Tips for Beginner Snowboarders
Every season thousands of people get out on the slopes and explore snowboarding for the first time. Most newcomers sign up for snowboard lessons and rent gear at a ski resort. Once that first lesson is over, beginning snowboarders are out on their own until that next lesson.
As an AASI Certified Instructor and well-seasoned beginner snowboard instructor, there are standard bits of snowboarding advice I give to beginners and those with a few seasons under their belt. They’ll allow your snowboarding to become solid and be more efficient. Certified snowboard instructors can be found at Park City Mountain Resort as well as Canyons but keep in mind snowboarding is not allowed at Deer Valley.
Having properly fitting boots is going to make your feet happy and allow your snowboard to be steered with precision. First off, your feet shouldn’t be swimming around inside your snowboard boots. They should be snug and offer lots of ankle support. Buy or rent boots that fit your foot shape. Different brands work for different feet. Work with a snowboard boot fitter. If your arches hurt while riding, buy some trim to fit supports like Superfeet or get fitted for some custom footbeds.
Having the proper stance is the key to advanced snowboard riding. Your ankles, knees, and hips should be equally flexed with equal weight on both feet. There should be a straight line from the top of your shoulder to your hip and then to the back of your foot. If you can see the front of your feet while standing on snowboard, you’re not in a proper flexed stance. Can you wiggle your knees while standing on your board? If you can’t, your knees are locked out. Flex straight down a few inches. I bet you can wiggle them now.
One reason many riders have problems with their toeside turns is because they get their weight on the back foot and lock out the front knee and ankle. If you are having to kick the back of your snowboard around to complete a turn, this is most likely the issue. Flex the front ankle and your weight will be pulled forward. Push your forward knee towards the snow, and you’ll be making that toeside turn.
Snowboards turn on the snow when you create torsional twist. It’s easier to create this twist and turn a snowboard when you use a snowboard with a gentle flex. Beginner snowboards such as the Burton LTR will help you learn to turn. Once you’re confident with your turns, celebrate by buying that sweet snowboard you’ve always wanted to own.
Don’t compete with Holland’s scenic windmills. Snowboarding is more efficient and easier to perform with lower body steering. Use your hips, knees, and ankles to initiate your turns. If you are twisting and turning your upper body to turn your snowboard, take a lesson from a certified snowboard instructor and they’ll have you being lazy and looking good. Save the upper body hucking for the halfpipe.
Don’t ride a snowboard like a skier. Skiers always point their chest in the direction they are going. In freeride snowboarding, your front shoulder should always be pointed at the tip of your snowboard and your rear shoulder should always be pointed at the tail of your snowboard. You should be looking in the same direction that the tip of the snowboard is headed. Keep your arms and hands down by your sides and you’re gonna be looking good.
Is the toeside turn still a terrifying concept? I’ve had people in lessons that have ‘snowboarded’ for five years and still didn’t know how to make a toeside turn. Learning to make both heelside and toeside turns is part of beginner snowboarding. Take an introduction to turns lesson from an experienced and certified snowboard instructor and you’ll learn how to progress from garlands to making confident toeside turns.
Some resorts have no beginner trails at all. For the best experience as a beginner snowboarder, vacation at a resort that has beginner friendly terrain. Look for resorts with long wide gentle trails and located away from major population centers. The wide gentle trails will help you gain confidence in your skills and you won’t have to worry about getting hit if the trails are uncrowded.