tips for beginner snowboarders
Tips for Beginner Snowboarders
While going snowboarding for the first time is exciting, it will likely feel intimidating at times. There are so many things to learn, equipment and clothing that you need and — of course — the fear of failing. While it may seem daunting at first, setting yourself up for success before your first snowboarding session is relatively easy.
1. Get Your Equipment and Gear
When it comes to snowboarding, you’re going to need the right gear. With so many different types of equipment, it can be overwhelming for beginners. Since you are just starting, stick to the necessities, including:
- A snowboard: Deciding which board to choose ultimately depends on each person and their needs. Here at Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops, we carry a wide variety of boards for all genders, ages, sizes, riding style and style preferences. We can help you choose the best fit for your needs.
- Boots and bindings: In addition to a board, you’re going to need snowboard boots and bindings. When shopping for bindings, ensure your choice is compatible with your board and boots. Snowboard boots should be warm and comfortable, as you will be wearing them for long periods. You may want to consider trying freestyle boots, which are shorter and easier to control.
- Protective gear: The most important piece of equipment you need before hitting the slopes is a good helmet. Make sure the helmet is the right size and fits properly before using it. While not necessary, it would be wise to bring other safety equipment such as wrist guards, crash pads and knee pads to wear while you learn. You may not end up needing them, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
2. Have the Right Clothing and Accessories
Possibly even more important than equipment is clothing and accessories. After all, it’s a little hard to learn if you’re suffering from frostbite!
The biggest items you’ll be purchasing are jacket and pants with a wind and waterproof outer shell and a breathable, temperature-controlled inner layer. You also need a thin base layer underneath that helps wick away sweat. Synthetic fibers work best for this.
Remember to check the weather for the slopes that day to see if you should wear a midlayer to keep you warm. Check out the wide range of quality clothing for men, women and kids at Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops.
You will be touching a lot of snow, so a good pair of warm waterproof gloves is essential. Wear a thin pair of moisture-wicking socks that are high enough to ensure your boots won’t be rubbing against your skin.
Don't forget about your face! A facial covering, such as a neck guard or balaclava, will help keep you warm and protect your skin from snow. Goggles are also important for keeping snow and debris out of your eyes while riding. They also help with glare and low light conditions, giving you clearer sight while you’re going downhill.
3. Find Your Snowboard Stance
Once you’re dressed for success, the first thing you need to figure out when learning how to snowboard for the first time is which foot you’ll lead with. Lead foot refers to which foot will be first when going downhill. If you lead with your left foot, you are considered “regular”, if you lead with your right foot, you are considered “goofy.”
Determine whether you have a regular or goofy lead by running and sliding on a slick floor. The foot you naturally lead with is your lead foot. You can also try having a friend push you or kicking a ball. Whichever foot you plant and balance with is likely your lead foot.
4. Create a Progression Plan as You Learn
One of the most useful tips for beginner snowboarders is to create a progression plan.
The first step you’ll want to take is to write out where you are, where you want to be and how to get there. Judge your skills objectively and list which might be difficult, especially for beginner snowboarders. It’s helpful to ask others more experienced what your current skill level is.
Stay realistic with your goals. If you just mastered the bunny slopes, your next goal shouldn’t be doing a double black diamond run.
Once you know what you want to achieve, you need to figure out the steps to get there. This will look different with each goal, so do your research. When creating your progress plan, be specific about the goals you want to accomplish. “I want to get better at snowboarding” is a broad goal and hard to measure. Ensure your plan makes sense chronologically — if you need a specific skill to do something, learn that skill first.
5. Be Prepared to Fall
The most valuable snowboarding tip is to be prepared to fall. Even professionals sometimes fall, so beginners should expect to fall often. Many snowboarding injuries are a result of not falling correctly.
When you fall forward, your natural instinct is to put your arms out to catch yourself. However, this can result in broken wrists. Instead, fall on your knees first, then on your forearms.
If you find yourself falling backward, try to fall on your butt first, not your back. Pull your knees up and bring your chin down to your chest to avoid whiplash.
6. Prepare for Riding the Lift
Another snowboard beginner tip you’ll need is how to ride the lift. The number one rule for getting on the lift is goofy riders to the left, regular footers to the right and skiers in the middle.
Besides the chair, there is another type of lift that you may encounter — the button lift. To use a button lift, unstrap your back foot and face your board in the direction you're going. Position the button between your legs. While you’re riding, lean on the button instead of sitting on it and keep your board as flat and straight as possible.
7. Rent Before You Buy
At this point, it’s tempting to rush out and buy all of your gear. However, as a beginner, you should look to rent before buying. As we mentioned above, there are numerous types of gear and equipment available. As a beginner snowboarder, you can’t be sure which styles and brands you like best because you haven’t tried any. Renting is a great way to try different boards and gear without breaking the bank if you're not satisfied with a specific size or style.
It’s also not recommended to buy any gear until you know how committed you will be to snowboarding. Some people only go snowboarding once or twice a year, which may not warrant purchasing all your own gear.
Some snowboarders feel they are wasting time getting rentals when they could already be snowboarding. This is why Buckman’s offers the ability to rent your gear in advance, letting you go straight to the slopes.
Shop Snowboard Gear at Buckman's
Buckman’s Ski and Snowboard Shops has been in business since 1971, so you can trust we have the experience and industry insights to know what we’re talking about. If you follow the advice in this article, your first time snowboarding will be a fun learning experience.
Find a Buckman’s store near you and see our knowledgeable staff to answer any questions, and check out the industry-leading brands available now!