You’ve already arranged to spend one weekend at one of the skiing resorts around Lake Huron to try snowboarding. Congratulations! But then, you’re also nervous about it since you’re a beginner. Yes, this snowsports could be daunting, but it shouldn’t dampen your spirits! Experts say that while snowboarding may be challenging to learn, it’s relatively easy to master. We came up with pointers for you to make your snowboarding experience safe and enjoyable:
Wear the right clothing and the necessary gear
This could not be emphasized enough — the right clothing will protect your body from injuries while learning this challenging sport. The mountains can also be an unwelcoming and cold environment, especially for beginners. Wear thermal base layers on your top and bottom half, followed by a jumper. Snowboarding jacket and trousers that are windproof and water-resistant should also be worn to prevent you from getting cold and wet on the slopes.
Helmet, lacrosse shorts, wrist guards (and goggles if you’re riding an indoor dome) are some of the indispensable gear for snowboarding. Lacrosse shorts are bicycle shorts with removable pads to protect the hips, crotch, and thighs, and with a thin plastic shield over the tailbone. While fitting nice and snug under snowboarding pants, lacrosse shorts facilitate ease in movement as well. Wrist guards should accommodate one’s mittens, which, in turn, should cinch one’s arms and close with an actual strap or cord rather than just an elastic band. Protective gear can be bought at any sporting goods store at affordable prices.
And lastly, make sure that your boots also fit properly. When trying a pair, wear only one pair of socks and see to it that your heels are in the very back of the boots to ensure a snug fit. A lot of beginners wear several pairs of socks to stay warm, but this is unnecessary since modern snowboard boots are designed to keep your feet warm and comfortable with just a pair of socks.
Enrol at a snowboarding class
A lot of beginners think they can teach themselves, only to end up getting frustrated. Booking yourself a proper snowboarding lesson, on the other hand, saves you money and headache. Your instructor will guide you and give helpful tips on turning basics, standing up, sliding downhill, and stopping.
Determine your stance
Finding out your stance is very crucial to your success in snowboarding. Think which foot you’d use to kick a soccer ball; this will usually be your back foot on a snowboard. If you can’t figure out which foot you’d use, have a trusted friend give you a gentle push from behind and see which foot you catch yourself with — that’ll be your lead foot. If it was left, you’re regular footed; if it was right, you’re goofy footed.
Find your balance
Board balance is a key component in snowboarding since it will serve as your base of support. Try to keep the majority of your weight stacked over your board to maintain a balanced position.
Learn to fall over properly
As a beginner, expect that you’ll fall over a lot of times. There’s no need to be scared of it as long as you know how to fall over properly. Try to avoid putting your hands out to break your fall to avoid injuring your wrists. Keep your hands close to your body, instead, by crossing them over your chest.
Whenever you are moving toward a chair lift or are stopped on a flat area of the mountain, unstrap one foot from your bindings and skate along the snow. Always take your back foot out of the bindings and leave the front foot strapped in. Bring your back foot in front of your board and push like you’re skateboarding to glide forward across the snow and to control the board with your front foot. Keep practicing until you get the hang of it.
Find an easy way to move from one point to another
Traversing on a snowboard is an essential skill that every snowboarder should learn to help glide on surfaces easily and gain edge control. As you improve, you’ll still use this skill to explore new terrain, find pow stashes, and help you deal with any slope you’ll come across.
Look where you want to go
Though it’s very tempting to look on the ground especially if you’re a beginner, you are highly encouraged to keep looking instead where you want to go. This is to train you to control and turn your board properly since your eyes lead the rest of your body.
Learn edge control
Snowboard turns have to happen in one smooth movement. Start off in a heel side slide slip (body facing downhill). When you’re ready to start a toe side turn, press down on your front foot. As your board starts to point downhill, rotate your head, shoulders, and hips. Keep rotating all the way round until your front hand is pointing to the other side of the slope and you’re on a toe side edge (body facing up the mountain).
Snowboarding is challenging at times and can be frustrating especially during the first few days of learning. It doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t enjoy yourself eventually. Give yourself enough time, practice, and patience, and soon enough, you’ll be gliding across the slopes like a pro!