Mountain boarding, what’s this? I hear you say. Also known as All-Terrain Boarding, mountain boarding is an extreme sport based on snowboarding, that involves riding a board with four wheels down an off-road hill or mountain. Luckily for me, you don’t need any kind of boarding experience to have a go at this activity, so when Ride the Hill invited us to have a beginner’s session in Surrey, I headed over with an open mind.
We drove down on Saturday morning to meet our instructor, Alison, at the Redhill location (‘we’ being me, Robb, Luke and Abby). After signing our lives away on a waiver, we got kitted out in elbow, knee and wrist pads, and sturdy helmets. The session starts on flat ground with an introduction to the boards, we had our feet strapped in and were shown the correct way to fall over (it’s inevitable so you might as well do it properly). Heading up to the nursery slope, we had our first experience of rolling down the hill, then crouching and grabbing the board to ‘power-slide’ to a halt.
Although we all fell over several times, it didn’t take long to start getting a feel for the boards, and we were soon moving up to the big-boy slope for more speed and distance. Orange cones were placed at various points down the hill to form a slalom course, so if you didn’t want to end up in the trees, you had to really perfect your heel and toe turns!
Lugging a mountain board up a hill is quite hard-work, so as we moved the start point higher, we were introduced to the drag-lift for easy travelling. The lift does exactly what it says on the tin, you stand on your board at the bottom of the hill and grab a metal pole attached to a cable that drags you upwards – it’s actually quite fun! The hardest part is making sure you don’t roll back down when you reach the top…
Alison soon realised we were well on our way to becoming pro mountain-boarders, so she left us to it for some individual practice time. Feeling brave, we headed up to the very top of the hill and tried riding from there. Robb was the only one who made it to the bottom without falling off/stopping halfway, but we all gave it a good go! We also walked round to the more extreme hills, and watched the pros doing their jumps and tricks.
After a few more runs down the hill, our experience came to a close. Mountain boarding is a fun, exciting and adventurous activity for people of all ages – a definite must for the bucket list! Huge thanks to Ride the Hill for inviting us along and providing fantastic instruction – now, where’s the Deep Heat?