Snowboarding With Jo Chastneyby Toni
LoveGirls can't resist the opportunity to do some glamorous reporting so we jumped on plane with a load of snowboard equipment and went to Whistler in Canada for some downhill action. Ok, so we're lying we went to Xscape in Leeds, but its almost as good as the real thing.
It's real snow, real lifts & real people throwing themselves down an ski slope. We took one gullible model, attached a snowboard to her and laughed as we pushed her down the hill with arms and legs flailing.
Luckily we also had a pro-boarder to catch her at the bottom in the shape of Jo Chastney, so a hospital visit was thankfully averted!
Xscape Leeds is one of only 2 real snow slopes in England, and all we can say is, you'll struggle to find a better day out. Even if you don't have gear of your own, they'll hire it to you for a very reasonable price. They also provide a generous choice of classes from absolute beginner to more advanced one-on-one tuition.
In between picking our model Steph up, we asked Jo about competition boarding and what goes through her mind while she's catching some air.
What's your impressions of the Xscape indoor slope?
I really liked the Xscape Castleford. The learner slope is an ideal length and steepness, gota be a better word than that! And I think it's really good that it was opposite the main slope. So when you're learning you can see what you are aiming for. And watching others, better than you pushes you.
And Steph, what do you think of her....... performance?
Steph was amazing! I pleasure to teach and not just because of her concentration face. I thought it might be a bit of a struggle as usually quite girly girls tend to be a bit wussy and just unable! But she picked up so quickly, obviously we had a short time so she didn't have the chance to pick it up completely but it would only taken a couple more hours for her to get it. Some people takes a whole weeks holiday in the alpes.
What would be your top tip for anyone wanting to get into professional snowboarding?
Hmm top tip, well it takes a lot of time and effort an usually hospital bills, so prepare for all of that. It doesn't happen over night. Learning tricks and landing them clean when you have to, for example, in a competition, photoshoot, video shooting, takes a lot of practice. Also getting to know the British scene, you have to be pretty out going as you are not just a snowboarder at the end of the day, you are a representative of that/those brands.
Is it quite an expensive sport to get involved in?
It can be. A lot of people assume it is, and think it is something you have to pay a lot to go on holiday for. But thanks to the snow domes and dryslopes that's not the case anymore. You can hire equipment instead of buying it, and go foe a lesson at your local slope. That's probably about £40, you could go all out and spend thousands going to America / Canada or Europe. Although there are some pretty good budget holidays available too. If you do want to go abroad, it's always worth checking around on the internet or getting a snowboard magazine and checking what's good in there.
And somewhat dangerous, I hear you are recovering from an injury?
Yes, I snapped my ACL in May and just getting back on my snowboard now. It is very common to break stuff, but I suppose it's a good thing, proves that I'm pushing myself, trying to get some good out of it!!
I don't want to scare people of trying it, it's only because I'm going very fast in the air upside down, backwards, spinning etc and if it goes a bit wrong, well I'm bound to have a few scuffs!
When do you expect to be competition fit?
Depending on how the knee goes, I'm hoping February, but there's not many comps in February so I'm hoping to get on some magazine trips, which for me are way more fun than competitions!
How do you prepare yourself physically for a competition?
I would start to prepare for a competition maybe a month before, I would like to take a new trick to a comp, so I would have to keep practicing that trick until I can do it without really thinking about it. If I don't have time I would practice all my harder tricks.
Try to find out what the course is like and have maybe 4 runs that I could do, usually I would only have to do 2 or 3. Just to be safe! Practice practice practice! The week of the competition I would take it a bit easier, not wanting to injure myself! Eat, sleep and drink properly.
What goes through your mind when you are 'catching some air'?
Not a lot to be honest! Unless I know I'm going to eat shit, then I might scream a bit and think about the softest way to land on my head. Usually all the thought happens before you drop in for the jump and on your way in as you need to think about your board and body position.
Where is your favorite place in the world to snowboard?
I'm going back this year for my third season in Morzine, France, which I love. A lot of my friends are there, the snowboarding is amazing, there are some super parties and it's in a good position in the Alpes for access to other places. I would love to go to America and Canada though which I'm hoping to do either the end of this season or next.
Where do you hang out when you are not snowboard?
Do you mean when I'm away or home? When I'm away, in the local bar! When I'm home, in the local bar. No, I'm back home in Bournemouth. But I try to go all over in my van, Roger, he loves a road trip. Especially, Devon and Cornwall for some surf, and Brighton and London for parties and other things!
Are you a snowangel or a snowdevil?
I would say angel, everyone who know's me would go, "yeh right, you would say that."
Want to give it a go?
If you haven't Snowboarded before and you would like to give it a try then why not hit the slopes at Xscape in either Leeds or Milton Keynes. The rental gear is fine whilst you're falling on your ass but the minute you get good enough for the slopes you need to look the part, Steph was wearing the following items by Bonfire;
(Jacket) Tundra Plain Weave Chroma Jacket, (Trousers) Mood Pants, (Gloves) Echo Mittens, (Board) Lotus Board, (Bindings) Relay Series, (Boots). All items are available from your nearest Bonfire dealer.