Best Beginner Snowboard Tips
Winter’s just around the corner and the mountains are calling. Spending your time relaxing at a ski resort with hot cocoa and a nice book looks more and more appealing as the weather gets colder. But this year, you want to try something different. Wasting your days relaxing seems less and less exciting, and the snow glows with possibility. The wild mountains are full of twists, turns, and people flying on their snowboards. You’ve never seen people look so free, and you want to try it out.
But, it seems dangerous, and it’s not really your thing. You’ve always really been more into wine, spas, relaxing, and maybe a little skiing just to say you saw the mountains. But deep down, you know it would do you good. And you’re right. Well, don’t worry! Although it takes a lot of practice to become a pro, it doesn’t take much time to get in the hang of it and have some fun on your next winter vacation. Here are the best beginner snowboarding tips to get you flying over those hills in no time.
Beginner Snowboard Gear
By far the most important thing for a beginner snowboarder to get is the appropriate gear. You need to make sure that your boots fit properly, you have the protection in place, and you’re safely warm.
When you’re getting your snowboard boots, always have them fitted, as they’re likely to be different than your regular shoe size. When you try on the shoe, don’t fear the space. There should always be about an inch of space between your toes and the tip of the shoe. But your boot shouldn’t be too loose as well. The ideal feel you should get is loose at the tips of the fingers, but still gently touching the tip of the shoe. Invest in a good helmet, wrist guards and impact shorts, as these are here to prevent some of the most common injuries that happen to beginners. And make sure to get the outfit that is warm enough, as you don’t want the winter cold numbing your joints!
How to Choose the Board
The most important factor in choosing your first snowboard is definitely the camber profile. When you’re starting out, opt out for Burton’s Hybrid Camber or Flat to Rocker because of their overall stability. Hybrid Camber has a rocker in both its tip and tail which helps turn initiation, while the camber underfoot adds all the stability a beginner needs to get a feel for the board.
One of the best beginner snowboard tips, when board selection is concerned, is the flex of the board. This metric is basically about how sensitive your board is to your movement, and how much it will bend. A stiff board is all about stability and it takes a lot of strength to maneuver it. It’s great when you intend to jump huge distances and stay in the air for too long. But in the beginning, you won’t be doing too much of that. And if a board is too stiff it will only make turning your snowboard harder. Since you’re just beginning, you want to get that leg-feel of bending your snowboard and not investing too much energy into doing that.
However, if the flex is too soft, you might have some problems holding the edges. Your best option is to go for medium-soft flex. The sweet spot is between 3-4 on the scale of 10.
Feel the Board in Safe Conditions
You can do some basic practices in your back-yard or living-room just to get the feel of your new board. Practice transitions on a flat surface far away from the steepness of the mountain. You can also practice your ollies in the garden with the low-risk of slipping down a dangerous path.
Find an Instructor
One of the best beginner snowboard tips is definitely to get at least some professional guidance. Even if you have a DIY approach to everything and hate others in your business, this really is one of those situations you’ll have to suck it up. Going at it alone doesn’t just mean learning more slowly, but it also puts you at the higher risk of injury.
If you don’t want to pay for a snowboard instructor, ask a friend or a family member who might have the experience to teach you. If you don’t have that either, then begin by watching online tutorials and practicing in a safe environment, like your garden. Don’t attempt to conquer the hills just yet.
Once you’ve practiced enough at home and feel more confident, try and find a progression park or a terrain in your area. When you go, the first few times just make a point of watching others. When you get on the terrain yourself, start with mild heights, and practice your manual by balancing either nose or tail. Don’t try to fly straight away! And don’t be shy to ask the people around for some tips and guidance. Who knows, maybe one of them helps you get the basics down.
Learn to Fall Safely
When you start with snowboarding, one of the first things you learn is you’ll be falling a whole lot if you want to get any good. One of the best beginner snowboarding tips on safety is to never break a fall with your hands. This is very dangerous, and a lot of snowboarders get their wrists injured this way. When you’re falling forward, try to fall knees-first and wrists second. You’ll ideally want to land on your knees first, and then support the upper part of your body with your hands immediately after. If you’re falling backward, the most important thing is to protect your head. Wear a helmet, and press your forehead to your knees to ensure landing on anything but your head. Ideally, aim for your bottom, as it can take the fall with the least amount of injury.
One of the best snowboard tips for beginners is something I’d even call a requirement. You don’t have to be a whiz on a skateboard. Knowing how to ground on it, jump off, and hold your speed will suffice. It’s really neat to have some skating tricks up your sleeve and a solid balance before you attempt snowboarding. Besides, even as a beginner, you should know, getting your leg out of the straps is an important thing to learn. You’ll be required to ride like that if you ever need to avoid something and ride along the snow. As this can happen very often, learning to ride with unstrapped feet is one of the best beginner snowboarding tips that can help you evade a disaster.
Learn the Basic Symbols
Before you even attempt hitting a terrain, have your theory checked. Know what each of the symbols you’ll encounter might mean. It can literally be a lifesaver.
Wherever you go, every slope will have a sign indicating whether or not the spot is beginner-friendly. You should aim for green, as these slopes are the easiest. They aren’t too steep and allow you to practice on a more flat, safer terrain. The next level of slopes is blue. You should completely avoid the red slopes in the beginning. These are dangerous terrains where even pros get hurt, so don’t go there.
Look Where You Want to Go
One of the most important, overused and, none the less, best beginner snowboarding tips is to look in the direction of where you want to go. That is always what your gaze should be firmly fixed upon. Now, this tip might seem simple enough, but once you get your feet on the board you’ll see how hard this is. You’ll be tempted to look down at your feet at every second. Most of the action is focused on your feet, so it’s only natural you want to see how they’re doing.
Recognize that temptation and resist it when you’re up in the air. Just know that no matter how strongly your survival instinct thinks so, looking down at your feet won’t help you. Just keep your gaze straight at the drop point and you’ll land there safely enough.
Whenever you get the chance, watch the pros do it. This can either happen on a terrain where you watch them live, or on TV. Find your favorite snowboard champion to root for and follow all their moves. Take notes, and practice what you can in a safe environment. Study the pros and pay attention to how they live their lives. How much they eat, how much they practice, and all other advice that can help you start with drive and inspiration.
Remember, it takes years to master riding a snowboard. One of the best beginner snowboard tips that will ensure the right attitude is patience. Be aware that you can’t become a pro overnight. Even simple tricks will take a long time to learn in the beginning when you don’t even have a proper feel of the board. Know that this comes with time. And no matter how frustrated you get, remember it gets easier. Once learn how the board works, how you want to use it and how to feel the speed, you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’re learning new tricks.
So be patient and determined. Success doesn’t come fast, but you wouldn’t like it that way anyway. One of the best beginner snowboarding tips is to enjoy the process, so don’t rush it. Work your way up to more and more challenging tricks at your own pace.
Now you know some of the best beginner snowboard tricks you need to get into the game. Be careful in your gear selection, wear a helmet, and opt for a nice, medium flex hybrid camber for your introductory experience. Practice in safe conditions, and try to get at least one proper lesson from someone who knows how to snowboard. Learn the techniques to safely fall in every position, and also pay attention to the signs on the tracks. These lessons are important for your safety. Always look in the direction of where you’re headed, no matter how badly you want to look at your feet. Watch professionals as often as you can and study their game. And don’t lose patience, even if it seems frustrating. No matter how many times you fail, accept it as the part of the process and try to enjoy it.