Over the last decade I’ve done a lot of snowboarding. I’ve traveled to a lot of resorts, and I have fond memories of most of them. I’m going to share a lot of Snowboard Tips I’ve learned along the way. So you don’t have to make the same mistakes I have.
The first mountain I ever shredded is Crystal Mountain, and it holds a special spot in my heart. Keep in mind the one I went to is in Washington state, there’s another in Michigan that looks epic, and I need to book a trip.
I spent an epic five days there, and I can’t forget it. Every year, I make plans to return because it was amazing. On my first visit, I didn’t get to see half the mountain, mostly due to inexperience and being a rookie.
Crystal Mountain isn’t the largest ski resort, and a lot of well known resorts are in the area. It was perfect for me. It stands in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, and on a clear day you’ll see 5 volcanoes from the summit (locals told me this I’m still unsure). I never saw them, because we had epic snowstorms the entire week I was there.
Before I get into the mistakes most people make when snowboarding for the first time. There’s a few questions that always come up with first timers, and I’d love to answer those first.
Snowboard Tips For Beginners
How Do You Get Really Good At Snowboarding?
To become a better snowboarder you’ll need to practice. There’s two ways to go about this.
- Increase the amount of time you spend on the mountain.
- Ride steeper and more difficult runs. If it scares you, then you’re doing good.
Ride more and be challenged more. Those are the keys to getting better. As an added bonus you can always get somebody to watch or film you. Then you can get some good feedback.
Is It Hard To Learn Snowboarding?
Usually it takes around 4 visits with a good instructor to learn how to snowboard. However I have had 1 student that couldn’t do it, and I’ve had others pick it up on their first day.
It really depends on your dedication and athletic aptitude, but I’d say 99.9% of people could learn.
Which is Easier To Learn Skiing Or Snowboarding?
This is a little harder to answer because it depends on the person. From my experience if you’ve skateboarded a lot, you’ll do better at snowboarding, and if you rollerblade a lot skiing might be easier.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do one or the other, it means you’ll have to break some habits, and that could be difficult depending on the person.
How Do I Become More Confident In Snowboarding?
Read my answer from above about getting better at it. Practice is the one way to become more confident. However if there’s an issue go to an easier run and do the move that scares you over and over again.
Once you get bored, go to a more difficult run and repeat.
It’s how I taught myself to ride switch.
Snowboard Gear Mistakes
It all started out with an idea. I wanted to ride a real mountain. We don’t have many of them in the Midwest. We had Lutsen which is four hours north of my hometown, but I’d ridden there already. I wanted adventure, and something knew.
There’s something to say about telling people I was going to the mountains. I might’ve been a little pretentious back then.
In Minnesota, I never wore a helmet, I didn’t own one back then. Also, I didn’t have good goggles or a camelback. How did I even stay hydrated? Somehow, I survived, and made it back in one piece.
Snowboard Tips: Items I Should’ve Brought
- I’d bring my helmet, I ALWAYS wear a helmet now.
- I’d bring better goggles.
- My Camelback is almost as important as the helmet. Stay hydrated.
- Sun Tan Lotion…If the sun would’ve come out, I would’ve burned.
I Booked A Flight And Rented A Car
I’d visited Seattle once when I was working, and I remembered having a great time there. However it was my first time ever renting a car. The whole situation was a nightmare. I rented something with a rack so my snowboard would fit, but they gave me a smaller car. I had to figure out a way to fit my board in the car.
Driving To The Snowboarding Resort:
When I landed in Seattle it was raining, there was no surprise there. It’s always raining in Seattle. I began my drive into the mountains and it slowly turned into snow. The drive was beautiful and I didn’t want it to end except I was excited to go boarding.
Snowboard Tips: Cutting Down Costs
A trick I like to use that cuts down on costs, I’ll find a grocery store near my hotel. Usually, I can squeeze an extra life ticket out of making my own food a few times on any trip.
In Colorado, I’ve stayed in places that have full kitchens, I like those the best. In another place I cooked once or twice using a microwave. that wasn’t as much fun.
The Snowboard Resort:
My first real look at a mountain scared the crap out of me. I’m from Minneapolis, and our longest runs are 30 seconds long. If You Venture up north we have some better and longer runs, but it’s nothing like a mountain.
I was staying at the resort, so after unloading my car I wandered around. There was no night riding, for me that was weird, but most mountains don’t offer that. In the midwest it’s how they make money.
I couldn’t believe how much snow was falling. it was unreal. I knew this would give a perfect week for riding.
My First Chair lift Ride: Snowboard Tips
It was snowing all night, the news reports kept saying we received 18-24 inches. I was excited so I got my gear on to try and be first chair. I saw people everywhere, as I walked to the chair. Excited, I hopped onto the first chair and rode up. The excitement grew as the elevation went up. By the time I reached the top, there was already an inch of snow on my shoulder.
I wanted to ride some green circles first. I told myself it was to warm up, but even those scared me. A green circle out west is a blue or black in the midwest. Is there even a measuring criteria?
My first run I dropped in, and snow was everywhere. I shredded hard and caught my edge. This sent me flying backwards, and I thought about how much pain I was going to be in.
Once I hit the snow I started to roll. To my surprise, it was soft. The same wipeout in Minnesota would’ve ended my day. I started laughing as I stopped spinning, got up and kept riding.
Day one was an epic success.
Snowboard Tips: Day 2.
I wanted to ride the longest run possible. That morning I actually looked at a trail map. Two different runs looked promising. One was called ‘Lucky Shot’ The Other ‘Mr. Magoo.’ Both were Blue Squares and looked promising.
I hopped onto a chair at the mountain base, with a retired skier. I started a conversation with him, because chair rides are super long, and I didn’t want it to be awkward.
“You’ve never been out here before?“ He Asked.
“No,” I replied, “I’d never ridden in the Mountains before yesterday, and this is amazing.”
Snowboard Tips – Tree Wells
“What!!!” The Skier Said. “You have to be careful of tree wells, tree wells will kill you.” He said.
I always face my fear, but that freaked me out. What was a tree well? I don’t think we had those in Minneapolis. He went on to explain what a tree well is, and they are terrifying. It’s why you should never go off trail alone. Or you might find yourself in trouble.
The rest of my trip, I rode trails, it wan’t until my next trip to Colorado that I rode trees. It kinda sucks, but I was alone out there, it just made sense.
Snowboard Tips – The Rest Of The Week
The snow continued to dump on us. Daily totals were estimated anywhere from 12-24 inches. I’ve only seen one other day like it, and that was Vail last season.
By the end of the second day, I got really sore, my feet were killing me. I wasn’t used to the long riding, and the elevation. In addition to this, I was lacking proper hydration.
This caused me to end my days on the mountain early. On the bright side, there was an out door heated pool by my condo. I swam in that for an hour or two every night. Swimming in a heated pool while snow falls around you is surreal.
In Retrospect, What did I learn?
- Wear My Helmet, The Mountains Are No Joke, And Massive Injuries Happen.
- Bring The Best Goggles, They Can Make Or Break Your Trip
- Have A CamelBack Or Some Form Of Hydration.
- Sun Tan Lotion, Higher Elevation Means Less Protection From The Sun. You’ll Burn Fast Without It.
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