Whether you have heard your friends talk obsessively about it, or just stumbled upon a YouTube compilation of some sick snowboarding tricks, you know that snowboarding is an amazing sport.
It has everything, fun, and it requires effort, which makes it challenging and even more appealing. It’s full of adrenaline, and can be the perfect drug of choice for all who seek excitement.
With that in mind, for all the beginners who are taking their baby steps in the world of snowboarding, and all the curious heads who’re thinking about giving it a try, we’ve put together this guide on how to snowboard.
Before we start, let’s explain a few things. When people see pros snowboarding and taking turns and going down slopes with ease, they think that snowboarding is a piece of cake. This isn’t true – snowboarding is a sport that requires a lot of effort and patience, but with enough practice, you can ride the snowboard like a pro.
Whether you decide to learn it on your own or take lessons, just be prepared to make a lot of mistakes at first, and then slowly get better and better. That’s how every pro started out, and the same will apply to you. Now, let’s get over the things you should take into consideration before diving headfirst in the snow.
Your first steps in trying out snowboarding are not dependent on the weather. With the advancement of technology, there are now indoor slopes that provide the perfect ground for learning the basics, as they have everything you need to ride, minus the cold weather.
And the best part?
Indoor slopes are available all year round. You don’t have to wait for snow to cover up the mountains so you can ride, and you can also prepare yourself to hit the mountains when winter hits. Just make sure to check if the indoor or outdoor slope area you have picked allows snowboarding, as some don’t allow it.
Get In Good Shape
Snowboarding put aside, any winter sport will require that you’re in good physical shape so that you can withstand the many sit-downs and get-ups you will have to do not just while learning, but also when you become good at it.
For that matter, get your legs and arms in a good shape, otherwise, your learning process and general snowboarding will not be as enjoyable because you won’t be able to exert the needed effort for longer periods of time.
Make Sure You Have All The Gear
Get a pen and paper and prepare a checklist. You’re gonna need a snowboard, bindings, snowboarding boots, snowboarding pants, base layers, gloves, a snow jacket, and a helmet.
Now, you might be able to rent some of them, like snowboard boots and helmets, but for all the others you’ll need to either buy them or borrow them from a friend. Keep in mind that not all equipment is made the same, as there are different sizes for most of them, and different types of equipment made for a specific style of snowboarding.
Renting equipment might be a good idea when you’re starting out, but buying your own equipment is better, as you can get all the pieces to fit your needs and size.
Now let’s get into the specifics. The first thing you should do is figure out your footing.
Which foot you set to be your front one on your snowboard is important, and for most snowboarders, it’s their dominant foot, but some choose their other one because it’s the one that gives them more control while moving – so it’s their balancing foot. You can perform a test by sliding on a floor to see which foot you put first – the one that goes first should be your front one. Determine this before getting busy buying a snowboard and hitting the slopes.
Consider Taking Lessons From A Pro
Let’s be real here, not everyone is a natural when it comes to winter sports, and having someone teach you the basics is nothing bad. Of course, you can try and learn on your own or with the help of friends, but a professional snowboarding instructor is best.
There are many parks and slopes that have instructors, and most offer two types of teaching, group and private. Most of these parks and slopes also offer affordable 1-2-3 ride packages which include three-day lessons, rentals, and lift tickets.
Body Stance & Position
Getting on a snowboard and learning how to keep your balance is not easy, and most beginners make the mistake of stiffening up their muscles so that they’re prepared to swing to the other side and stay afloat. This is a bad approach! If you want to be able to enjoy snowboarding and become good at it, you’ll have to keep your muscles relaxed.
Keep your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles just a bit flexed, and get your arms up horizontally and in line with your body. Now, try to keep balance without using your arms a lot, and work more with your lower body.
Practice until you feel comfortable standing on your snowboard in balance without swinging your arms around.
How To Stand Up
Before you perfect keeping your balance while riding, and learn how to get on lifts or hit slopes, you need to learn how to stand up.
While sitting down, lock-in your boots into the bindings and gently bend your knees. Now, to get up, you’ll need to flip to the front so that you can use your arms for standing, so push off from sitting to standing on your hands. Next, push your toes a bit ahead in order to get more balance, and push off from the ground to stand straight up. There are other techniques, but this one is recommended as being the safest.
Sliding On Flat Surface
You should try and slide on flat surfaces before hitting the slopes. As you stand, your front foot should stay locked and, and your back foot should be out of the binding so that you can use it to push and get traction, similar to the way you would do with a skateboard.
Speed up a bit and quickly set your back foot onto the snowboard (not in the binding though!) and try to keep balance while riding. When you get the hang of it, you should try the slopes.
Once you get on top of a hill, this is where the fun begins. The first thing you should learn is the falling leaf. This refers to the method of riding down in angles. You don’t ride a snowboard straight down a slope, but go in a slight zig-zag trajectory, and in order to be able to do this efficiently, you need to practice it for a day or two, until you can turn without swinging your hands all over the place.
Once riding down a slope falling-leaf style, it’s time to learn how to make turns.
First, you start off by riding down a slope slowly, falling leaf style, and then exert more pressure on your toes while keeping your front arm straightened out and pointed slightly towards the front part of your body, and the back arm straightened out and pointed backwards, towards your back. Then increase the pressure on your toes to the point where you can make a small arc where the front side of the snowboard is a bit lower than the backside.
Next, move your front knee inwards, and you’ll be able to make a J-turn easily. In time, you’ll also be able to make C-turns, but first, stick with learning J-turns.
Well there you have it, these are all the basic things you should know about snowboarding and how to start. Now, it might not be all fun and games at first, but be patient and persistent, and in due time you will be able to snowboard like a pro and enjoy yourself every time you hit the slopes.