Have you ever thought about snowboarding or skiing, but never quite had the guts to try it? Or are you put off by what it might cost? In fact, as the popularity of boarding soars, it’s never been so cheap and easy to get out and have a go. Here in Scotland we’ve got a cracking snow scene. Glamorous? Not a chance. On your doorstep? Definitely. Just a hop, skid and a jump north takes you to a sub- zero world of riders, kickers, bladers and bumpers. Over the next five pages we highlight the people, the places, the gear, the lifestyle and the know-how that lie at the heart of snow sports in Scofland.

18 THE LIST (it) Oct 11% Nov 2003

Superstar Lesley McKenna (left), slalom skier Noel Baxter (right) and Boardwise bigwig Marty Hughes

(far right)

The professionals

To kick start this flurry of wintry activity we profile three people who have found their snow legs and never looked back. Words: Maureen Ellis

t's never too late to learn. squawk the optimists.

You can't teach an old dog new tricks. dictate the

rnorose pessirnistrc camp. So who to believe? If. like me. you weren't among the blessed rich kids at school who trilled on about salopettes and parallel turns to the bewilderment and envy of classmates. then you'll err on the Cynical side when it comes to trying out snow sports. It's too cold. wet sore, difficult delete as applicable.

But it doesn't have to be like that. Sure. you get athletes who tested their Bambi-on-ice moves as soon as they COuld walk. but skiers and boarders come from all backgrounds. Naff as it undoubtedly sounds. it's just a case of givrng it a shot to see what suits. Try these three professions on for size.

THE SNOWBOARDER Lesley McKenna is the David Beckham of

the snow sports world. Last year she became the first British person to win an Alpine World Cup. Not bad for someone who only took up snowboarding at 2 1. Eight years on. she‘s a boarder at the very top of her game who competed in the 2002

Winter Olympics.

The competitive season doesn't begin until late November. but McKenna. on a break from training in Germany. is talking excitedly about recording for her girls' snowl)oarding film. Dr'opsfrfc/r. "We've got an ama/ing slam section already' she says of the moves gone wrong. ‘Which isn't so good for the rest of the film. but it definitely shows that we're tryingf

Pushing the boundaries of the sport rs something that McKenna relishes. Metal rails are her current nemesis and she's working on perfecting a ‘backside 5340 in the pipe'. It sounds complicated. ‘l- very time you go out riding, like next week when I'm in Switzerland. the sport will move on,’ she explains. ‘Especially on the girls' side. A girl Will try a new trick that's never been done before. So in any one day the sport can advance in leaps and bounds. t-xhich is so excrting.‘

The Inverness—born boarder has done much to raise the profile of the sport in Scotland. In addition to her docu-flick. she's an ambassador for VisrtScotland. and is about to kick some athletic butt on BBC's Superstars fans 12 Now » not quite the stereotypical slacker snowboarder.

Still. there's always time for fun on tour. ‘lhe nicest thing is when I've got a day off and I can Just go freeriding for the day With some friends in a beautiful place wrth beautiful powder snow and Just really enioy the sport that I'm involved in. That's the best bu//.'