Trying something new is difficult, especially if you overthink things and lack confidence. This is understandable when you consider the nature of sliding down a slippery mountain with no experience.
- Is Snowboarding Hard?
- How Long Does it Take to Learn How To Snowboard?
- What is the Hardest Thing About Learning To Snowboard?
- How Dangerous Is Snowboarding?
- Is Snowboarding Harder Than Skiing?
- Should I Ski or Snowboard?
- Is Snowboarding Expensive?
- Can You Teach Yourself to Snowboard?
Tips For Beginner Snowboarders
- 1. Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment
- 2. Wear Snowboard Boots That Fit
- 3. Wear The Correct Clothing For The Conditions
- 4. Look Where You Want To Go
- 5. Bend Your Knees
- 6. Ride Across The Slope
- 7. Practice On Beginner Slopes
- 8. Stay Safe
- 9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Soon
- 9. Hit The Gym
- 10. Have fun!
- Final Thoughts
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The questions you have about snowboarding as a newbie will stem from the unknown and may make you nervous or dampen the excitement. However, snowboarding is fun and exciting, so you need to strap in for the first time with enthusiasm.
In this post, we will answer the questions all new snowboarders have. We will also give you lots of tips, so you know how to make the most of your first time snowboarding.
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Is Snowboarding Hard?
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How difficult you find snowboarding will depend on a few things. But be under no illusion that you will be carving down the mountain and hitting jumps on your first day.
The only people who manage to do this are usually very experienced surfers, wakeboarders, skateboarders, etc. So if you are new to board sports, you will find the first few days of snowboarding challenging.
However, snowboarding isn’t the most difficult sport to pick up. The first two or three days can be very frustrating.
But the key to becoming a snowboarder is persistence. Staying motivated during those first days when you get tired is hard, but you need to think about the possibilities that lie ahead of you when you can ride proficiently.
Think about carving down untouched powder runs, spinning off kickers in the park, and just exploring the stunning landscapes on a snowboard.
Once you get past the initial stages of learning the basics, you will be surprised by how quickly you progress. Unlike skiing, where you will find it easy to pick up but harder to master.
How Long Does it Take to Learn How To Snowboard?
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How long it takes to learn how to snowboard all depends on the person. Like we mentioned earlier, how easy you find it will depend on your sporting background.
It also depends on how you adapt to things. For example, some people struggle to get to grips with their feet being strapped to the board.
Your fitness will also make a difference in how quickly you learn to snowboard. If you are unfit, you will tire quickly from getting up off the snow constantly, so you won’t make the best use of your time.
You need to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Even world champions were beginners once.
But the real thing about snowboarding is that you never learn everything. No matter how experienced you are, there is always something new to learn, especially with all the different disciplines.
Even experienced riders still take snowboard lessons. There is always something to improve on and master.
What is the Hardest Thing About Learning To Snowboard?
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Most new snowboarders find it challenging to learn how to use the edges of the board. Edge control is an essential skill and is the building block of everything you do with snowboarding.
You use your edges to stop, turn, and initiate freestyle tricks. Watch a snowboard video and see how the riders use their edges for pretty much every trick.
But once you learn edge control, it becomes second nature, so you don’t even need to think about it. You will soon progress from the green runs to blues, then reds and blacks.
Another part of snowboarding that people find tricky is getting on the ski lifts. Ski lifts are definitely geared up for skiers more than snowboarders, as you will soon see.
Most ski lifts require snowboarders to ride them with just their front foot strapped in. This is awkward, especially for a beginner who hasn’t mastered board control with both feet yet.
However, most ski resorts have beginner slopes serviced by “magic carpets.” These are conveyor belts that take you to the top with no stress and are perfect until you get enough control for drag lifts and chairlifts.
How Dangerous Is Snowboarding?
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Any sport has an element of danger, but the high speeds and mountain environment of snowboarding increase the risk somewhat. But this shouldn’t put you off snowboarding.
There are many things we can do as snowboarders to manage risk. For example, all snowboarders should wear a helmet, but there are other items of protection that beginner snowboarders can wear.
Impact shorts protect your coccyx; wrist guards and back protectors are also great. However, as you progress as a snowboarder, you may want to wean yourself off them as they become less necessary and restrict your movement.
The main way we can stay safe on the mountain is with common sense. Most accidents happen when we push ourselves too hard, ride when tired, or just not pay attention to what is happening around us.
Is Snowboarding Harder Than Skiing?
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Most people pick up the basics of skiing within a day or two. They will be able to link basic turns and ski on easy slopes without much trouble.
Snowboarding is not as easy in these early days, so don’t expect to be exploring the mountain too soon. However, snowboarding is easier to advance once you get past this stage.
It won’t take long before you are carving and even performing basic tricks once you can link turns proficiently.
Skiing is much harder to master. That is why you can see people who have skied for years that don’t have any style.
Should I Ski or Snowboard?
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Which sport you choose is all down to your personal preference, but both are exceptionally good fun. If you have a background in board sports, you may prefer to become a snowboarder.
Another factor that can help you decide is where you will spend most of your time in the mountains. If the area has lots of flat sections, you will be better off as a skier, as you will be able to use your poles to push yourself along.
Which one you choose may also depend on who you spend time with on the slopes. If you are in a group of novice skiers, you will be able to learn together.
Also, if you have kids, you will find that looking after them on the slopes is much easier on skis than on a snowboard.
Is Snowboarding Expensive?
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Snowboarding is not a cheap sport for several reasons. These are all related to the places you do it and what you need to do it.
You, of course, need a snowboard, boots, and bindings. These can be rented in all ski resorts to keep your costs down, but there are other things you need.
Snowboarding requires a dedicated wardrobe of clothing. The clothes you need include a jacket, pants, thermal underwear, gloves, and snowboard socks.
You also need a good pair of snowboard goggles to protect your eyes.
Other costs come from traveling, lift tickets, accommodation, and all the other things associated with going on vacation.
Once you become a more proficient snowboarder, you will want your own equipment. This is because you will have a good idea of what kind of snowboarder you want to be, and there are different boards for different types of riding.
Can You Teach Yourself to Snowboard?
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There are people out there who have taught themselves to snowboard. But generally, they are not the best riders.
Teaching yourself or getting a friend to teach you is not the best idea. You can fall into many bad habits, it can be dangerous, and you can easily fall out with your friend.
The best thing to do is book a couple of snowboard lessons. A qualified instructor will give you all the necessary information to allow you to develop good snowboard skills.
Snowboard instructors adapt their teaching methods to ensure you get the most out of your lesson. These lessons take away much of the trial and error of learning to snowboard.
Tips For Beginner Snowboarders
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Hopefully, you will still be up for giving snowboarding a try. So to give you a helping hand, here are 10 top tips for beginner snowboarders.
1. Make Sure You Have The Right Equipment
The mountain landscape is varied, and there is a snowboard for pretty much every type of terrain. This will become apparent when you first walk into a snowboard shop.
The number of snowboards on display can be overwhelming, but there is more to a snowboard than just pretty graphics. Each snowboard rides differently, thanks to the various shapes, profiles, and flex ratings.
If you are a beginner snowboarder, it would be best for you to rent a snowboard. There are a few reasons for this:
The first thing is that you don’t know if you are going to enjoy it. So there is no point in buying a snowboard that you may never want to use.
Also, as a beginner snowboarder, you don’t know what kind of snowboarder you want to be. You may want to ride everywhere, just in the park, or head out into the backcountry; each discipline has a different board.
The main reason for renting a snowboard, though, is that you will soon grow out of a snowboard suitable for beginners. It won’t take long before you need something more advanced to help you progress.
When you go to the rental shop, try to rent a snowboard with a rocker camber profile. This puts a rocker between your feet and camber under each binding.
This shape will make it easier for you to avoid catching an edge while you are mastering your first turns. It will also make initiating the turn easier, helping you get to grips with edge control.
The other characteristic of a beginner snowboard is a soft flex. More flexible snowboards are more forgiving, making it easier to pick up the basics.
However, flexible snowboards tend to chatter at high speeds. But you shouldn’t be too worried about that at this stage.
You should also ask for a snowboard that isn’t too long. Shorter snowboards are much easier to turn, as they require less effort, perfect for beginners.
Beginners love all-mountain snowboards, as you can use them anywhere. But freestyle snowboards are more flexible and shorter, making those first few days much easier.
2. Wear Snowboard Boots That Fit
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If you wear snowboard boots that are too small, your feet will feel like they are on fire all day. They will stop the blood flowing through your feet and prevent you from controlling your snowboard correctly.
The lack of blood flow will also make your feet very cold. All of these things can put you off snowboarding or cause you to have an injury.
Wearing snowboard boots that are too big for you will prevent you from having proper control. If your feet move around in your boots, your connection with your board is compromised.
To ensure your boots fit properly, pay attention to your toes and heels. Your toes should just about touch the end of the boot but without pressure.
If your heel lifts at all, your boots are too big, making front side turns challenging and dangerous, especially on choppy snow.
3. Wear The Correct Clothing For The Conditions
Snowboarding in the wrong clothing can make you extremely uncomfortable and can be potentially dangerous. You want to feel warm but not too warm.
If you are too hot, you can tire quickly, sweat too much (causing you to get cold), and even fog up your goggles. If you are too cold you can get frostbite or hypothermia, so stay wrapped up.
Make sure you wear waterproof and breathable snowboard clothing. It is always best to use layers, starting with thermal underwear, a mid-layer, and an outer layer.
4. Look Where You Want To Go
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When you snowboard, your board will naturally go where you are looking. So, if you look at an obstacle you want to avoid, there is a good chance you will ride right into it.
A common mistake for new snowboarders is to ride while looking at your feet. Your head is heavier than you think, which throws you off balance without you knowing.
The best thing to do is keep your head up and look where you want to go. This will ensure that you take your intended line and not in a random direction or into danger.
5. Bend Your Knees
The next thing to remember is to keep your knees bent. Your knees act like suspension, absorbing all the bumps and ruts in the snow.
Bent knees help you keep control of your snowboard in all situations. If you lock your knees, you won’t be able to control your board sufficiently and risk injury.
You don’t need to bend your knees too much, but a slight bend will make you prepared for bumps and allow you to react to changes in the snow.
6. Ride Across The Slope
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The fall line is the path your snowboard takes if you were to point it straight down the mountain. Doing this will make you pick up lots of speed, sometimes too much speed!
However, you can control your speed by turning your snowboard through the fall line across the mountain. This is why we link turns from left to right the whole time we ride, especially on steep slopes.
By riding more parallel to the fall line, the slower you will go. As you become more confident and proficient, you will feel much more comfortable letting the board run between turns and down the fall line.
Even though you have the right of way, it is best to check your surroundings for skiers speeding down the mountain. Look up the hill and make sure nobody is coming when you turn across the slope to avoid nasty crashes.
7. Practice On Beginner Slopes
If you are a confident person with a bit of bravado, you may look at the beginner slopes, thinking you can skip them. You can’t!
The beginner slopes are essential for building up basic snowboard skills. They have gentle gradients, giving you more time to perfect those turns and giving you more freedom to learn.
If you go straight to the blue runs, you don’t get this freedom, as they are full of skiers and snowboarders charging at speed. Therefore, you will spend much of your time worrying about what other people are doing rather than focussing on learning how to snowboard.
Beginner slopes allow you to get an idea of what you need to do before you progress onto more challenging slopes. You will only need to spend a day or two on the beginner slopes before you can move on.
8. Stay Safe
When you stray away from the beginner slopes, you will have more to contend with than just stopping yourself from falling.
Before you set off or make a wide turn, you need to look up the mountain to ensure the coast is clear. You also need to be aware of where you stop.
The last thing you want to do is sit in a blind spot. This could be around a blind bend or on the other side of a rise in the slope. If someone is traveling at speed into one of these blind spots, the consequences can be disastrous.
Most ski resorts have a section on their mountain maps with safety guidelines on how to behave on the mountain. When you are new to skiing or snowboarding, it is worth studying these rules to keep you and everyone else safe.
This is another reason why you should take a snowboard lesson. Your instructor will teach you the best practices for staying safe on the slopes.
9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Soon
You may be tempted to just head out onto the slopes to give snowboarding a try and see what happens. This is more likely if you are out with a group of more experienced snowboarders.
Don’t feel pressured to push yourself too soon. Stick to the slope within your skill level until you feel comfortable progressing.
When you start to rush your snowboard progression, accidents happen. Be patient and take the time to develop the foundations of snowboarding.
Mastering these essential elements will benefit you in the long run. There are some snowboarders that have been riding for years but never really got the basics down. These have a terrible style and often injure themselves.
9. Hit The Gym
You will find that the fitter you are, the easier learning how to snowboard will be. Snowboarding is very physical, especially in those early days, as you spend much of your time picking yourself up off the snow.
Building a strong core, legs, and upper body is great for your snowboarding. Also, improving your flexibility will greatly affect how well you perform and how much you enjoy your time on the board.
10. Have fun!
Snowboarding is one of the most fun things you can do. You just need to get past those first two or three days to appreciate it.
We go snowboarding for fun, and many people live and breathe the sport. When you get to a point when you can ride powder, your life can change, as it is the ultimate experience for pretty much every snowboarder.
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As a new snowboarder, you will feel overwhelmed and unsure about what you are doing and your abilities. But, you need to remember, the only difference between your skill level and the level of a pro is how much time they have spent riding.
The more you ride, the better at snowboarding you will become. Falling is all part of snowboarding, and most of the time, it doesn’t actually hurt, thanks to the cushioning of the snow.
However, we are conditioned to stay on our feet, making falling over scary. Of course, you can hurt yourself snowboarding, but the odd roll around in the snow is no big deal and part of learning.