowboarders practising from the point of view of the top of the slope

Going to A+E during Covid

As I pulled myself up from the snow, holding my left arm and sobbing, I knew it was broken.

The awkward thing now was getting out of there and getting to A+E.

We didn’t have a car so we had to rely on the kindness of a taxi driver who would be willing to take us to the emergency room.

For anyone who doesn’t know, many taxi drivers will refuse to take passengers to A+E as it’s a risk for them if anything happens to you whilst you’re in their car.

Luckily we managed to get an Uber fairly quickly and the driver was more than happy to take us.

Now, remember what I said about this being in a newly post-lockdown era in the UK? Well, if you thought going to A+E was a miserable affair in “normal” times, let me tell you it’s damn right scary during a pandemic.

I wasn’t allowed to take anyone into A+E with me. So I had to walk in on my own, sobbing, trying to string sentences together about what had happened as well as provide the personal details they needed. I was a mess.

I then had to sit on my own, socially distanced and wait to be called in a chaotic emergency reception.

All I could think about was how much pain I was in. I also couldn’t believe I still had the energy (and hydration!) left in me to still be crying over an hour after the initial accident!

I settled in for the long A+E wait.

Emergency Department sign outside a UK hospital

The diagnosis

To my great surprise I wasn’t sat in A+E for long at all. I got called to have my blood taken (which is standard when you arrive in A+E just in case the doctors need to do further tests later on) and then referred for an x-ray.

I wandered down to the Radiologist department, waited again and then went in to see what the damage was.

The Radiologist who took my x-ray was so nice! He was around my age and put me at ease sharing stories of his own mishaps on the slopes.

I know this is weird but it made me feel a million times better hearing injury stories worse than mine!

“Ah – there you go” he said. “What’s the damage?” I replied. “Your arm is fractured from here, to here”, as he pointed along my forearm. “You’ll need a cast so I’ll refer you to the fracture clinic”.

At this point I was still in absolute agony but as soon as I arrived in the fracture clinic they gave me codeine. And let me tell you! The bloody sun came out and a rainbow formed over right my head as that bad boy took affect.

I went from being a psycho, clutching at my U-bend of an arm, in floods of tears to cracking jokes with the nurses on the way out.

That’s the magic of meds!

I’ve never been more thankful for the NHS in my life. My friend Vicky from Florida told me that without health insurance in the States the cost of diagnosis and treatment for a broken arm would generally run up to $2,500 or more!

Had I been in the States I would have been thrown into debt. Thank God for our NHS.

Mel's arm up close all bruised in the hospital

Spending Christmas in a cast

After my diagnosis, I was sent home with a temporary sling and some pain killers and told I would be contacted about coming back into hospital to have a cast put on.

It was 5th December, so regardless of when the appointment was I was spending Christmas and New Year’s in a cast.

When I eventually went in to have my cast put on, I chose red. It seemed appropriate to pick a festive colour. If I was stuck in a cast over Christmas I thought I might as well lean into the theme!

The irony of finishing an already sh*t year with a fractured arm wasn’t lost on me. Clearly 2020 wasn’t quite done with me and saw an opportunity when I walked into that ski centre!

Before I bought my house I would usually go back to Liverpool to see my family for Christmas. I’d get the train from Manchester Piccadilly with an extra big suitcase filled with presents and whatever gift bags wouldn’t fit in it and drag everything from Manchester across Liverpool city centre before getting a connecting train to the suburbs.

It sucks to not have a car but when it’s only Christmas time you miss having one it’s probably best to stick to the train!

In the end one of my family members took pity on me and came to pick me and all the presents up.

I physically couldn’t drag the suitcase and bags with one arm on the train so they must of really wanted their presents! *Jokes, obviously fams if you’re reading this 😂*.

Mel smiling wearing a red top and pointing to her arm in a red cast with a Christmas tree behind her

new year in lockdown

Christmas with the cast wasn’t that bad in the end. It wasn’t painful, just awkward only being able to use one hand.

The worst of it is resisting to itch when your arm gets hot and sweaty inside the cast and having to bathe with one arm out the tub so it doesn’t get wet.

There was also the small matter of me interviewing to get out of the awful job I was in at the time.

During one interview I had to do a timed exercise, writing a national campaign plan for the new organisation typing with one hand!

Luckily I got the job so it was all meant to be in the end – fractured arm or not!

On 5th January, a month to the day I first went into A+E I had my cast off. It was so weird.

Your arm comes out of the cast like jelly. It feels like it’s not even attached to your body as you’ve been so used to using just the one arm.

Thankfully it was the left arm that was fractured as I’m right-handed. But it still took a good year before I had full strength in the fractured arm again.

Mel walking by the art gallery in Liverpool with colourful block artwork behind her covering her cast arm with a blue coat

Final thoughts on snowboarding

I still think that snowboarding is the coolest thing ever! However, it’ll come as no surprise that I’ll never go snowboarding again! 😂

Obviously I acknowledge that there were several factors that increased my chances of injury. The lack of fitness post-lockdown, the exhaustion from eight hours of snowboarding and the pain in my tailbone that resulted in me falling forwards onto my hands instead of backwards.

But aside from fracturing my arm I don’t think snowboarding is for me.

For a start it took me a long time to grasp the fundamentals of the sport, leading to frustration and several falls both times I tried it.

I found the physical demands of snowboarding unrewarding too, unlike when I take part in running races or go mountain climbing.

I love getting an adrenaline rush from extreme sports such as white water rafting, ziplining and abseiling. Even the thrill of experiencing the highest and fastest rollercoasters! I just don’t get that with snowboarding though.

In addition to the cost of the equipment rental and lessons, snowboarding is not a cheap endeavour either!

Maybe I’ll give skiing a go? At least on skis you have more movement with your feet on separate boards so I’d be less likely to fall whilst learning the foundational skills.

We’ll see – I’m not all that keen either way!

If we’re heading to the ski slopes, you’ll find me in an inflatable tube heading down the mountain, keeping warm by the fire with a hot chocolate or chilling in the hot tub.

But one thing’s for sure, I’ll never go snowboarding again.

Mel giving a thumbs up holding a snowboard, wearing a pink coat, white bobble hat and white gloves


Are there any sports you’ve sworn off before? Let me know in the comments!

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