The incredible adrenaline rush, amazing scenery, or just being out in the beautiful mountainous terrain are some of the reasons why people love snowboarding. It is among the most thrilling winter sports that anyone can participate in today.
However, if you are still learning the art of carving down the icy hilly terrain on a recently waxed snowboard, you may find the slopes a little intimidating. But it needs not to be that way – with a little bit of patience, you can master the basics and experience the pleasure of this winter sport.
So really, instead of curling up near the fireplace the entire winter season, why not try snowboarding? Here are foolproof tips on how to snowboard that will make your first time fun, safe, and less frightening.
Building Your Snowboarding Skills
One of the biggest mistakes beginner snowboarders make is to think that they can learn the technique on their own. Yes, some manage it pretty well just by watching YouTube videos, but for a huge percentage of people, this approach only ends up frustrating them. So below are infallible skills that can make snowboarding for beginners more exciting and bearable.
1. Take A Lesson
If you are serious about snowboarding, take professional training. You will learn how to stand up, slide downhill, stop, and turn on a snowboard. If you have been on a surfboard before or know the basic rules of surfing then mastering snowboarding maneuvers should be a cakewalk.
There are two places you can visit to take your lessons – outdoor slopes and indoor slopes. Outdoor slopes rely on natural snow. They are usually located in the mountains and are open only in winter when there is some snow covering the ground.
Indoor slopes, on the other hand, use a conveyer belt to stimulate sliding for snowboarders. And because the slopes are built indoors, the climate is also controlled enabling you to learn the technique without worrying about getting cold or wet. Lessons are administered all year round.
2. Practice Regularly
“Practice makes perfect”, they say, so if you want to hone your snowboarding skills, practice often. Try to squeeze in an hour or two of practice into your daily skating or skiing schedule. You can even do your practice after an ice fishing trip; something as simple as perfecting your weight shifting or board strapping.
3. Make A Commitment
Perfecting any new skill can be an uphill task and snowboarding will be no exception. You will fall, have a hard time standing on the board for a long distance, or find yourself surrounded by people who make you feel intimidated.
Do not despair. Even when you fall, try to get back on your feet. Commit, enjoy your practice, and stay positive.
4. Advance Your Skills
Once you are confident in your beginner maneuvers, you can take up more advanced courses or try more challenging slopes. You may also work on increasing your speed. Work slowly when pursuing advanced courses. Take one day at a time, always keeping your safety in mind.
1. Wear Proper Clothing And Gear
To have a successful first time, you will need to stay warm, and the best and most effective way to ensure this is wearing the right clothing. Even if you will be snowboarding inside a dome, dress warmly.
A thermal base layer will help your body to retain heat. Get a woolen vest and leggings to cover your top and bottom followed by a fleece jacket or a softshell jacket. Depending on how cold it is, you can top this up with your ski jacket.
It is recommended that you wear a helmet too on such a trip. You can simply rent this or buy a new one but if you are on a budget, even your wakeboard helmet can do the trick. For the days you are not wearing a helmet, always have a warm hat on.
Don’t forget your feet and palms either. Get a nice pair of snow boots and gloves to prevent your toes and fingers from going numb. You may also need polarized sunglasses to shield your eyes from the sun’s glare on days when you are snowboarding in the sun.
So should you buy or rent your gear?
Well, this will depend. If you are looking to keep the expenses down, you may want to consider renting your snowboarding equipment. Almost every snowboarding center will hire out snowboards, helmets, wrist guards, and boots. Some will even have waterproof clothing.
You will be asked to provide personal details like weight, age, height, and snowboarding ability. You will also be required to state whether you are regular footed or goofy-footed. This info will enable the rental shop technicians to choose the right equipment for you.
2. Take Safety Precautions
When planning a backcountry trip, it is always safe to take some safety precautions. And snowboarding being one of these, there are a few things you need to do to keep yourself out of harm’s way while on the trail.
For example, tell someone you trust where you are going, whom you will be going with, and when you intend to return. That way, should things go awry and you aren’t able to return on the said date, the person will be able to take the necessary action.
Also, once you are on-site, always wait for “good” snow. Not all snow will be appropriate to ride in. In fact, some snow types can make snowboarding for beginners dangerous and more difficult. So, always check snow and weather forecasts before you go to make sure that your chosen trail has the ideal snow for snowboarding.
Frozen snow will be more difficult to learn in than powdery snow. Powdery snow is loose and will move easily under your board, which makes it perfect for beginner snowboarders.
On a trip like this, you may also need a navigation tool, especially if you will be snowboarding on terrains that are not patrolled. Bring a hiking GPS, compass, or a physical map of the area to make sure you are always on the right path. Make sure you know how they work before you hit the trail.
3. Know Your Stance
How to snowboard depends on whether you are right-footed or left-footed. Therefore, before buying your snowboard, figure out your dominant foot, as that is the foot you will be putting forward. Your dominant foot will usually correspond with your writing hand, although this varies from one person to another.
To determine your stronger foot, slide across an indoor floor and see which leg you will put forward naturally. If your left foot goes forward, then you’re “regular footed” and if the right foot is the stronger one, then you’re “goofy-footed”. Test this out before heading out to your retailer or equipment rental shop.
4. Learn The Piste Signs
There will be piste symbols on the trail to indicate its boundaries, conditions, and difficulty. All slopes will be marked using different colors to show their levels of difficulty.
Green, for instance, is designated for the easiest slopes and these are the best for newbie snowboarders. Blue is for intermediate riders and Black slopes, being the steepest and bumpy, are reserved for advanced snowboarders.
Check the boundary signs too so you can stay “on-piste”. You don’t want to find yourself “off-piste”, as the ski patrol will not take responsibility for any issue that occurs in this area of the mountain, where conditions are often considered dangerous.
5. Stay Hydrated
Even in cold weather, your body is going to lose plenty of water. It is therefore important that you keep it well “watered” so you don’t suffer the consequences of dehydration.
Before you head out, drink plenty of water and stash a few water bottles in your bag. You will need a lightweight backpack for this, as you don’t want to carry something too heavy and risk being unable to glide on the snow. You will also need to pack up some snacks to keep your body fueled up.
1. Learn How To Fall
As we stated earlier, as a beginner snowboarder, you are going to fall a lot. But don’t worry because once you learn how to fall appropriately, then it will be relatively easy for you to avoid injuries.
So here is the secret to falling properly; do not use your hands/palms to break the fall no matter how tempted you may feel to do so. If you don’t want to break or sprain your wrist and ruin the adventure, keep your hands crossed to your chest as close as you can to your body when you feel like you are falling.
2. Position Your Body Properly
You will need a relaxed and well-balanced body stance to enjoy snowboarding. To make the right posture, stand with your feet a little wider apart than your shoulders, and flex your knees softly. Exert pressure on the back, front, heel, or toe side of the snowboard. Make sure your ankles, knees, hips, and shoulders are soft and not in a straight rigid position, just like when you are about to do a squat workout.
Most snowboarders let their arms hang at the sides. Your instructor may have you hold out your arms parallel to the surface of the snow and the board so you can balance properly. Using your dormant arm, point toward the direction you will be moving. Alternatively, bend the knee of your dominant leg and place both hands on it.
Let your head face in the direction you intend to go. Do this without turning your hips or shoulders. Your eyes should be looking at your destination, not your board, or the snow near it.
3. Learn How To Slide On A Flat Surface
You will need to perfect your flat surface skating before advancing to slopes. Skating is similar to walking on a snowboard, only with more gliding.
Use your front foot to slide and have your other foot pushing on the ice with short, quick strides. Then twist the foot that is on the front and bent the knee at an angle. You will feel more like you are on a one-footed skateboard.
To do a skate, point your snowboard straight and push off with the free foot. Then move this foot on the board right between the bindings to glide. Stop the skate by scooting the toes of the free foot in front and dragging them in the ice.
4. Look Where You Are Going
Just like when skateboarding or doing a surfing pop up, snowboarding requires you to look where you are going. It’s tempting as a first time snowboarder to look at the board or the floor. Do not do this. Always have your eyes glued to your destination.
Your eyes will be leading the rest of your body to help you control and turn the board. Keeping them looking forward will enable you to see how the entire trail looks like and control your snowboard accordingly. It will help you avoid obstacles and prepare for any impending danger. You will be able to keep a balanced posture too.
Looking ahead is also a helpful hint for not falling. Practicing it enhances your snowboarding skills and gets you comfortable on the trail.
Globo Surf Overview
Snowboarding can be a great way to spend your winter. If you are trying it for the first time, you may want to take some time to learn the basics. This guide contains the ins and outs of snowboarding including how to gear up, prepare, and get started.
Sure, you may find the first couple of days a little tricky and maybe frustrating but if you are patient, you will eventually get there. Stick to the tips given by your instructor and stay committed to your practice. This will give you the confidence you need to do some actual snowboarding (not just falling now and then).
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- How To Learn To Snowboard, thesnowpros.org