Top Tips For The First Time Snowboarder

Image: Burton

As with all types of sports, including adventure sports, snowboarding is all about progression. Too many misinterpret this as a focus on skills and start snowboarding only to end up doing endless laps, getting hurt and/or frustrated. Ever since Jake Burton started making his eponymous snowboards back in 1977, it was in his best interest to get others to try it, to love it, and to get more and more people to do it. Snowboarding has come a long way since then, so here are a few tips to ensure your first time ‘chasing the pow’ is memorable.

Get The Right Gear

As generous as it is for a friend or family member to let you borrow a board, some bindings, or maybe even boots, consider rental products for your first run. Most local winter sports shops and just about every resort on the planet have rental setups ideal for those ready to begin their snowboard life. Beginner snowboards are designed to flex a little easier and are shaped to make turning and stopping a far more subtle experience. They’re not race boards by any means, and you will advance beyond their capabilities quickly enough that renting one makes sense on several levels.

Bonus Tip: Contact the rental store at the mountain and talk to them about when you’re planning on heading up, to find the best time to pay them a visit. This hopefully means you can avoid the morning chaos.

Prepare

Take a moment the night before to do two things: take a look at the forecast, and organise what you need the next day. Only you know your comfort, so what you wear should be a personal decision, however, layering allows for flexibility. Jeans are terrible in the snow if not just a style faux pas, so dress yourself for easy movement. Clothing aside, if you have the gear already, put your boots on, and strap into your board. Doing those kinds of things in the comfort of wherever you are the night before, can ease your mind when it’s time to go the next day.

Prepare A Little Bit More

Relax! It’s snowboarding and it’s meant to be fun. That said, it is a sport, so expect to be exhausted after your first time. As with anything physical, some healthy planning will make all the difference:

· Eat something in the morning so you’ve got the energy you will need

· Drink a bottle of water on the drive or the walk from the resort.

· Without turning this into a yoga piece, if you can stretch your calves, hamstrings and thighs (quads) you’re on the right track. Anything is better than nothing!

Your first ride will involve a solid amount of walking uphill. It also means completely training new muscle memory on the subtle balance it takes to go from edge-to-edge… something that will make sense after you visit a professional.

Get A Lesson, Or Two

When it comes to learning how to ride, working with a complete stranger who has experience teaching is invaluable, especially for those who’ve never done this before. Two basic things to consider:

· Their sole interest is helping you learn how to snowboard, and they will strive to find the means to find your personal pathway to get there, i.e. they excel at patience

· Teaching someone to snowboard takes more than just knowing how to snowboard. Most coaches and instructors have worked with hundreds of mind, body and soul equations, meaning that as unique as you are, they’ve taught “you” before

Group lessons can provide support and even a good chance to find a riding buddy. Private lessons give you one-on-one time and undivided attention.

Bonus Tip: Resorts typically reward private lessons to coaches that deserve the work and to those who are going to ensure you get the most out of the mountain. So, a private lesson isn’t just about one-on-one instruction, it ensures you’re going to get the best on offer.

Follow this advice and you are well on your way to riding the lift and understanding why on snowy nights people will practically sleep in their cars to be first in line when the lifts open. So remember to relax, give it a red hot go and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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