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Snowboarding can be a thrilling activity during the winter months. It is also great exercise for your body. For these reasons, and others, it is enjoyed by people around the world. If you want to start enjoying the sport yourself, you need to first know how to snowboard.
You’ve come to the right place. Here, we are going to go over some tricks of the trade that will help you learn snowboarding technique.
Figure out Your Stance
You want to ensure a comfortable stance when snowboarding, especially if you are just learning how to snowboard. If you aren’t comfortable, you aren’t likely to stick with it.
You want to be mindful of stance angles. This is the angle at which the bindings are mounted in relation to the board itself and it impacts your stance.
Bindings that are mounted perpendicular to the edges on the side of the board are at 0 degrees in front and 0 degrees in back. A positive angle just means that the binding is turned to the nose of the board while a negative one means it is pointed toward the back.
If you are just starting to learn to snowboard, it is recommended to use the duck foot stance which is at 12 degrees/-12 degrees or 15 degrees/-15 degrees.
Get familiar with Your Gear
You want to get familiar with your gear before moving on to learning how to use it all. If you decide to purchase your own gear, you’ll want one of the top rated snowboards.
To start, get to know the types of snowboards. In addition, you should know that each snowboard has a tail and noise, often referred to as the tail and tip. The tip, or nose, of your board is the front when riding in a normal position. The tail is just the part that is behind your rear foot.
The bottom of your board is referred to as the base. The top of the board is called the topsheet. This is where you will find your bindings. Those bindings are what keep your feet secured to the board.
There is a metal edge that allows you to dig into the snow. This is just called the edge. The toe edge is under your toes while the heel edge is under your heels. You also need to learn what size snow board you need and how to wax a snowboard.
Get Your Foot Right in There
You want to ensure that you really jam your heel all the way into the heel cup of your board. This will make it so your quality snowboard bindings straps ensure a snug fit all the way around your boot. You want to feel locked in when you are snowboarding and you don’t want a lot of movement in your foot.
Figure out That Skating Thing
The first part of learning how to skate is becoming comfortably when you are moving in a straight line. You then need to use the heel on your back foot to ease you into slowing down.
Start by finding a small slope. You want just your front foot bucked in and then you can start to ease into moving in a straight line. Keep your rear foot just sitting on your back binding, then shift it backward and extend your heel over the board’s edge.
Drop your heel gently into the snow. It will serve as a bit of an anchor as your slow down and come to a stop. You’ll want to master knowing how to stop on a snowboard.
Skate off a Chair Straight
It can be scary to get on your first chairlift as a new snowboarder. You want to make sure you stay calm, and ride straight off your chair. You don’t want to start to turn too early and you definitely don’t want to lean on others to support you. You also want to avoid attempting to stop right after you’ve fully stood up.
It is quite simple, though intimidating for newbies. Just focus on riding away from the lift in a straight line. Put your anchor down and slowly come to a stop.
Put That Board Face Down
If you aren’t on your board, it should be placed face down. That means your bindings should be facing downward. This will ensure your board doesn’t slide anywhere when you aren’t on it.
Ice Free Footbeds
As you learn to snowboard, you’ll realize that you spend a good amount of time putting your foot in and out of the bindings on your board. Each time that you do so, you’re adding more snow to the footbed. Eventually, this can lead to ice buildup.
Once that happens, you’re going to have a harder time getting a proper binding. Make sure you break up the ice, either using the buckle or ladder before you push your foot into the binding.
Don’t be a Hot Head
Snowboarding can be real exercise. You will likely want to take your goggles off at some point, so as to release some heat and cool off a bit.
You can do so but be sure that you don’t put the goggles on your head. The heat that will be coming off of your head can really fog up the goggles. Once steamed up, even your best board goggles are pretty much useless.
If you need to take your goggles off, put them in your pocket. Never rub the inside of your goggles either, as this can remove the film on the inside, which is there to prevent them from fogging up on you.
Where to Learn
There are a couple of places to learn how to snowboard for beginners. There are often plenty of places that offer indoor slopes. These can be visited the whole year through. Outdoor slopes are obviously only available when there is snow on the ground.
The indoor slopes you can visit make use of a kind of conveyor belt. This helps to stimulate sliding. Because the slopes are all inside, you’ll be learning in a climate-controlled environment. So, you really don’t have to worry about being cold or wet. Instead, you can focus on tweaking your technique.
Outdoor slopes are pretty self-explanatory. You will have the elements to contend with, but obviously this will give you the real experience. Snowboard areas that are outdoors use either natural snow or machine-made snow if the weather isn’t fully cooperating. These will help you if you are planning to get a good all mountain board and shred the snow on various terrains.
How to learn to snowboard is easier with YouTube beginners' tips:
Get in Shape
You might want to consider getting into shape before you start snowboarding. You want to focus on full body exercises to improve your overall strength.
Squats are a great option as they help to strengthen your hamstrings, butt, hips and quads. There are some variations of squats you can do, such as the jump squat.
Lunges are also a great exercise to try. These focus on the inner thighs, your overall balance, and your glutes. You can also turn up the difficulty b doing some lunge jumps.
Finally, the hollow hold and superman will help your core strength, while variations on the pushup can help with improve your chest strength.
Round up Gear
You’ll need some additional gear for your first time snowboarding, aside from your rental equipment, including:
- Snowboard socks
- Snowboard jacket and pants
- Base layers
- Mid layers
- Snowboard goggles
- Snowboard gloves
Which Foot Forward?
You want to make sure that you have identified your dominant foot before you rent any equipment. If renting, the rental shop will need to outfit you with your dominant foot placed in the forward binding.
There are a couple of quick trips to determine your dominant foot. First, see which one you put forward first if someone shoves you from behind. Second, slide across an inside floor and see which foot you automatically put first.
If you find that your left foot is the stronger one, you are considered “regular-footed”. If it’s the right that seems stronger, you are called “goofy footed”.
You may want to think about renting equipment for your first couple of snowboarding outings. You can move toward purchasing your own once you’ve got the hang of it and think it is something you’ll continue doing.
There are a few options for renting equipment. You can do so right at the mountain resort of you can choose a town shop. It’s often easiest to rent your equipment right from where you are getting your lessons. Then, you don’t have to tote around all of your gear.
When you rent your equipment, you’ll get snowboard boots, a helmet, and the snowboard. When getting fitted, you’ll be asked if you are goofy- or regular-footed as well as the stats for your height, ability, age and weight.
Take Lessons from a Pro
It is always advisable to learn how to snowboard from a professional. You’ll know someone is a pro if they are certified by the American Association of Snowboard Instructors.
You will likely have the option to take either individual or group lessons. The group option is always less expensive, but you also receive less individual attention.
There are also usually first-timer options available. They usually include a lift ticket with your lesson.
Walking in a Snowboard
Your first lesson will definitely start with an introduction to your gear. This will begin with you sitting down and strapping in your front foot.
Before you begin learning to slide, you’ll need to learn how to walk in your snowboard. You will do this by having only that front foot in the snowboard. It is a bit awkward at first, but you will get used to it over time.
To start walking forward, you just slide that front foot right across the snow. At the same time, you shift the foot that is free forward on the toe side of your board. That front foot will be strapped onto your snowboard while you do this. You’ll learn a different technique for walking up the hill, but you’ll need to master walking forward first.
You want to keep your body relaxed while learning to snowboard.
The best stance includes keeping your feet a bit wiper than your shoulders and maintaining a slight flex in your knees. You want to put some pressure on the toe side, heel side, and front and back of your board.
Your hips, shoulders, ankles and knees should stay soft. You do not want them locked. You should almost feel like you are moving into a squat. You can keep your arms relaxed and just hanging by your sides.
Flat Surface Sliding
You will obviously learn to ride your board on a flat surface before taking on a mountain.
You’ll start by sliding on your front foot. As you do so, your other foot will be pushing down on the snow. Your front foot and slightly bent knee will need to twist, which might feel awkward at first. Basically, you’ll feel like you are skateboarding with one foot.
You need to be able to master getting up on your board. You start by strapping both of your feet onto the snowboard.
If you want to get up by using the toe side, you need to flip over. You can grab onto your forward knee to assist in your flip. Once on your hands and knees, you can push off the ground with your hands. At the same time, press down on your toe side.
It’s a bit trickier getting up from your heal side if you are on a flat surface. You can dig your heel side of the snowboard in while using one hand to push yourself up. The other hand needs to grab that toe side of your snowboard.
If you are suing a conveyor belt, you just take very small steps with your unstrapped foot. Slide your board over the belt and then put your unstrapped foot on your board between the two bindings. The belt will do the rest of the work. Then, use that unstrapped foot to push away from the lift once you get to the top.
For a chairlift, skate right over to the line. Sit on the chair and then lift your board into a straight position to dismount. Once your board touches the ground at the top, put your free foot right between the two bindings and slide away from the lift. Once you’ve slowed or stopped, use that same free foot to move further away.
Sliding on a Slope
You will likely start your sliding by practicing the falling leaf. It is what you learn right before you learn turning. It teaches you to slide in just one direction before reversing to move in the opposite direction. So, you don’t just fly down the mountain. Instead, you kind of glide from one angle to the next all the way down.
To do this, you point the arm in front of you to where you want to go. Stay looking in that direction. Then place your weight down on that front foot. When you are sliding. You can shift your body around from heel side to toe side to help control how fast you are moving.
Learning how to turn on a snowboard is important. There are two primary types of turns. They are the heel side and the toe side.
You begin by facing your board down a small hill. You’ll want your body balanced in the position you use for the falling leaf. Slide straight and add more weight to that foot in front. Then just point your front hand down the mountain and your back hand up the mountain.
Allow the snowboard to just run flat. You can start to add pressure to your toes to force your board to make an arc. If you want a heel side turn. You just lift your toes and put the pressure on your heels.
You can start to link your turns once you’ve mastered both of them. When you are moving down the mountain, you can switch between the heel side turn and the toe side one.
Between each of them, allow your board to go straight down the mountain for just a quick one or two seconds. Once you take a little power out of the turn, you can start to better control the speed as you move into your next turn. To start a new turn, make sure you look downhill.
Learn the Lingo
There is plenty of lingo to learn related to snowboarding. If you want to learn even more of the language than you have here, a good resource is the REI snowboarding glossary.
Finally, here are the best places to snowboard in the US so choose your destination and enjoy!