Ski slopes can be scary places for the inexperienced, and learning to snowboard on your own require a lot of individual research. Our mission is to provide a free, online snowboarding education, but we understand that online tools lack the personal touch of in-person lessons and discussions. To help you on your snowboarding journey, we’ve answered a few common, non-technical questions about learning to ride.

 

Will it hurt?

To be honest—it might. Common beginner injuries include bruised tailbones and sprained or broken risks. However, these are fairly uncommon, and serious injuries are rare because you’ll be going pretty slow. You can expect to be sore after the first day, and your butt and knees might hurt from falling.

 

What’s the hardest thing to learn?

Standing up on the slop with both feet strapped in will be one of the hardest things you experience. The board will continue to slide away from you unless you have the strength to hold it still. It gets easier once you get the technique down, but it can be very difficult at first. Learning to balance on your board, not leaning back, and understanding how to slow and stop can also be pretty difficult for beginners.

 

Do I really need a helmet?

Yes. Don’t even think about not wearing one.

 

Why are my gloves always wet?

Learning to snowboard means having a lot of hand-to-snow contact when you’re getting up or falling down. Your gloves might not be waterproof. If you’re going to invest in anything as a beginner snowboarder, go with good-quality, waterproof gloves. On your first day, bring backup gloves.

 

What happens if I get hurt?

If you’re just starting out, you’ll likely be on a beginner trail or on the kiddie slope. This means that there will be people all around. If you are in serious trouble, flag someone down and ask them to contact ski patrol. If for some reason there are no other people on the trail, use a walkie talkie to radio into the resort’s base. If you’re out on your own, be sure to let a friend or family member know where you’ll be.

 

Snowboarding is a fun and fast-paced sport for people of all ages. However, if you’re just starting out, you should not expect to rip through the powder immediately. The process takes a lot of time and patience to learn. It begins with proper training, an open mind, and a willingness to learn. Avoid these rookie mistakes to both protect yourself and avoid disillusionment.

 

  1. Not being in shape. Though it may not appear to be physically strenuous, snowboarding is a physically demanding sport. For inexperienced people, it may simply look like you’re gliding down a slope without effort. In reality, you end up using almost every muscle group to shift your weight, turn, stop, balance, and gain speed. You should have a level of strength and endurance before beginning your snowboarding journey.

 

  1. Not taking your time. You should never rush into snowboarding. It takes time and patience to perfect, and you need to give it the time and attention it needs. Keep in mind that once you hit a breakthrough point, your skills will improve very quickly.

 

  1. Worrying about looking like a beginner. Don’t try to fake it—everyone remembers their first few times on a snowboard. Don’t worry about looking dumb and focus on what you’re trying to learn.

 

  1. Wearing the wrong clothing. With winter sports, it is crucial that you wear the correct clothing. Start with a base layer to keep you dry, add a mid-layer to keep you warm, and include an outer layer to break the wind and prevent moisture from entering. Always be prepared for cold, severe weather.

 

  1. Getting too frustrated. Snowboarding isn’t too difficult, but it also isn’t easy. It takes a lot of perseverance to carry on through the first few days of learning to ride. You’re going to fall a lot, and you’re going to look pretty dumb at points. Try not to get frustrated; everyone on the mountain has been exactly where you are.

 

You’ve mastered the basic parts of the snowboard, and now you want to better understand how the shape affects the way you shred. You should understand three vocabulary terms: camber, rocker, and flat.

Camber is the traditional profile for skis and snowboards. This is when the board has a slight upward curve in the middle with contact points (where the unweighted board contacts the snow) close to the ends. This type of profile requires more effort to turn but is excellent in nearly any snow condition. The rider’s weight puts pressure on the entire board, resulting in an increased edgehold. This is a great choice for racers and park riders.

Traditional Camber boards are the best for carving and jumping; the distribution of weight allows the edge to hold better than most shapes, allowing for precision and a decreased chance of slipping or catching an edge.

Rocker, also known as Reverse Camber, is exactly what it sounds like; Camber turned upside down. Rather than touching the snow at the tip and tail, an unweighted board will touch the snow at the center.  Rocker boards are excellent for soft snow and have easy turn initiation with a decreased chance of catching an edge. This is a popular profile for places known for powdery conditions, such as Colorado or British Columbia. Though jumps are harder to land, you’ll be able to float over ungroomed trails.

Flat, again, is exactly what you would expect—no Camber or Rocker. If you lay the board on a table with no weight, there will not be any space between the base and the table. This type of profile provides a better edge grip than rocker and a better maneuverability than camber.

Your board’s profile will affect the way you ride. If you’re confused about your style and which profile is best for you, visit your local board shop or sporting retailer. There, a professional should be able to assess your style and make accurate recommendations based on what you may need.

Learning to turn is one of the most important steps in your DIY snowboard education. Once you master a turn, you’ll be well on your way to tackling bigger slopes, different conditions, and varying speeds. There are two types of turns—toe side and heel side.

When initiating a toe side turn, you will start by facing downhill. When you’re ready to start the turn, press down on your front foot. As the board starts to point down, rotate your head, shoulders, and hips until your front hand is point to the other side of the slope and you’re on a toe side edge (body facing up the mountain). That’s it!

A heel side turn is similar. Start with your body facing up the hill, put your weight on your front foot, and let your board begin to point straight down the slope. Press your heels into the snow to slide around and face down the mountain. Turning is a simple motion, but it must be a flowing movement. Never force your turns and allow the board to do its thing.

When learning to turn, you’ll likely encounter one of several common mistakes. The first (and most common!) is leaning too far back. Turning allows you to go faster, and leaning back is a natural response to an uncomfortable speed. Unfortunately, leaning back makes turning more difficult; you always want your weight forward, allowing the board to pivot around your front foot.

Similarly, many self-taught snowboarders encounter something called Counter Rotating. This occurs when the body is out of alignment during the turn. To combat this issue, keep everything—your head, shoulders, hips, knees, and board—aligned as much as possible to facilitate a swift, flowing movement.

 

 

Learning to ride is a lot like learning to read—you can start a book if you don’t know the alphabet, and you can’t snowboard if you don’t know how it works. Skiing and snowboarding have their own unique language, and understanding key vocabulary is essential to learning the basics. In this post, we’re going to review every part of the snowboard so you can begin to expand your slope-side knowledge.

Every snowboard has a nose and a tail. These are sometimes referred to as the tip and the tail. The nose, or tip, if at the front when you are riding in a normal riding position—either regular or goofy. The tail is behind your back foot. The bottom of your board, also known as the base, is the part of the equipment that is in frequent contact with the snow. This part is made of a porous material called polyethylene. Unlike surfing, this is the part of the board you will wax; the polyethylene soaks of wax when heated, which will allow you to more easily glide over the snow. It is essential to wax your board regularly to ensure maximum speed and efficiency.

The top of your board, known as the topsheet, is where your bindings attach. This is often the part of the board to display graphics and designs. The bindings are what keep your feet attached to the snowboard while in motion. The bottom of each binding is referred to as the baseplate; this will often have a disk to allow you to change the angle of the bindings. Bindings come in several styles, but most have ankle and toe straps to secure the boot to the board.

We’re almost done—hanging in there?

Each snowboard has a metal edge that travels around the base of the board. This allows you to dig into the snow while making turns. The edge under your toes is called the toe edge, and the edge under your heels is called the heel edge. The edge, topboard, and base combine to make a shape. The hourglass shape you see is called the sidecut—a design element which allows you to turn. Without a sidecut, you will not be able to turn.

Those are the basic board parts. Take a few minutes, let that sink in, then continue to our profile guide for understanding how the base of the board sits on the snow.

 

If you’ve been around snowboarders, skiers, or resorts, you’ve likely picked up on the presence of some weird terminology. A lot of ski and snowboard lingo refers to conditions and the mountain itself—you’ll have “bluebird days” and “whiteouts,” experience “crud” and “corduroy,” and—most likely—have yourself a “yard sale” every once in a while. However, there are some words that pertain to the riders themselves.

 

In order to more easily ride your board, it is important for beginners to understand which stance they most comfortably utilize: “goofy” or “regular.” Once you’ve determined this, you can more easily tailor your learning, lessons, and rides to your specific style.

 

To “ride goofy” means that you lead with your right foot. To “ride regular” means you lead with your left. The most important goal of a boarder’s stance is to place the dominant foot at the back of the board in order to provide more precision in movement. This dominant foot will do most of the steering while the less dominant foot provides direction and balance at the board’s front. The only difference between these designations is the position of the foot—neither will provide any added benefit to the boarder.

 

More people ride regular than goofy, but, with practice, it is possible to ride both goofy and regular with equal strength. This can be a great skill when encountering difficult conditions, such as moguls, glades, or tight trails. If you are just starting out and having a difficult time moving your board forward, try switching positions—you may be using the wrong stance.

If you want to learn snowboarding, you’re going to fall—a lot. Falling is the great equalizer; everyone—from first-time boarders to Olympian halfpipe athletes—occasionally crashes. Moreover, wrist fractures and injuries are some of the most common within the sport, and they occur when an athlete falls on outstretched hands. To that end, learning to fall is one of the most important skills you should take with you to the mountain. This is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent injury.

 

When falling on a snowboard, you will fall in one of two ways: forward or backwards. In both cases, be sure to keep your legs flexed and your body low to the ground. We recommend practicing these moves on a trampoline if possible, but your bed or large couch will work just as well.

 

Falling forward— Reaching with your palms forward is one of the most common falling mistakes, and it will often result in a fractured or injured wrist. As soon as you recognize that you are about to fall, bend at the knees. This should be the first part of your body to hit the ground. As your knees hit the ground, bend your arms and extend outward, taking the remaining weight on your forearms and stomach.

 

Falling backwards—If you begin to fall backwards, you may feel compelled to stick your arms out to absorb the fall. Unfortunately, this will result in a dislocated arm. When you realize you are falling, flex your knees so that your butt is the first par of your body to hit the ground. When you’ve landed, keep your chin to your knees to avoid head injury. Keep your arms tucked in to avoid injury to wrists and shoulders.

 

Most importantly, gear will help protect from some of the worst falls. Be sure to find a helmet that fits and ask your gear or rental shop if they carry wrist guards. No matter how much you try to prevent it, falling is a part of the sport. Learning to do it correctly will save you a lot of time.

 

Here’s a video tutorial that can help you further internalize these safe falling tips: