Late fall, winter, and early spring are the best times to engage in some of the best winter activities. There are so many things to do, from snowshoeing and snowboarding, to cross-country skiing and sledding with the family. We aren’t bears, people, so there’s no need to hibernate when the weather is cold. If the snow is falling, it’s best to head out onto the slopes.
In the latest episode of The Adventures of V-Man, our content writer, Vinnie, went snowboarding. Was this all fun and games? It sure looks that way in the video, but as Vinnie explains, there are many health benefits associated with snowboarding. It’s not just a popular winter sport! You can reap many cardiovascular and strength training benefits, all the while improving flexibility. You know what? Let Vinnie tell you all about that.
Snowboarding At Mt. Baldy
One of the best things about living in Southern California is that you can snowboard in the morning and end up in the ocean later that same day. You can travel one or two hours outside of Los Angeles and experience great snow and mountainous regions. When I decided to go snowboarding, I chose Mt. Baldy, which is slightly north of Upland, CA. It’s a popular site for hikers, offering many trails that ascend the mountains. During the winter, though, a small resort with four chairlifts remains operational.
Snowboarding at Mt. Baldy Ski Resort is like traveling back in time. The older, wooden, two-person chairlifts move slower than the quicker ones at newer resorts. The hills are quiet, the air is fresh, and there aren’t a lot of people on the trails. During COVID-19, Mt. Baldy regulated ticket sales, capping tickets to a limited number of people. Showing up without a pre-paid lift ticket was not an option, so I made sure to secure my ticket way ahead of time. The mountain staff was incredibly COVID-safe, encouraging mask wearing on the lifts, mountain, and in the lodge area.
I’m a long-time snowboarder, so I enjoy any chance I get to fly down the open face of a mountain. Cruising the mountain’s curves and navigating my way through unfamiliar terrain is challenging, thrilling, and fun. The day I went to Mt. Baldy was a gorgeous sunny day, as is evident in the video. The snow was mediocre at best, but I made it my mission to have fun regardless of snow quality. There were lots of icy spots, dirt patches, and slushy areas, but that didn’t stop me from having a blast!
Does Snowboarding Have Health Benefits?
I’m so glad you asked. Snowboarding is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise! I know I don’t look winded in the video, but trust me when I tell you that you burn some serious calories while on the slopes. My quads, glutes, and calves were on fire after several runs, but that’s all part of the experience. It’s very easy to burn up to 400 calories per hour while snowboarding, but this varies when it comes to the intensity.
Snowboarding also helps to improve flexibility and strength. It’s a workout that targets the lower body, so you get to build leg strength. Additionally, snowboarding engages the core, which helps to improve overall balance. Snowboarding also helps to limber you up. ALWAYS STRETCH BEFORE YOU STRAP UP ON A BOARD! Snowboarding requires that you put the body in different positions than the ones we are familiar with. When riding down the slopes, the body must be able to move freely and swiftly. Reduce your chance of injury by continuing to stretch before and after every session.
My Favorite Part Of Snowboarding
This answer has been the same since I caught my first air as a teenager. It has to be the brief moment of flight between the time when you take off from a jump and when you land. It’s every child’s dream to fly, so my time in the air slows down. Everything happens so quickly, yet that suspended air time seems to move so slowly. I know that doesn’t make 100% sense, but that’s the way it feels.
I also love the fact that snowboarding is all about mental gymnastics. You are completely invested in the moment and there is no time for distractions. I’m not worried about checking my texts or scrolling through Instagram. My head is on a swivel, constantly looking in all directions to ensure that I don’t hit someone or something. Now, you don’t start out like that because the main focus when you’re starting out is standing up. Once you are able to stand up, stop, and turn down the mountain, you become more aware of your involvement with the rest of the people on the mountain. It’s a sport that involves constant learning, so you never get bored. I can carve the same hill all day long and never lose interest. There’s always a different line, approach, or maneuver to do.
At the end of my snowboarding adventure, I was absolutely exhausted. My legs were on fire, I was out of breath, and my feet were sweaty. It was wonderful. I took all my gear off at the bottom of the mountain, loaded up the car, and wound my way down the hairpin turns that lead back to Los Angeles.
Mt. Baldy is a great one-day excursion if you live in the Greater Los Angeles Area. Even if you don’t go snowboarding, embrace nature, enjoy the fresh air, and experience Mt. Baldy.