I vividly remember my first season snowboarding – I was pretty terrified considering I had no background whatsoever in any board-related sport and got a little discouraged from after spending my first day stamping my ass repeatedly on the snow. Yes, you’ll tire easily from falling and exerting extra energy to get back up on your board (hello, sit-ups) but put in enough hours (read: days) and you’ll slowly get the hang of it.
Anyway, imagine my relief when I first heard of First Traxx – an indoor skiing and snowboarding training centre right here in Petaling Jaya. Oh, how I wished I this place had existed before I popped my snowboarding cherry in Niseko last year! But it’s cool, y’know, since this year I can train (more like, get my first official lesson) here to prep for season two
since last year I was too broke to get classes from a pro in Japan. Hoorah!
For those curious on what’s it like to practise on an indoor terrain to prep for a real snow-covered slope, here’s a few things you need to know before making your white carpet debut at First Traxx.
How much: RM159 (before GST)
How long: 1 hour session
1. It’s NOT like real snow
First things first, before you assume this magical white carpet is a close simulation of real snow, let’s set the record straight: it is not. In fact, the artificial slope is made of a synthetic turf-like material – think fake grass carpet but a white (and wet) version – that functions like a treadmill. The speed and incline of the slope are adjustable based on your level/ability and there is a remote control that the instructor can use to bring it to a stop at any point in time.
2. But it’s great for polishing your technique
Since this terrain is not as soft as the real deal (sorry, no powder to cushion those falls), you can expect more friction on this moving belt. In other words, it’s less forgiving – edge your board slightly more than you intend to and be prepared to fall on your face/ass. But fret not, as mentioned earlier, the instructor is able to anticipate this and may stop the slope immediately. On the bright side, this forces you to work harder on getting your technique right, thus prepping you much more for gliding on real snow.
Bonus: There are safety bars that’ll make you feel a lot more comfortable and there’s even a mirror so you can watch your form – two essentials you won’t get on the real slopes!
3. Each session permits you 30 minutes on the slope
Though one session is an hour-long, you’ll only be getting 30 minutes on the slope, with the first half hour focused on getting strapped up with the right board, boots and other safety equipment before you take on the white carpet. Slope time is then divided into three 10-minute intervals. Depending on individual ability, the instructor will assess and guide you to improve your skills. For me, here’s what I practised during my time on the slope:
First 10 mins: heel side + turns; gliding down sans holding the bar
Second 10 mins: toe side + turns; starting from the bar on top of incline
Third 10 mins: Falling leaf on heel side and toe side; linking heel side & toe side turns
If you feel like 30 minutes on the slope is not enough, let me just say that…
4. You WILL get tired after each 10-minute interval
Don’t be fooled, snowboarding is tougher than it looks. It’s reaaally tiring! I found myself sweating within the first interval itself – but don’t worry, that’s what the intervals are for. You’ll get a break in between each session to rest and recover before you continue again.
5. It’s WAY cheaper than taking lessons on the real slopes
At RM159 for an hour session at First Traxx, it’s definitely waaay cheaper than what you’d have to fork out on the real slopes. In Niseko, I browsed around for lessons and they usually come up to approximately RM500 per hour for a private lesson – that’s about three times more!
Tip: It gets busy during weekends, so if you’re able to pop by First Traxx on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to score a one-on-one session with the instructor!
So, if you need an introduction to snowboarding for the first time or simply need a refresher before you tackle the slopes again, trust First Traxx to put you on the right track – sure, it’s infinity slope means there’s less room for mistakes, but it sure as hell will push you to perfect your technique to utmost precision!
Address: First Traxx, UG-3A, Block D, Axis Business Park, No. 10, Jalan Bersatu 13/4, 46200, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Contact number: 03-7932 3303
Post-Niseko-trip note: I noticed tremendous improvement on my first couple of days back on the slopes of Hirafu in Niseko – I was definitely picking up much more speed as I made my turns and managed to perform smooth S-turns once I was at an incline I was comfortable with, which was my goal this year.
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