There comes a time in life when you’re ready to switch things up and try something different. Perhaps you grew up skiing and are eager for a new challenge. There are a few things to consider before strapping onto your board. Here are seven snowboarding tips for beginners, to jump-start your learning curve.
Go to the gym! Make time and effort to get your muscles familiar to stresses and movements that snowboarding demands on the body. The stronger you are, the less chance of injury. This means more time to crush it on the snow instead of recovering in the hot tub.
Don’t simply borrow equipment from a friend – you’ll regret it. Take the time to visit a snowboard shop to get fitted and measured for boots and board length. Making sure these details are ironed out ahead of time will save you a lot of aches and unnecessary pains once it’s time to hit the slopes.
There’s a reason ski resorts have professionals on hand to teach you the proper skills. A lesson will help you dial in your equipment and stance. And the instructor understands the process of teaching and what basics you need to apply in what order for you to successfully link your first turns.
Are you goofy footed, or regular? Does it feel more natural to have your right or left foot forward? Think of how you kick a ball, or what foot you put out first to catch your balance. If your right foot lands first, you’re goofy footed, and if it’s left, you’re regular. Once your lead foot is established, an athletic stance becomes your best friend. Keep your knees and ankles bent and your hands out in front of you in a ready position.
Just like in any other sport, you should always focus on where you want to go, not where you don’t. Your body is conditioned to follow your eyes. This becomes especially important when trying to control your speed. Look across the hill to increase your turning radius and decrease your speed rather than looking down the hill, which will only increase your speed and decrease your control. This may feel counter-intuitive, especially once fear kicks in. Rather than looking directly in front you, looking further ahead enables you to act upon snow conditions rather than simply react.
Unlike skiing, your fore and aft balance on a snowboard becomes heel to toe versus side to side. Toe pressure initiates a toe-side, or frontside, turn, whereas heel pressure initiates a heelside turn. Dominant pressure on your front foot allows the tail of the snowboard to slide, and ultimately, turn.
Your butt, wrists and knees will hate you for the first few days, but your adrenaline and fun-factor meter will love you. Keep everything in perspective. You can’t learn a sport overnight, so have patience with yourself, take breaks, drink water and laugh! Before you know it, you’ll be floating through powder, weaving through trees and mixing it up with the rest of the riders in the terrain park.
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