Is it hard to learn how to snowboard? The honest truth is yes, but you can learn it in a day if you come prepared.
This is our step by step guide on how to snowboard. If you follow these instructions we believe you can learn how to snowboard in just one day.
1. Get the right equipment
First and foremost you’ll have to dress properly for snowboarding. By nature, snowboarding can be a cold experience, and when you are new in the game, chances are you will often fall in the snow. So dress for the occasion.
You will need a good jacket and some good pants made for snowboarding. Furthermore, you will need some good gloves and thermal underwear. I will also recommend buying a ski mask for those windy and cold days.
You will also need a good snowboard. Often it is possible to rent a snowboard at the snowboarding resort, but many prefer to ride their own boards. Renting is cheaper in the short run, but buying your own snowboard has some benefits.
Rented Snowboards have been used by a lot of beginners, and because of the wear and tear the boards are often in bad shape. When you buy a snowboard you get a brand new piece of equipment, tailor-made for your skill level, height, and weight.
You will need good snowboarding boots. And please do yourself a favor and really make sure that they fit with the extra layer of sox. If they don’t fit perfectly it may ruin your whole trip. And make sure you get the right snowboard bindings to go with that.
Also, remember to wear a helmet. Your melon is the most important part of your body, so please don’t be too cool to wear a helmet. Everybody on the slopes wears one, so you won’t stand out, and it keeps your head warm. So get a helmet!!
Lastly, You will need some snowboard goggles. The glare from the sun can be a real issue, and the term “snowblind” is indeed very real. The snow reflects UV radiation from the sun, that can damage your eyes.
Lastly, you should buy a leash for your snowboard, so you don’t lose your snowboard. And get a stomping pad. They come in very handy when you need some flexibility, but your boots are not strapped to your board.
2. Get your body and equipment fine-tuned
Learning how to snowboard is both hard on the body, and pretty dangerous. So one of the most important things is to get in shape, so do yourself a favor and work out and eat right. And if you really want to get your body geared up, you should consider doing yoga.
You also need to determine your stance, goofy or regular, which means determining you lead foot. If your stance is regular your left foot is in front and goofy is the right foot in front. There is a lot of ways to determine your stance, but one of the best is to stand with both your feet close together. Let a friend push you gently from behind and voila.
When you know your stance, you can try to adjust your bindings. Make the base of the bindings fit your foot one at the time, and make sure the boots are locked tightly when fastened. They should be tight, but not too tight. You need blood flowing through your feet.
The angle of the bindings depends on your riding style. A good rule of thumb is that your back foot should be at a straight angle across the board, and your front foot should be at a slight angle towards the front of the board.
Also, check if everything fits. The setup you ski mask, try your goggles, and try out all of your clothes with thermal underwear. See if anything is too tight or too loose. And try out your boots, stick them in your binding and jump around a bit to see if it feels good.
3. Get up the mountain
When you arrive at the snowboarding resort you will have to travel up a mountain. Lifts are used as transportation for snowboarders, they come in many shapes and sizes. Often the first lift you see is a big one fitting up for 20 people. It’s called a cable car, don’t worry, just step in and enjoy the ride.
When you arrive at the top of the mountain you will need to figure where you want to learn to snowboard. You will need to start small, very small. Find a lift that takes you up a beginner’s piste (slope).
Then you need to strap your front foot onto your snowboard. Attach your boot and leash to your board, but leave your back foot free. You can use your back foot to kick/push and your front foot to stabilize your board.
When arriving at the lift get in line. Use the time in line to observe how the lift works. It can seem a little overwhelming, but relax and focus on following the flow of the queue. When you are in position, the lift will come from behind and lift you up.
When you reach the top, you will have to slide off the lift as it turns back down the mountain. This requires a bit of skill, but stay calm and focus on aligning your snowboard with the movement of the lift.
When the timing is right put your feet down and shift your weight mostly on your front foot. Keep your balance and let the lift push you away, down the little hill at the end of the lift. You might fall, but don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it.
4. Find the right slope
Almost all slopes (also called pistes) are classified in different categories. You will find that each slope is indexed in different colors, where green is the least dangerous and therefore most suitable for beginners. When learning how to snowboard, green is the color for you.
Blues slopes are a little steeper, but still suitable for beginners. After you have progressed on the green slopes, the blue slopes will be the next place you charge. They are slightly steeper so learn all the basics before going here.
Red slopes are the real deal. They are steep and sometimes they have lumps and bumps. I have seen red slopes that didn’t seem dangerous at all, but I have also seen red slopes that would scare Shaun White (you know what I mean).
Black slopes are as hard as they come. Never attempt to impress your friends by riding the black slopes without experience. They are steep, bumpy and really hard to ride. Do not ride the black slopes unless you have everything under control.
4. Get on board
Once you are at the top of a slope, it’s time to strap up and really learn how to snowboard. Find a quiet spot on the hill, sit down with your front facing downhill. Have your board at an angle of 90° having the edge of your board firmly planted in the snow. This will stop both you and your board from sliding down the slope.
Put your back foot in the binding, and make sure your leash is also attached to both your board and your leg. Also, wiggle both your feet in your boots and see if everything fits. Also, make sure your boots are properly inserted in the bindings.
You are now ready for takeoff.
5. Learn the basics
Now that everything is in order, you are ready to ride downhill. But do not point your snowboard in a direct angle down the slope. I have seen many beginners make this mistake, and it hardly ever ends well.
First, you must learn to ride sideways. When you get up, put a little pressure on your heels, digging the rail of the board in the snow. Gently slide along the side of the hill until you master this. Then stop, sit down, turn around and do the same thing, only this time do it frontside. Remember to bend your knees
When you master riding sideways, it’s time to learn how to turn from side to side. This can be a bit tricky, but it is something that is very important to master.
How to turn
Turning on a snowboard is the foundation of snowboarding, and for many, it’s the hardest part to master. It’s a movement that requires both technique, balance and sometimes quite a bit of mental stamina.
When learning to turn on a snowboard you must really focus on the following:
- your feet
- your knees
- your waist
- your shoulders
But at the same time, don’t focus on them all at the same time. It will make you all stiff, and that is the last thing you will want when learning how to snowboard. Take your time to focus on each individual step, and you will quickly learn the movements involved.
Your feet are essential since is they are attached directly to your snowboard. Putting pressure on either your heels or your toes makes the rail of your board dig into the snow, making your snowboard slow down a bit.
When turning you start by applying pressure on one side, ending with the other. If you start riding frontside, while applying pressure on your toes, try to lean back and apply pressure on your heels. This transition will make you turn from your toes to your heels, and doing it opposite will make you go turn your heels to your toes.
It is always a good idea to bend your knees. This will lower the center of gravity, and keep you more flexible when riding. But keep your knees in a bending position that feels natural for you.
It’s also a good idea to point your knees in a certain direction when turning. When riding backside, turn your knees towards the tail of the snowboard, and when riding frontside, turn your knees towards the nose of the snowboard.
This can make you turn both faster and in a less critical manner.
Your waist should always be kept in the center of the board. You can use the hips to move weight on the side you want to ride. For instance, if you want to go from heel- to toeside, you can add pressure on that side by shifting weight from your hips.
In reality don’t think too much about how your hips move, as they will follow the rest of your body naturally.
The placement of your shoulders are very important when learning how to snowboard, and often overlooked by beginners. The reality is that the direction of the snowboard is decided by the placement of your shoulders. You will soon learn that when you turn your head and shoulders, your snowboard will follow in that same direction.
You can also link the speed of your turns to your shoulders. If you turn your shoulders quick, your snowboard will follow quicker, creating a faster turn.
Your melon is, as in any other context, an important player in the equation. First and foremost, don’t look directly down on your snowboard. Like Tupac said, keep ya head up. Orientate yourself and use both your eyes and ears to keep you and others away from harm.
When you turn your head, your shoulders will often follow, making you turn in the direction you are looking in. So when you want to turn in a certain direction, always look in that direction, and your body and snowboard will follow.
Learn to stop
It goes without saying that you´ll need to learn how to slow down. When you learn how to turn, you are also learning how to slow down, since it involves many of the same movements.
Stopping a snowboard is basically to dig your rails into the snow. If you’re just digging your rails hard enough into the snow, the friction between your board and the snow will make you stop. The motion is controlled by how much pressure you put on your heelside- vs toeside off your board.
I know this is can be quite hard to learn but don’t give up. When you know how to stop, you know how to snowboard.
How to fall
When learning how to snowboard, you must learn how to fall properly. When you fall on a snowboard you will almost always fall either chest first or back first. In both scenarios, you must keep your arms tucked into your body, and remain in a low and flexible stance.
When falling chest first, you must first let your knees hit the ground, and then your forearms protecting your chest. This keeps you safe from hitting your head and other areas, without sacrificing any body parts.
Your knees are close to the snow, so they won’t suffer from the impact, and when they hit the ground, gently roll on to your arms and chest. Remember this trick and you’ll be alright.
When falling back first, It’s important that you bend your knees. This way you can land on your butt, and from there roll on to your back. Always remember to press your chin down to your chest, so your head won’t whiplash into the ground. This is often seen and is very dangerous, so keep your chin pressed as hard toward your chest as possible.
That’s our list on how to snowboard. We hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions, we will be happy to answer any of your questions in the comment section below