So, you’ve seen people snowboarding and have decided that it’s something that you would like to try. Perhaps you have seen some videos of snowboarders or you’ve seen them in the Olympics. Maybe you have watched some boarders when you have been out on the slopes skiing and now you want to try the board. Regardless of the reason, you now need to learn how to snowboard.
The goal of this article is to help you get up to speed on snowboarding and to provide some of the techniques and snowboarding tips that you will want to learn and employ. In addition, we will be talking a bit about safety when it comes to snowboarding, as there are dangers inherent with these types of sports.
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It Looks Deceptively Easy
When you watch someone who really knows what they are doing carve their way down a mountain, it is a thing of beauty. It looks easy enough some people believe they can simply strap a board to their feet and start snowboarding like a pro. However, those who are out there having a good time on the slopes right now had to learn to snowboard properly before they got to the point where they are right now.
This means that when you are learning how to snowboard, it will take time to get to the point where you can do the things that you see others doing. That’s okay. Don’t try to rush it. Take as much time as you need to get comfortable on the board. Build your confidence one step at a time and realize that it will be awkward in the beginning. After all, you are strapping both of your feet to a board, and that will not be a natural feeling when you are getting started.
Consider Taking a Lesson First
In fact, one of the best things you can do when it comes to learning the snowboarding basics is to have some help from a professional instructor. You can work with an instructor at a ski resort or lodge near you, or where you are visiting, to get down the basics. Keep in mind that there are even some places that have indoor slopes, which means lessons will be available all year long. The indoor slopes feature a conveyor belt that provides a simulation that is similar to gliding and sliding.
Lessons will give you a good idea of whether this is the type of hobby that you want to keep pursuing. You can often rent snowboards when you are taking a lesson, so this way, you don’t spend money on a board that you aren’t going to use or enjoy.
You Are Going to Fall
There is no way around it. Everyone who is a beginner on the snowboard is going to fall. In the first few days of learning, there will be quite a few falls. This is all a part of the learning process. You will get to the point where you can balance and stand up on the board without much trouble. Still, there will be times that you fall for one reason or another. If you are averse to falling, then snowboarding is not for you. Fortunately, part of learning how to snowboard for beginners is learning how to fall without getting too hurt.
Before long, you will start to become more confident. You will know how to turn and stop, and you will find that you are falling less and less. The occasional fall might still happen, but they are not as common. In addition, you will get to the point where you aren’t as afraid of falling.
Start Getting in Shape Now
Just because going downhill on a snowboard might look effortless does not mean that it is for just anyone. You will want to make sure that you are in shape before you get out on the mountain. You are going to be doing a lot of work hauling the board around, making all of those turns, and walking. The better condition you are in the easier it will be to board for hours at a time without worry.
Start an exercise plan that has exercises that you can do for your entire body; the upper, lower, and core. Increase your strength and you will find that it is easier to deal with the physical demands of snowboarding for beginners and experienced riders alike.
Begin your fitness plan now, and when you start to learn to snowboard your body will already be in better shape and more equipped to handle the physical demands. This could make learning easier, and you might find that your body does not have quite as many aches and pains as those who simply head out to a lesson on the slopes without trying to get into shape first.
Something else to keep in mind is that even though you might have been getting in shape for a while, there is a difference when you get out on the board. Typically, this means that parts of your body are going to be sore, including your lead leg, neck muscles, and your forearms.
Regular or Goofy?
This doesn’t have anything to do with Disney. Instead, it refers to your stance on the board, and it is something that will be very important to know before you buy a board. If you take a lesson ahead of time, the instructor can work with you to find out which is right for you. The term regular refers to having a board that keeps your left foot forward. If you keep the right foot forward instead, it is considered goofy.
Typically, the foot that you would keep forward if you were to get into boxing stance is the foot that would go forward on the board. Those who are lefthanded are often goofy footed when it comes to their board, but that’s not always the case. This is something that you will have to determine on your own or with the help of an instructor.
Choose the Right Board
One of the most important things that you will need to do when you are contemplating learning to snowboard is to buy a quality board. Sure, you might be able to rent one for a lesson, but you are going to need to have your own board sooner rather than later. Of course, before you are able to get your own board, you should have a good idea of what you need to consider.
First, know that there are a number of different types of boards out there, and they are not all the same. For those who are just getting started, choosing an all-mountain board tends to be the best option. These are the “standard” boards that you will see most of the time. They can provide you with speed and turning ability, but they can still be used for spins and trucks. If you are just starting out and learning to snowboard, then you will want to look at an all-mountain board.
Freeride boards are made so that they will float in powder. They will usually have a wide and long nose along with a short tail. Freestyle boards, also called technical boards, tend to be shorter and wider than all-mountain boards. They are more flexible, too, which means the rider is going to have more control for more precise movements. These tend to be a good option for riding pipes, technical course, and the like. Alpine boards are another option that you can consider. These are longer and thinner than the other boards, and they are built so that they can allow users to built up a lot of experience and provide smooth carving.
Keep in mind that these other boards tend to be aimed at those who are already skilled and not those who are just now learning to snowboard.
You will also want to know a bit about the camber and the rocker of the board. When you put a board down on the snow and observe it from the site, you will notice that they often have different shapes. The middle of a board with a camber rises above the snow, while a rocker, touches the snow in the middle and curves up on the end. There are also flat boards and those that have both a camber and rockers. There are also flat options with rockers.
When you are choosing your board, you also have to think about your own height and weight. Make sure that it is within the manufacturer’s guidelines for the board you are considering. Check the width of the board, as well. You will want to make sure that your feet are not going to be sticking out the sides of the board while you are riding. Those who have large feet can find boards that are wider than normal.
Keep in mind that the first board that you get does not need to be perfect. It should be enough to get you started and to last for a couple of seasons. Once you start to learn more about snowboarding and what you want and need from a board, you will be able to get another board that will suit your more refined riding style.
Get Comfortable with the Basics
When you first get started with snowboarding basics, you need to get used to the equipment you will be using. This means putting on the board. When you are in a sitting position on the flat snow, you will strap in the front foot to the board. Then, learn to walk with one foot on the board. It will be awkward, but it can help you get used to having the board. You will learn to walk forward and uphill in the board. You will then learn to strap in the other foot and to get into a relaxed body stance. Again, when you are just starting out, strapping yourself to the board is going to feel anything but relaxed. You will want to have your knees softly flexed, and you need to make sure that your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles are not locked in a stiff position.
Your arms do not have too much to do at this point. However, if you find that you are having trouble balancing on the board, you could always use them to help with balance. Some of the time, riders will just have them down at their sides, though, as they are learning to stand. Eventually, you will start to use your arms to point in the direction that you are going or that you want to go.
One of the first things you are likely going to learn is a technique called the falling leaf. It is a technique where you learn to slowly slide in one direction and then reverse and slide in the opposite direction. So, instead of going straight down a hill, you will go back and forth, which will slow the descent and give you more of a chance to build your confidence and your control.
After you have learned how to do the falling leaf, the instructor will likely want you to move on to learning how to do actual turns. The turns that you do with the falling leaf are slow and controlled, so now you will be stepping things up with actual turns. Typically, you will be learning toe side and heel side turns. After you have learned how to do those two turns, you will learn how to link different types of turns together.
You will go at your own pace and slowly build up your skills and snowboard techniques when you are learning how to snowboard.
What Gear Do You Need?
Snowboarders need to make sure that they have the right gear with them, of course. This means you should have breathable layers, and you will want to stay away from cotton. You should have high-quality gloves that will help to keep your hands nice and warm, but that still makes it easy to manipulate your helmet, goggles, and your boots and straps.
Always take the time to find the most comfortable pair of snowboard boots possible. You are going to be wearing these for quite a long time when you are on the mountain, so you want them to be comfy and warm.
A good helmet will help to keep you safer on the mountain, as well. Always choose a quality helmet that will not only keep you safe, but that can also provide other benefits, such as keeping you at the proper temperature with ventilation. Get a pair of quality goggles, sunglasses, and some quality snow pants and snow jackets. Have some sunscreen with you, perhaps some water, and a snack, as well.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind When Snowboarding
Snowboarding can be a lot of fun. Of course, there is also the chance that it can become dangerous if you are not careful. These simple snowboarding tips for safety will help to keep you and others out on the slopes safe.
First, you need to make sure that you are wearing the safety gear and the right clothing that was mentioned earlier. You also need to make sure that you have the skills and the knowledge to be snowboarding where you are headed. Do not feel embarrassed if you are still on smaller hills. Get accustomed to boarding, turning, and stopping before you try something difficult.
Know where you are going, as well as what the weather will be like when you are boarding is important. It is important that you check the weather when you are heading up to the mountain, not the day before, as the weather can change so quickly. Pay attention to everything that is going on around you and make sure that you have mastered the basics before you try anything that is too advanced when you learn to snowboard.
Where Should You Go?
You will find that most of the ski resorts that are around today are welcoming to snowboards. After all, these boards have been around for decades and have become very popular. However, this does not mean that all of the resorts out there allow snowboards. Always make sure you check to see whether boards are allowed at the location you want to visit before you make your plans for a snowboarding vacation.
There is quite a lot to think about when you are getting ready to learn to snowboard. It can sometimes seem overwhelming but do not let it scare you away from this great hobby. Instead, take it slowly, take some lessons to get the hang of it and to learn the snowboarding basics. Then, you can buy all of your own gear and get out there on your own or with some friends. Go at your own pace and have a great time when you are learning and once you get some of the snowboard basics under your belt.
Lindsey grew up on the snow in Colorado. Lindsey is an awesome snowboarder who loves exploring new places and riding. Lindsey’s favorite snow spots are Aspen, Mammoth, Park City, Vail, and Lake Tahoe.