If you love winter sports, then snowboarding will definitely become one of your favorites. This sport is for those who love an adrenaline rush and adventure.
This extreme sport is more than 100 years old. More than a century of excitement and adventure. That thrill-seekers adore. In 1998 the sport became part of the Winter Olympics in Japan. But this does not mean that snowboarding is only for professionals. Anyone can enjoy this thrilling, fast-paced sport.
Those who are just learning the secrets of this sport usually first look for information on the internet, where they usually seek useful tips for beginners. Of course, this is not enough to learn a sport. As you already know, practice makes it perfect.
Before you even think about riding that board, you need to take care of some things.
You need to have a proper snowboarding gear, such as sufficient and good quality clothing to stay warm, snowboarding boots, gloves and other safety gear.
Here is the list with the most important items that you should acquire:
- Snow pants or snow bib
- Ski mask or balaclava
- Crash helmet
- Snow coat
- Snowboarding boots
- Ski goggles
- Snowboarding gloves
Start with a beginner snowboard, which will let you progress faster. Also choose the correct boots, an essential aspect in snowboarding. The boots not only impact the movement, but they also protect your ankles and feet.
If they are too tight, they will be uncomfortable and impact your feet movement during the turns and when stopping. If they are too lose your feet might come out of them causing you to fall and even hurt yourself.
The correct clothing for snowboarding will ensure you are warm and dry while taking snowboarding lessons and having fun on the slopes. Find a good pair of ski gloves which will keep your fingers warm and protected.
If you want more warmth, choose breathable thermals to wear underneath your clothes and even wear several layers of clothing. Avoid cotton because it soaks up the sweat and will keep you cold. Instead, you should choose synthetic materials such as merino wool or polyester which keep you warm, but also let your skin breathe.
When it comes to protective gear, you should own a helmet, protective lacrosse shorts and wrist guards to keep you safe from injuries while you are still learning how to snowboard. While you are still learning how to snowboard, you will fall a lot on your hands and butt, which can cause bruises and bumps. But the protective gear will keep you safe from serious injuries, giving you more confidence to try new things without being scared of falling and getting injured.
Choosing the best snowboard for you and learning how to maintain it is crucial for your progress and speed of learning how to snowboard. There are some aspects that you should pay attention to when purchasing a snowboard. Here are some of the most important ones:
- The type of terrain
You will see that there are different types of boards depending on the type of terrain you plan to use them: jib, freeride, freestyle or all-mountain.
- Riding level
Depending on your level you will also select the right board for you. For a beginner’s board will help you in mastering the skills of riding, turning, stopping, baby jumping, etc. An intermediate’s board will help you if you want to learn complicated movement and new tricks.
Snowboarding For Beginners
The most important thing to learn is how to keep your balance on the board. For this you need good leg muscles, so you’d better start with some leg building exercises. Another thing you can do is to stand on one leg and swing the other one in different directions. Do this regularly until you are confident.
The body weight should be balanced over the center of the foot’s arch, keeping your hips and head centered too. You should keep your hands a little held out but still focused at the board’s center. When you are riding the board, you should keep your arms and head in the direction you are riding.
How to ride and turn on a snowboard
It is very important to master how to ride and turn on your snowboard as this is what will set you in the correct motion. This part is crucial in snowboarding and it focuses on fundamental body movements.
So, here is what you should do to do this right:
- Keep your head up and high
- Keep your eyes on the direction you are heading to
- Turn your head and shoulders in the direction you are moving
- Use only your core muscles to turn the board
- The board should be turned with the same speed you are turning your shoulders
- Your hips should be balanced towards the center of the board
- Keep your feet properly strapped into the board’s bindings
- If you ride heel-side, move your feet towards the front of the board
- If you ride toe-side, keep your feet facing the tail end of the snowboard
- When you do a toe-side turn, make the first pressure on the toes of the front foot and then, when the turn ends, make the pressure on the back-foot toes.
- When you do a heel-side turn, put the pressure first on the heel of the front foot and then on the back foot.
All these steps are useful in helping you understand how important your body is in snowboarding and how it should be in tune with your snowboard. These steps are the foundation of your snowboarding learning course. Master these and you will ride the board like a pro before you know it on various snow surfaces on the slop or in the mountains.
But so no believe that if you perfectly know the theory you will do flawlessly on the board. You will need lots of practice and falls before you will master all the balancing movements.
Learn How To Snowboard
As mentioned before, you will find tons of articles and videos on the internet on how to snowboard. This is good as theory, but you will see that if you use only this information to learn how to snowboard you will end up very frustrated and you will even get hurt.
No matter how easy some people say snowboarding is, remember that this sport requires a lot of patience and practice. Progress cannot be rushed. Take your time to learn the basics and everything after this will be much easier.
As a beginner, it is important to begin practicing on fresh snow or in the afternoon when the snow starts to melt and becomes softer. Spring is the perfect season for snowboarding. It is warm outside and the snow is a little melted, giving you complete control over your speed and moves.
Learning to snowboard in icy conditions is very hard, so you’d better make sure that you practice on powder so you can learn faster, at your pace and with a minimum risk of injury.
Be prepared also to learn the terminology related to snowboarding. You might feel confused in the beginning hearing all those new terms, but do not get frustrated. The two most important terms you need to know are ‘regular’ and ‘goofy.’ The words might sound familiar to you, but their meaning related to snowboarding is completely different.
Depending on the leg you are using to lead, you are either goofy or regular. Leading with the left leg is called ‘regular’ stance, and with the right one a ‘goofy’ stance.
Learning a new sport can make you nervous. That is why you need to learn how to be loose, relax, and be comfortable. If you keep your knees slightly bent and your back erect, it will give you maximum control over the board.
Your knees, hips, and shoulders should be kept in line with the board and your body weight should be spread equally on both feet. While you are riding, you should face the direction in which you want to go and keep this position as you are gliding down the slope.
The weight-shift is what helps you turn when you want to. Although this might seem like a challenge in the beginning, keep practicing until you manage to master the weight transfer process from the heels to the toes.
Learn the balance points to reduce the number of falls. You can also practice at home how to keep your stance in the right position.
If you are ready to hit the slope, start from the bottom of the run. Find a place where you can drop in smoothly and let yourself slide down the slope. Maintain your balance until you reach the bottom of the slope and then stop. Although this might seem boring in the beginning, it will help you learn how to use the heel edge to stop before you reach the flat area. After you master this, you can try stopping on your toes.
Pay attention to your leg position, stance and how to make turns. In snowboarding,in the beginning, you need to do multiple things at the same time. You will need weeks of practice until the body positions and movements will come naturally.
No matter how nervous you are, do not look down at your boots while moving. This will prevent you from keeping your control and balance. What you should do is keep your head straight up and always look in the direction of movement. Keep your feet, hips and shoulders pointed towards the direction of movement. Keep in mind that if you look down your feet you will keep falling.
It is very exciting when you move from theory to applying what you have learned onto the slopes. No matter how happy you are that you finally learn how to snowboard, do not push yourself to go faster and get out of your comfort zone. This can lead to serious injuries from not being able to properly control the board and you might even lose your confidence.
Wait until you get comfortable on the board and when your skill level improves, to increase speed and attack steeper slopes. Before going faster, you should master stopping and controlling your board.
Rest is also very important in snowboarding. Muscle stiffness and soreness can set in very fast in the beginning, so giving your body the amount of rest it needs is crucial.
Keep in mind that no matter how easy it seems when you look at professional snowboarders, this is still an extreme sport which cannot be mastered in a matter of weeks.
Beginner Snowboard Tricks
Aerials, maneuvers or tricks are performed in snowboarding for fun or in competitions. The tricks are performed on the snowboard on various obstacles such as jumps, half pipes, hips, handrails or just on the plain snow.
Let’s see some examples of snowboard tricks and how you can do them.
Backside and Frontside
When it comes to aerial tricks, you can either make a backside spin or a frontside spin depending on the direction towards which you make the spin. If you do a frontside spin, you will rotate your body in an anti-clockwise direction, keeping your shoulders open as you go forward. During the first phase of this trick, the front side of your body will go forward.
In a backside spin you would rotate your body in a clockwise direction. You will also close your shoulders, to make your backside go forward.
As a beginner in snowboarding, you should definitely know these tips:
For the first run, you should start at the bottom of the slope where you do not have to worry about excess speed, which you might not be able to handle. By starting at the bottom, it will be much easier to keep control of your board.
Start in a seated position facing down the hill. Stand up and keep your front hand pointing down the line. This way, you will be able to turn the board down to start moving.
After you are comfortable controlling the stop and speed, you can now try your first tuns. Do the same as above to move across the run and then stop the board and point it downhill, using your toes.
Snowboarding is not easy, and you will always remember your first snowboarding experience. It will be one of the most frustrating or rewarding days of your life and although you will not learn to snowboard overnight, with the right trainer, gear and practice you will finally manage to fulfill your dream of mastering snowboarding.