In order to get on the slopes and carve snow like a pro, first, you got to learn the basics. Having good knowledge of the basics sets a good foundation that you can build off of. Slowly but surely, you will be able to snowboard! Below are a few friendly tips for snowboard newcomers.
1) Have the Right Gear
When first starting out you may or may not have splurged on some gear. Whether you're renting or not, ensuring everything fits comfortably is essential. Snowpants, snow jacket, gloves, boots. All apparel should fit comfortably as to not restrict too much movement. Ensuring bindings are calibrated correctly, your board is the right size for you, and your snowboard is waxed is paramount to preventing any mishaps.
2) Regular or Goofy Stance?
A regular stance is when you ride your snowboard with left foot in front and right foot behind. The goofy stance is the opposite. In goofy stance the right foot is your leading foot, and the left is your back foot. This is truly a personal preference and in no way affects performance. However, knowing your stance is pivotal to learning how to ride.
3) Maintain a Center of Balance
It's easy to lose focus when first starting out. With so much to learn it can be hard to stay upright. However, if you know the tips it makes things significantly easier. These include:
- Bend your knees
- Look where you want to go
- Get fit! (As most balance comes from the core ensuring you are in good shape is a huge benefit)
- Start slow
You might find going downhill on a snowboard rather easy. However, flat ground is a whole different ball game. With one foot still hooked in and the other pushing you along, falling is borderline inevitable. Don't let this frustrate you as staying upright while pushing yourself to the chair lift takes time.
4) Don't Ride Straight
Knowing how you should ride down a hill is vital to ensuring you have a good time. Bee-lining down a hill may be fun but if you crash... it's going to hurt. This is why you ride in a J or S pattern when you're starting out. The J pattern is a quick turn to either side to slow down. This helps you travel down the hill without picking up too much speed. The slower pattern is the S pattern. It is like the J pattern, but it is a continuous zig zag. This is the way you should be riding to start out. It will make sure you don't go too fast, helps practice turns, and maintain a solid center of balance.
5) The Bunny Hill is your Best Friend!
It may feel embarrassing to be on the bunny hill but its more embarrassing to tumble down a mountain at Mach 1. Starting off small is the way to go. The main focus is to get a feel of the board, understand how to stay upright, and learn some turn / stop techniques. This can all easily be learnt on the bunny hill. If you're a fast learner, you'll be on the blue in no time!
Above all. Be patient, set realistic progression goals for your time in the mountain, and have fun!