How To Snowboard; Tips For Starting Out

When you’re learning how to snowboard, you might think it’ll be a difficult process. However with the right teacher and gear, you can streamline the process, and make it really epic.

The first time I tried to snowboard, a friend of mine watched some YouTube videos, and we went to a tall sledding hill in Minneapolis. We weren’t wearing helmets, it was an icy day, and we hurt ourselves a lot.

It amazes me today that I learned how to ride. Of course I didn’t learn anything there, it took a college class with a licensed instructor to teach me.

That being said, snowboarding is an intense sport. If you’re wanting to learn how to snowboard at the very least bring a friend with who knows what they’re doing.

I Highly Recommend The Following Courses Of Action:

  1. Purchase A Lesson. You’ll Get The Basics.
  2. ALWAYS!!! Wear A Helmet. If/When You Catch The Wrong Edge Snowboarding, You Can Really Hurt Your Head.
  3. I Tell My First Time Students To Wear Thin Kneepads Under Their Snow Pants. While It’s Not Necessary, It’s Helpful To People On Their 1st Or 2nd Lesson.
  4. Read My Article About How To Fall Properly. Trust Me, It’ll Save Your Wrists.

Is It Hard Do Learn How To Snowboard?

I’ve taught a lot of people to snowboard over the last decade. Currently I teach 3rd graders every winter, with a program called SkiJammers. They’re an awesome organization if you live in the twin cities area you should check them out.

There’s usually 2 issues I see that can hinder your ability to learn how to snowboard.

  1. How Athletic/In Shape Are You?
  2. Did You Rollerblade/Roller Skate?

How Athletic Are You?

If you’re outta shape, snowboarding will kick your butt into shape. It does an amazing job with that, combine that with shredding in the mountains with less atmosphere. And you’ve got a great way to shape up. Snowboarding uses muscles in ways most people don’t even know about. however if you spend a day on the mountain, you’ll learn about those muscles the next day.

That is why it is harder to learn how to snowboard when out of shape. (I am every November)

Now if you’re a born athlete and you’re doing CrossFit everyday (who has time for that?) you might be able to pick snowboarding up in a day.

The average amount of time you should plan for learning. Is about 4-5 visits to the mountain. I’m not saying you’ll be an expert at the end of that, but you’ll be able to get down the mountain, and you’ll have a feel for what you’re doing.

Can You Learn How To Snowboard In A Day?

Yes, in some circumstances I’ve been able to teach people how to shred in one day. However both of these people were extreme athletes who had been in swimming and gymnastics their whole life.

Can You Teach Yourself to Snowboard?

I tried to teach myself to snowboard, I wasn’t wearing a helmet, didn’t know how to fall, and didn’t know about stopping. It didn’t end well. I highly recommend finding someone to teach you. whether that’s a licensed resort instructor or a friend. having somebody show you how, can save you a lot of pain and grief in the future.

How To Snowboard; Step By Step

So now we’re getting to basic steps about learning how to snowboard. Below is a list in order, of what you’ll need to have a successful first day on the hill.

  • Learn What Gear You’ll Need
  • Setup Your Stance
  • Locate The Bunny Hill
  • Sign Up For A Class With An Instructor
  • Start Out With C Turns Gradually Making Them S Turns
  • Move Onto An Easy Green And Perfect The Skills

What Snowboard Gear Will You Need?

Snowboard:

It should be obvious, but to go snowboarding, you’ll need a snowboard. If you don’t own one you can always rent from the resort, and that is sometimes the easiest way to do it.

When you’re first learning you’ll be damaging the board, and this way you won’t damage your own gear.

If you’re in the market for a snowboard, check out my article about 1st time snowboard purchases. It’ll help direct you in the right direction.

Snowboard Boots:

Snowboard Boots are one of the most important articles to get right when you’re out on the mountain. If your toes are pinched or cold, you’re not gonna have a good time. Proper fitting snowboard boots are extremely important.

Check out my article for picking the correct snowboard boots for more information. In all of these articles, I go into great depths about what to choose and why.

Bindings:

Snowboard Bindings are the bridge between your boots and the board. They transfer the power, direction, and feel to your feet. When you’re starting out they won’t matter as much, but when you delve deeper into the snowboarding world you’ll learn a lot about different types and styles. I break them down in my snowboard bindings guide.

Helmet:

I can’t stress enough how important helmets are to snowboarding. While shredding over the years I’ve had 4 concussions. Most of these are due to being stupid and riding on an icy day. Even the best snowboarders catch the wrong edge sometimes, it’s better to have that extra protection that receive a concussion.

For more information on helmets, check out my helmet guide.

Snow Goggles:

I’m a big fan of a good pair of goggles. Whether you’re riding on a blue bird day and need to shade your eyes from the sun (on sunny days, rays off the snow can blind you) or you need a good pair of night goggles to help you get those final runs in.

Snowboard goggles come in a few different shapes and lenses in multiple colors. In general you’ll want a pair of darker colored lenses for day riding, and yellowish lenses for night.

I’ve written an extensive blog post on this topic, click here for more information.

Snow Pants/Warm Clothes:

Your clothes will make or break your day. In the middle of January you wanna stay warm, but in march you might be shredding in snow pants and a T-Shirt. Wearing layers is an important aspect of snowboarding.

Also keep in mind when looking at temperatures. The temperature at the base of the mountain could be drastically different than the summit. In places like Minneapolis that won’t matter much. However when you Shred Mt. Hood, Vail, Or any mountain in Montana, you’ll notice the difference really quick.

I was in Vail one time, and stupid found myself on the front side of the mountain. It’s the tourist trap. I waited forever to get up the mountain and into the bowls. While waiting in line I got extremely hot, and freezing by the time I was in the bowls.

The temperature can change quickly. One rule of thumb I always use. If you’re cold, you’re not shredding hard enough.

Gloves/Mitts:

I’m a huge fan of mitts with a thin glove inside if it’s really cold. when wearing mittens all your fingers are together, and that gives added warmth. That doesn’t mean gloves are bad. It’s just my personal preference. While wearing gloves you have a bit more dexterity and ability to use your hands.

So there is a tradeoff.

Setting Up A Snowboard Stance:

When setting up your snowboard stance (A More In Depth Article) Work On The Following Things.

  1. Figure Out If You’re Goofy Or Regular Footed. (Find The Dominant Let)
  2. Get Your Binding Width Adjusted. (Should Be Slightly Wider Than Shoulder Width)
  3. Adjust Bindings Angles For Comfort. (General Practice In Snowboard Stance Link Above).

Now you’re ready to go.

Arrival At The Resort; Locate The Bunny Hill

Whatever resort you decide to hit up first, make sure you get a deal on lift tickets. The first time you go, you’ll only make it 4-5 hours (max) and you’ll be on your butt trying to get up most of the time.

Don’t pay full price, go on a weekend night, or weekday night. Sometime where you can get a deal. In the twin cites we have Trollhaugen. On Friday nights from 9PM-3Am they have $20 lift tickets. That alone makes it worth it to learn.

On top of that Trollhaugen has a live band and awesome atmosphere every Friday night.

Pay For Snowboarding Lessons

I said it earlier, if you don’t have a friend to teach you. Pay for a lesson. Your body will thank you in the long run, and you won’t hurt yourself as badly. Some people might read this and laugh about that, but I would highly recommend getting someone who knows more than you.

Watching YouTube for tips is great. But sometimes you need a set of experienced eyes to help direct you.

Learn How To Turn On A Snowboard

Learning to turn on a snowboard is extremely important, because it’s how you stop, and maintain control. Snowboarding is not just riding straight down the mountain. Get that out of your head, it doesn’t work like that. People die thinking that’s the case.

Learn how to turn, learn how to carve, learn how to look epic.

Below is a link to another article I wrote, about turning on a snowboard.

Carving will give you an idea about the basics in turning.

Once You Feel Comfortable, Move Onto A Easy Green Run

Practice on that bunny hill, and when you start to get bored and need a little bit more speed. Find a short, green run that is wide. Keep progressing and honing your skills. You’ll be on the black diamond in no time.

In Conclusion:

Congratulations, You’re On The Way To Learning The Basics Of Snowboarding. This has Been An Overview, For The Best Results Have Someone Who Can Coach You Whether It’s Another Snowboarder That’s Ridden For Awhile Or A Licensed Instructor.

Also, ALWAYS wear the proper safety gear when on the hill. Helmets should NEVER be considered optional as head injuries happen a lot with snowboarders. Stay safe and avoid concussions.

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