Becoming a skilled snowboarder takes time, practice and patience. If you consider learning to snowboard a progression, you’ll appreciate not only the skills you’re learning but also your time on the mountain. Your goal should be having fun. With that in mind we’ve provided some tips for those just beginning their snowboarding adventure.
Are you Goofy or Regular?
Which foot is your lead foot? That’s really all the question is asking. If someone were to gently push you, with which foot would you step forward? That’s your lead foot. You’re regular if it’s your left foot, and goofy if it’s your right foot.
Get Into your Bindings
The bindings are the attachments that keep your feet on your snowboard. Determine what type of bindings you have. They’ll either be strap or speed entry.
For either type of binding lay your board flat and place your front foot on the baseplate. Place the straps into their buckles and ratchet them until you’ve got a snug fit.
If you need to get on or off a lift or climb the slope, don’t put your rear foot in yet. Keep it out and push yourself where you need to go, much like skateboarding.
When you’ve arrived at the starting spot, it’s a good idea to sit down before placing your back foot in the bindings. This will prevent you from slipping away or tipping over. Before standing, move your board so it’s perpendicular to the hill so you don’t slide downhill before you’re prepared.
If you’re a beginner you’re going to fall. It’s really not a big deal. Embrace it as part of the process. You’ll want to know how to fall safely to prevent injuries. When you fall make a fist, this prevents your fingers and wrists from taking the brunt of the impact. Try to fall forward on your forearms and knees. Falling on your forearms will protect your wrists and keep your face from hitting the ground.
Now that you know how to fall, you should also learn how to stand up. There are three common ways snowboarders stand up: the Push-Off, the Pull-Up and the Roll-Over.
To Push-Off start in a low squat and lean back, placing your hands on the ground behind you, then push yourself forward over your feet using your hands.
For the Pull-Up, begin in a squat and use the toe edge of the board to pull yourself up.
You’ll begin in a sitting position for the Roll-Over. Once seated, roll onto your knees then thrust your weight back over your feet to stand up.
Just as important as knowing how to fall and stand is knowing how to stop. Doing so safely will keep you from crashing into objects and other riders. When you want to stop move your feet perpendicular to the hill. When your feet are in place scrape to a stop.
You’ve got to have protective gear, especially a helmet, this is non-optional. You’re also going to want wrist guards and lacrosse shorts. Wear your mittens when you’re purchasing your wrist guards to ensure a good fit. Lacrosse shorts feature removable pads and a plastic shield that protects your tailbone. You already know you’re going to be falling and if you start getting sore you’ll be less likely to want to continue. Protective gear will cushion those falls so you can keep practicing.
You’ll also want to get a pair of good snowboard goggles to protect your eyes from that cold wind, as well as the sun’s glare off the snow.
Practice at Home
It may be the middle of summer with no mountains in sight, but you can still practice. Head out to the yard or set up in the living room. Get in your boots and strap on to your board. Train your muscles by doing weight shifts from heel to toe and start practicing nose/tail balancing.
Dress for the Weather
You’ve got to have the right clothes for every sport. Snowboarding is no exception. You won’t have fun if you’re freezing and wet so be sure to get waterproof gear, especially pants. You’ll want a hooded, ventilated coat. This will help you regulate your temperature as you go from resting, to heavy exertion and back. It’s vital to stay warm so you can stay on the mountain.