Whether you grew up on the slopes or you're just curious, learning how to snowboard can be fun.
A Bit About How to Snowboard
Snowboarding has emerged as what some see as a cooler alternative to skiing. With lots of folks showing off tricks and slick racing stances, it can be a lot of fun to watch, too. But if you're thinking about hitting the slopes on a new board, you'll need to be prepared. It can be trickier than skiing -- or at least tricky in different ways. So start slow, prepare to stumble a lot, and work toward a rewarding payoff.
What Is Snowboarding?
Like a mix of skiing and skateboarding, snowboarding has become its own type of extreme sport. Popular among younger winter sports fans, it has developed a culture all its own. You'll find customized boards and several different styles of riding these big boards. There is a lot of diversity within the segment. And you can easily learn the tricks of the trade no matter what your ultimate goal is.
Why Is Snowboarding Difficult?
Learning how to snowboard requires a bit of patients. A long fuse can come in handy, too. It might be tempting to give up, since mastering the discipline requires a combined effort. Mental, physical and artistic all wrapped up in one, this is a uniquely complex undertaking. But with some dedication and a little trial and error, it's something anyone with a desire can master.
What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial
Before you really get started learning how to snowboard, you'll want to make sure you're prepared. These might seem obvious, but without them you'll never plant that great landing.
- The right gear: Just like skiing -- or any other sport -- it's vital to have the right accessories. That starts with a great snowboard. But you'll also want the right boots, outerwear, goggles and headgear for your run.
- The right slopes: Some hills are better suited to snowboarding than others. And you'll also want to find the courses that best fit your particular skill level.
- The right attitude: You're going to fall down. The key is to get back up, dust yourself off, and get back on your board. Because once you have your first perfect run, you'll see the hard work pay off.
Quick Tips for How to Snowboard
1. Dress the Part
Any trip to the slopes begins with the proper attire. You're going to want to keep as much warmth as possible. But the best snowboarding gear also allows for built up heat to dissipate almost immediately. The result is that you'll remain just the right temperature no matter what the thermometer reads.
And we also recommend finding the right helmet and goggles to keep you safe. Obviously the helmet will protect against the inevitable bumps and bruises. Then goggles will keep your eyes safe from the glare of the sun and snow. Plus, it will give you a perfect view of the slopes ahead of you.
2. Discover Your Style
You'll want to first determine which is your lead foot. Getting situated in any board will require you to be familiar with your own preferred stance. But beyond that, there are several styles you can pursue in learning how to snowboard.
First, you can pick the freeride board with its distinctive long wide nose with a short tail. This is best used for riding in fresh snow. The freestyle board, also called a technical style, are designed for showing off. Use these in snow parks, pipes, and other courses meant for trick riding. But even before you learn tricks, this might be the best -- and most forgiving -- model to learn the ropes.
Pick the all mountain type board for heading down steep slopes. It's got enough responsiveness for staging and landing tricks. But it also provides plenty of coverage to keep you upright heading downhill. And for a more rigid board, choose the alpine style, or carve boards. These are built for speed and can get you downhill in a hurry -- if you've got the skills to back it up.
3. Stick to Your Weight Class
In fact, the length has more to do with the use of the board. For example, you might pick a shorter board for tricks and a longer board for all mountain courses. So check out the weight recommendations for any board you're thinking about buying. That will serve you better in the long run than choosing based solely on length.
If you're just starting out, you might want to begin with a used board. For starters, it will be already broken in a bit. Plus, it will save some money and you won't feel too bad about nicks and dings. Stick to a simple board, too, since some of the more advanced products are aimed at advanced riders.
4. Learn Your Bindings
You can find the traditional strap binding, which tighten over your boot onto the board. Then there is the speed entry binding, also called a convenience entry. These provide a hinge that gives you easy access to the lever that dismounts the boots. They are certainly more convenient, if also typically more expensive than regular strap bindings.
There's a possibility that you will run into a few other niche types of straps. You'll often see these with the most advanced board setups. There have also been some unique contraptions developed throughout the history of snowboarding. So a veteran or fan of vintage might learn how to snowboard with some unusual bindings.
5. Get Strapped In and Go
Once you've got all your gear ready and you're at the peak of your course, it's time to head downhill. First, make sure you've got a good leash to keep your board tethered to you. Wrap it around your lower leg or boot lace and attach the other end to the board. Leashes are not only potentially helpful, they're also required on many hills and at some resorts.
When you first get started, it might be helpful to begin in a sideways stance. This way you'll fall, but at a lower speed. And at the same time you can more accurately judge the feel of learning how to snowboard.
Keep your back straight but make sure your knees are bent and ready to react. Learn to shift your weight to make turns smoothly and without losing balance. It's a tricky process, but very rewarding to learn.
6. Know How to Stop
Learning how to snowboard is a lot of fun and a great skill to have. But perhaps more important than getting yourself going is figuring out how to stop. Creating a perpendicular shape between your board and the slope is the way to put on the brakes.
Lean back on your rear foot when you get the board in the position you want it to be in. Continue to lean back into the slope of the hill. This will cause you to lose speed more rapidly. But it could also cause you to fall backward on to your bum. Be prepared for a clumsy stop or two before your master the movements required.
Learning how to snowboard can lead to one of the most fun ways to get down a mountain.
If so, share this article with the winter sports fans in your life. And leave us a comment below if you have any final thoughts or questions.
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