How To Turn
On A Snowboard
Learning how to snowboard is not that fun and exciting for some, but if you want to be able to fully enjoy it, you have to follow all the steps and get all the help you can get.
Of course, it’s important to learn how to stop properly, or keep your balance, but the one skill you need to learn if you want to have the best experience on a slope is how to turn.
It might seem like something simple, but turning is something that requires a lot of concentration and effort in order to get it right.
And we’re here to help!
This step-by-step guide will teach you the two most important elements of turning – how to position your body for making turns, and all the stages of turning.
Body Positioning & Movement
If you want to be able to easily make turns with your snowboard, you have to be fully aware of your body parts and their positioning. This way you will be able to not only make the turn, but to plan out your next move and the direction in which you will be snowboarding as well.
People tend to not give much importance to the head, but the truth is, your head position can help you scan the area ahead of you and plan the turn. So instead of looking straight down at your snowboard, or too far ahead, do the following:
- Head-Up At All Times
- Look at the Area/Spot Where You Want To Turn To
- After You Start Turning, Look For The Next Area/Spot
Be sure to not look too far, as you might miss some small bumps on your road, which can destabilize you, especially when riding at high speed.
You can say that your shoulders and your snowboard need to be in sync when it comes to turning. Why?
Usually, when you turn your shoulders, your snowboard follows, and when you get to the point when you’ll start to turn instinctively, you’ll know what we’re talking about. So consider your head and your shoulders as a snowboard steering wheel. Here’s how to position your shoulders:
- Follow the movements of your head, and with time, you’ll do it instinctively
- Use your core muscles to start initiating the turn
- The speed with which you move your shoulders = the speed at which you turn
As you turn your head and shoulders, your hips will follow the lead. You can see the whole movement developing as a sort of a chain reaction that starts off at the head, moves through the shoulders, and reaches the first dispersion point – the hips. And here’s what to do with your hips:
- Align your hands with your body, then reach with your hands for your hips
- Try out some mild turns positioned like that and see how it all feels, and tighten/loosen up your body as you feel comfortable
- Don’t swing the hips, but keep your lower body parts moving
Proper knee movement is what will speed up your learning process by a lot! Exerting the right amount of power with your knees can help get you at the right angle to make your turn. Here’s how to best use your knees:
- When you make a turn outwards, bend your knees slightly towards the tip of the snowboard
- When you make a turn inwards, bend your knees slightly towards the tail of the snowboard
With both of these movements, you’ll get yourself in the best position possible to maneuver mid-turn and change the width of the turn.
The last but far from the least – this is the most influential factor in making a successful turn. Of course, the closer a body part is to the bindings, the more effect it has on the turning process, and your foot action is what will decide the start and the stop of the turn.
Here’s how to use your feet for turning:
- When going for an inward turn, put pressure on the toes on your front (dominant) foot, and when you want to stop, start pressuring the toes on your back foot
- When going for an outward turn, put pressure on your front foot heel, and for stopping, put pressure on the back foot heel
The Three Stages Of Turning
In order to better understand how to turn on a snowboard, we can divide the whole process into three stages:
Initiation is the stage at the beginning of the turn, or better said, the stage at which we prepare to make the turn. And it goes something like this:
- As soon as you find a spot where you want to make a turn, inspect the area ahead of you
- After you find a suitable area for turning, stand up straight and make sure that you’re looking ahead
- Completely relax your torso and hips, keep knees flexible but don’t put any pressure on the edges
After you’re done with the initiation stage, it’s time to move onto the control stage. This is the stage where you start turning inwards, or towards your fall line (think of the fall line as a sort of a central straight line in the middle of your zig-zagging). While in this stage, make sure you maintain your stature and not keep your upper body and hips stiff. Work with your knees and let your hips regulate that. Slight turn inwards, a little push forward with your back foot so that you can slightly slow down and prepare for the outward turn, and keep on doing so. Inwards, slow down, prepare, outwards, slow down, prepare…
This is the phase where you get out of the turn and proceed going straight ahead or simply stopping. For this, you have to start pushing with your back foot down a bit and lean back if you want to stop or lean forward if you want to keep going. Easy-peasy.
So there you have it, all the steps you need to practice, practice, practice before you can call yourself the king of the slopes. Now before you go out there with all the enthusiasm in the world, keep in mind that you will fall down and mess up quite a few times before you get it, but don’t get discouraged. Keep on trying, and soon enough you’ll have the most fun you can have riding a snowboard and looking like a pro, turning with almost zero effort.