Snowboarding Lesson First Step Towards Shredding With Friends

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Are you new to Canada and ready to enjoy winter and learn how to ski or snowboard? Our #NewSkiAB series of stories, videos and photos will inspire you to get out on the slopes with your friends and family. Use #NewSkiAB to tag us as you experience Alberta’s winters. 

Eric Wang’s introduction to winter in Canada came during a surprise September blizzard – dubbed Snowmageddon in 2019. Since then, he’s mostly adapted to Alberta’s unpredictable winter weather by taking up skiing and more recently snowboarding.

Growing up in Taiwan, there was no place for skiing in his home country’s sub-tropical climate. But these days you’ll find Wang, 26, skiing single blacks at local mountain resorts. And that confidence on skis is what led him to take his first snowboard lesson at WinSport recently.

Winsport Calgary Alberta NewSkiAB Snowboarding
Photographer: Karl Lee
Eric Wang and a buddy get a snowboarding lesson from Joan Huang at WinSport.

It was a challenge that makes him laugh as he recalls the experience. “I thought it was not a big problem for me to snowboard because I know how to ski, but I was wrong. I was surprised.”

Though there were some spills along the way, Wang says his instructor Joan Huang was there for him the whole way. “Yeah, she was very nice…she tried to help me get better,” he said. “She was pushing me (nicely) to learn more snowboard skills and showing me different techniques to help me.”

Learn more about WinSport’s new skier and snowboarder programs

WinSport Calgary Alberta NewSkiAB Snowboarding
Photographer: Karl Lee
Wang will head back to WinSport for more lessons because it's close to home and it's an easy hill to learn on.

This is Huang’s first year teaching at WinSport, a kind of full-circle experience for the former skier and now all-in snowboarder, who permanently came to Canada in 2012 – and took her first snowboarding lessons at Winsport. She loves meeting new people and is enjoying the private two-person lessons at WinSport this year because of Covid, allowing her to really focus on skill-building for her students.

Having never skied in China, the mother of a teenage boy and girl initially gravitated to skiing but switched to boarding about four years ago. Some days you’ll find her in WinSport’s terrain park working on her gap jumps.

Huang calls her teaching philosophy “mom style.” I have lots of experience teaching kids sports, being with them and guiding them, letting them enjoy the winter fun.”

WinSport Calgary Alberta NewSkiAB Snowboarding
Photographer: Karl Lee
After a two-hour lesson, Wang was up on the board and cruising down the hill.

Her two-hour lesson with Eric and a friend was typical of how she gets people to feel comfortable on a board and on a hill. She begins most of her lessons at the bottom of the hill, just letting her students get their balance and the feel of being on a single board. Sometimes she’ll use a hula hoop in case someone feels like they need something to hang onto.

As for Wang’s lesson, Huang says,” He was awesome. He and his friend are fast learners; they picked it up (balancing) so fast.”

Wang thinks he needs a few more lessons before going solo. “I think I will keep practicing at Winsport,” noting the hill is conveniently close to home and manageable for someone new to boarding like him.

What really motivates him though is that snowboarding “looks really cool.” And of course, he wants to be able to join his friends on the slopes who mostly snowboard.

Want to take a lesson?

SnowSeekers’ #NewSkiAB can get you and your significant other or you and a buddy on the slopes for your first lessons at WinSport. Sign up today for WinSport’s private ski or snowboard lessons and up those skills and your love of winter. There are lots of spaces available for lessons until April 4.

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