Learning to snowboard is a fun, testing time and once you work it out is extremely rewarding. At first it can seem like an almost impossible task, how are you supposed to stay upright on this slippery surface while heading down the hill avoiding people, tree’s and rocks. Keep at it because once you can get yourself around exploring the mountain, doing an awesome run with friends or a solo hill run makes it all worth it.
Too start you want to make sure you have the correct gear, having a snowboard that is your correct size, boots that fit and comfortable outwear to use will make learning much easier.
Follow our Snowboard guide to ensure you pick the correct size here
For the correct sizing of boots Here
Different Types of Snowboards
There are many different types of snowboards available as there are many different uses for snowboards. You can specify in a Park Riding, Back Country or All mountain picking a beginner board its recommended to pick something simple with flat rocker tends to be the easiest to handle and most predictable. If you are quite balanced an confident you would be able to go for something a little more aggressive like camber between the feet and flat on your contact points.
A great beginner board is the Burton Descendant which you can buy here
If you are after something a little more aggressive that will last you longer then the Capita Defenders of Awesome is the perfect choice which you can buy here
Once you have your Snowboard, boots and Bindings you will also need a Snow jacket, Snowboard pants, Googles and gloves.
Being your first time snowboarding it is highly recommended that you have protection to ensure you don’t give yourself an injury, learning to snowboard means falling over a lot and at times the snow isn’t as soft as you would like it to be.
The most important piece of protection is a helmet, you want a helmet with vents to allow airflow and a helmet with MIPS allows multiple impacts without needing to replace your helmet.
Shop helmets here
Other protection items such as Wrist Guards and padded impact shorts keep you strong and injury free. Buy now from here
What you will need to know before you start
Before you even step into the boots you will need to know which foot you have forward, this will be the same as any other board sport that you stand sideways such as surfing or skateboarding. If you have done neither of these the foot that you stop yourself with will be your front foot a good way to check this is a light push in the back and whatever foot you have forward will be the same when snowboarding.
Where to learn
To learn to snowboard you can either go for the authentic outdoor mountain which during the winter will have snow lessons with professional guides and an easy slope to start with. Otherwise you can choose an indoor mountain which is available all year round.
A lesson is a great idea if you want to get the basics down before you tackle the mountain yourself, they will give you all the tips and tricks you need. Getting the basics perfected such as starting and stopping and how to turn left and right either on your toes or heels will allow you to get down most slopes. To start you want to stick to Green slopes as these will have the easiest terrain to manage and little to no obstacles that you need to avoid.
Strapping into the bindings
It is easiest to strap your bindings in while you are seated, you want to strap your front foot in first. Place your foot inside the binding and then feed the ankle strap through the ladder (The ankle strap is the bigger strap) then feed your toe strap through its own ladder and tighten until you can ratchet anymore.
Walking in your snowboard
Once you have your front foot locked in you will need to stand up and practice walking, this can be awkward at first as your front foot is locked and your knee is in an awkward position. Practice sliding your front foot forward and trailing with your back foot. Walking is important as when you exit a lift you will need to do this motion and get out of the way.
Catching a lift
Once you are comfortable walking and sliding in your snowboard you are ready for a lift, lifts take you to the top of the mountain and it is where the real fun begins. Slowly edge yourself forward using your walking stance until you reach the front of the line, when you are at the front you will need to wait to be told to move forward either from the lift operator or a green light. Slide yourself up to the marked line and sit down when the chair is underneath you
Coming down the mountain
Once you come off the lift slide until you can sit down and put your back foot into its binding. When you are all strapped in check that your path is clear and slowly bring yourself up trying to keep pressure on your heels so that you don’t slide to fast. When you are standing the easiest way to learn your edge control is the falling leaf, this means staying on your heels and moving from left to right practicing control and feeling out the snow.
Once you are comfortable with falling leaf it is time to start turning, to start you want to point your board down the hill putting more weight on your front foot. Then depending if you want to do a toe side turn or heel side you want to shift your weight onto your toes or heels and then start to aim back up the hill trying to make a J. When you have done a few of these and are starting to feel comfortable you can start linking up your turn all the way down the mountain and start to play around with getting places and how to start and stop
Once you have these basics under control you can start exploring more challenging terrain, or even the park for some jumps and rails. Always stay within your ability you don’t want to get caught out on a run that is way above your skill as this is where accidents happen. Enjoy the freedom of snowboarding and pass it on to one of your friends. Snowboarding is a fun social activity
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Now that you're comfortable on the snow and starting to outgrow your rental gear, have a look at some of the sites below for products that will help you feel comfortable and improve further still.