If you’ve never been on a winter vacation, or don’t live near any powdered hills, you probably don’t have much experience snowboarding. It can be intimidating to approach considering the balance and athleticism needed to perform on even the simplest and safest of hills. But you shouldn’t let that dissuade you, snowboarding is among the most enjoyable and thrilling of winter sports. To help with any fears, I’ve compiled a quick guide for how to safely begin snowboarding.
Find your stance
Your stance is crucial for any motion-based activity, like skateboarding or skiing, and snowboarding is no different. Your stance is determined by which leg you tend to lead with.
Most people will lead with their left leg, which is the ‘regular’ stance. If you tend to lead with your right leg, you’ll probably be more comfortable in the ‘goofy’ stance.
You might not think about which leg you lead with, so a quick test is to put on a pair of pants – whichever leg you put on first is probably your lead leg.
Wear the Right Gear
Snowboarding, skiing, and even simply sledding down a hill can be dangerous, so it’s important to be prepared for anything. For protection and comfort, make sure you have important gear with you:
- A helmet – Always wear a helmet when doing an activity that could involve falling over or collisions
- Snowboard – make sure you have one that matches your stance and size
- Snowboarding boots – these are designed to attach to the board, and they help with ankle support and protection. Make sure you know how to properly strap in!
- Eye protection – snow blindness is a problem on sunny days, but can also cause issues on overcast ones
- Wrist guards – you’ll probably need to catch yourself when falling, and these will help prevent any harm to your hands and wrists.
- Warm clothing – Staying warm is absolutely essential for any winter sport, especially when you might be falling over or rolling through the snow.
Look for the Right Snow
If you aren’t familiar with snow sports, it’s important to note that the type of snow you’ll be out on could change the experience a great deal.
- Frozen or icy snow is not good for beginners. This snow will be hard and slick, which is hard to navigate; as well as being dangerous or painful to fall on.
- Fresher, powdery snow is ideal, as you’ll find it easier to dig in and find traction on, as well as less intimidating for falls.
Keep an eye out for the weather, and aim to hit the slopes just after a snowfall. Another tip is to aim for a midweek outing, as an icy surface is often due to heavy traffic compacting the surface powder.
Take a Friend
Any activity worth doing is worth doing with friends. If you aren’t planning on paying for a trainer or guide, then an experienced friend can help you figure out how to snowboard much faster than if you were on your own.
Not to mention that you’ll have much more fun with other people around, which will help keep you from getting frustrated or annoyed. Even if you’re all beginners, learning together can make the trip that much safer and more enjoyable.