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The Importance of Ski/Snowboard Lessons

May 27, 2021

Written by Isaac Gibson, Programs Coordinator

If you were to ask someone if they have ever skied or snowboarded there are usually two main responses: “Yes, I love skiing. I go every year!” or “I went once and it was so hard. I spent more time on the ground than I did on my skiis.” Over the years, I have learned that people either fall in love and continue riding for nearly the rest of their life, or they have a terrible experience and never do it again. In the end, it all comes down to that first experience, and I highly recommend the first experience being a lesson with a trained instructor.

It’s Like Driving

I describe skiing/snowboarding for the first time like getting in a car to drive for the first time. If you get in with no experience, no one telling you how to properly operate the vehicle, and go straight out onto a busy highway… the result will most always end in an accident. There is a reason why Driver’s Education and behind the wheel instruction is required to get your driver’s license. It’s not because the act of driving is incredible difficult to learn, but rather because of the high level of danger that comes along with it. In the same way, skiing and snowboarding is not that difficult to learn, but if you try without instruction you are probably going to fall a lot and potentially injure yourself or someone else.

Importance of Instruction

Much like driving a car, the better instruction you have and the more time you are able to dedicate to it, the more confident you will be out on the slopes. There is a reason why the average driver can jump into the car and not think twice about driving down the road. It becomes second nature because of how frequently we drive. You can expect the same for the ski slope. After getting the basics down in a lesson, continuously putting in time will increase your skills! Next thing you know, you’ll be skiing top to bottom without thinking about your every move.

In Summary…

Take a lesson, you won’t regret it. You will learn so much quicker and your experience will most likely leave you wanting to come back for more! Once you feel comfortable and confident, go out on your own. If you have something you want to learn and don’t know how, take another lesson!

Go at your own pace! Everyone learns differently and progresses at different rates. So, don’t get discouraged if you take longer to learn something than your friend.

In the end it’s all about having fun! So, make it your own and don’t feel like you have to look like everyone else on the hill.

Once you learn how to do it well, share it! There is nothing better than teaching someone how to ski or snowboard and seeing them fall in love just like you did!

What Even is Snowflex?

July 10, 2020

Written by Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

Snowflex… The Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre. You may have gone up for a fun event, or to go tubing, or to jump on the trampoline. But if you’ve ever skied or snowboarded or even sledded on the eponymous white carpet-y material, you may have wondered, what even is Snowflex?

Snowflex is…

According to the official website of the company that invented the artificial snow surface, Snowflex is made up of six layers from top to bottom:

  • Snowflex composite, sliding component—slick, springy, hard wearing monofilament
  • 2 in.–5 cm. shock absorbing layer
  • Impervious membrane
  • Geotextile separating layer
  • Carefully selected gravel layer
  • Sculpted sub-soil layer

Let’s Break That Down

If you’re like me, you have no idea what a lot of these mean. Thankfully, the Internet is a helpful and easily accessible resource for deciphering some of the more technical terms.

Polymer Composite
The Snowflex composite is made of a material called a polymer composite, which is “a multi-phase material in which reinforcing fillers are integrated with a polymer matrix, resulting in synergistic mechanical properties that cannot be achieved from either component alone.”[1]

Basically, this material is a large number of similar units bonded together at the molecular level (that’s a polymer) that are then mixed with another material (making the composite). All this is made into a monofilament, which is simply a single strand of the man-made fiber, comprised of that polymer composite.

Shock Absorbing Layer
It is unclear what exactly this shock absorbing layer is made of, as there are many materials available for shock absorption, but I would imagine it is some kind of foam material, to cushion the slope.

Impervious Membrane
The impervious membrane is a thin material that water cannot get through, so the water from the BritonMist lubrication system stays on the top layers and keeps the ground below from becoming too water-saturated.
This membrane is also used for recycling water that keeps the slope slick. When the water from the BritonMist system is sprayed onto the slope, it runs down onto the membrane and back to the piping mechanism to be reused on the slope.

Geotextile
A geotextile is a type of permeable fabric that helps separate, filter, reinforce, protect, and drain the soil beneath it. The geotextiles used for Snowflex make up a woven layer that helps prevent earth movement as people ski and snowboard on it. This is better for the environment because it creates limited disturbance, so the soil stays healthy.

Gravel Layer
The carefully selected gravel layer works with the geotextile layer to provide texture to the soil which prevents sliding and erosion.

Sculpted Subsoil Layer
The sculpted subsoil layer determines the lay of the land for the slope, including hills, bumps, and curves.

In Simpler Terms

If that explanation was still so much more than you ever wanted to know about your favorite artificial snow surface, here are the (very basic) basics. From top to bottom, Snowflex is made of:

  • White carpet
  • Foam
  • Stuff that keeps water in upper layers
  • Woven fabric
  • Gravel
  • Soil

Benefits of Snowflex

There have been many ski surface inventions over the last fifty years, but Snowflex is recognized as the artificial snow surface that is the closest replication of snow. Previous synthetic materials came out of the brush, plastic, or carpet industry, but Snowflex was designed specifically for skiers and snowboarders.

Besides the obvious benefits of year-round usability and the ability to be built anywhere, Snowflex has many other perks:

  • Low carbon footprint compared to a refrigerated building
  • Softer to fall on than hard packed snow
  • Slopes can be built on land that might otherwise be unusable for building
  • Maximum forward speed and extra edge control for turning
  • Ability to create adventurous and interesting terrain and stunt formations

      Fun Facts

      In case you’re still curious about this mystery material on the mountain, here are three more fun facts about Snowflex:

      • Must be installed by the company that designed and manufactured it (Briton Engineering Developments Ltd—they’re British!)
      • Suggested replacement time about every ten years
      • BritonMist water spraying system mists water at a particular droplet size, giving maximum effect with minimum water usage

      Now you can impress all your friends with your hi-tech knowledge of Snowflex! And of course you have to come visit to check it out yourself!

          How to Up Your Ping-Pong Game

          July 2, 2020

          Written by Tanner Hoffarth, Marketing Employee

          I’ve been wanting to take my ping pong game from 0-100 so I can ace my friends and family in some friendly competition. After doing a bit of research, I found some tips and tricks on how to up your ping pong game that you can take to the table.

          First Things First: Spin

          Spin in the game of ping-pong is essential. As a beginner, it can come off as very daunting but once understood can improve your play immensely. In ping-pong there are many different forms of spin, but right now we will cover the top three techniques.

          Topspin
          The first spin and the most common out of them all is topspin. Topspin can make the ball seem as if it is attracted to the table and can be a great way to keep the ball low on the bounce.

          Backspin
          The second spin that is great to learn to up your game is backspin. Backspin is a great way to begin to layer your strategy because when done well, it can completely change the speed of the game. When kept low, backspin can make the ball act as if the table is made of ice and slide. When the ball is higher, it can make the ball seem as if it has stuck to the table like glue.

          Sidespin
          The last type of spin is sidespin. Sidespin serves as one that is harder to understand, but once understood can be used in many different forms offering a large variety to your bag of tricks, especially serves.

          Using Your Whole Body

          One of the most common things beginners run into when learning their stroke is how to be consistent and in control. Learning to control and manipulate the ball in the way you want to all starts in the hips. Consistent gameplay happens when utilizing your whole body, almost like a spring. Using your whole body looks like turning your shoulders backward while transferring your weight backward to wind the spring, then releasing in a fluid motion while turning your shoulders back, shifting your weight forward, and striking the ball.

          Use a Consistent Paddle

          Understanding your paddle will take you from a leisure player to some who is serious about the game. Having your own paddle and knowing your paddle will help keep you consistent across the board. Just like you know everything about the back of your hands, your paddle will soon become that. A different paddle is like learning to drive someone else car—you don’t know their blind spots yet, the breaks could be touchy, and parallel parking the car is a nightmare. When it comes to paddles, some are more grippy then others or even different weights. Having your own paddle, you can learn the grip and power so every time you play there are no surprises. If you’re not looking to purchase your own paddle, study and master the ones that we provide in the Montview Game Room!

          Keep it Low

          Last but not least, the height at which you serve or return the ping pong ball matters. The lower you keep the ball, the less of an angle you create for your opponent to return with power. However, not all cases are good to keep it low.

          Now that you’re ready to step up your ping-pong game, we look forward to seeing you in the Fall in the Montview Game Room!

              Facilities Series: Snowflex

              May 15, 2020

              Written By Victoria Dissmore, Marketing Employee

              Most students think of Snowflex as “that place up the mountain super far away that only snowboarders, skiers, and CFAW go to”, but Snowflex is truly the hidden gem of campus! Take an On-Demand Ride or use the sidewalk up the mountain (it’s only a 10 minute walk!), and you’ll discover that there’s something for everyone.

              Skiing and Snowboarding

              Maybe you’re a seasoned snow-sports athlete, or maybe you’ve never strapped into a snowboard or a pair of skis. Snowflex is here to accommodate you and all your skiing and snowboarding dreams!

              For beginners, there is a smaller slope below the lodge and instructors available during all operating hours to teach you everything you need to know for your first successful ride down the slope. Did we mention lessons are entirely free for students as well?

              Above the lodge, there is a 550-foot main slope where you can cruise the thirty-second ride down or hit some of the built-in features to practice your tricks.

              The Snowflex staff will be happy to assist you with any help you need on either slope or answer any questions you might have. Don’t be afraid to come on up and hit the slopes, whether you’re a beginner, an expert, or somewhere in between. Everyone is welcome!

              Tubing

              If strapping your feet to plastic and zooming down a hill isn’t your cup of tea, we also offer tubing all year round. This is a fun, easy way to blast down the mountain that all ages and skill levels can enjoy!

              Slope operators will guide you to the top of your chosen tubing run and give you a push to get you going. All you have to do is stay seated and enjoy the ride!  If you’ve never been up to Snowflex but are looking for an outdoor activity on a gorgeous, sunny day, we highly recommend the tubing run!

              Sledding

              That’s right, no need to wait for snow or CFAW mats. You can go sledding up at Snowflex any time of the year! The smaller slope below the lodge has a designated space apart from the skiers and snowboarders where you can go sledding anytime. We provide the sleds and the slope, and you bring the fun.

              Olympic Trampoline

              Another one of the unique offerings at Snowflex is the Olympic trampoline next to the beginner slope below the lodge. This isn’t your typical backyard trampoline. Keep jumping and you’ll see just how high you can go! Bring your friends to show off your tricks and flips, but only one person is allowed to jump at once. You get the whole trampoline to yourself!

              Barrick-Falwell Lodge

              If none of the activities interest you, come visit Snowflex for the breathtaking views of Lynchburg and its surrounding mountains from the lodge balcony. They’re also in the process of adding an outdoor fire pit which is perfect for a relaxing autumn night with friends!

              Inside the lodge:

              • couches for studying
              • a large community table (this will occasionally be reserved for an event)
              • a fireplace to warm up by in the winter
              • drip coffee from The Muse Coffee Co. and other snacks for sale at concessions
              • Snowflex branded merchandise
              • taxidermy Virginia wildlife on display
              • a relaxed atmosphere with music – just like a coffee shop!

              The Barrick-Falwell Lodge is definitely a hidden gem on campus. If you love a coffee shop atmosphere, we highly recommend coming up to Snowflex to get away from the bustle of campus and have a quiet place to do work or chill with friends.

              If you’re injured or physically handicapped, you can still access the lodge through our entrance from the side parking lot and newly built elevator.

              Snowflex really does have something for everyone, and everything at Snowflex is free for students! Whether you want to snowboard, ski, tube, sled, jump on the trampoline, or chill in the lodge, you can do it all for free. The staff can help direct you to wherever you want to go, and there’s plenty of seating for studying upstairs.

              So what are you waiting for? Come visit us today!