Snowboarding for beginners can be an intimidating prospect but thanks to Jo Ramani, an extreme sports fanatic, and writer at Powder Ridge, here is your complete guide.
Extreme sports are rising in popularity as more and more people watch viral videos online. Extreme sports enthusiasts never used to have much opportunity to showcase their exploits on a global scale, but as more videos are uploaded, more people are becoming passionate about extreme sports like snowboarding. While it might seem that snowboarding is a recently evolved recreational activity, snowboarding has been common in various places like Asia, Australia, New Zealand and even in the United States for quite some time. Today, snowboarding is one of the most popular outdoor sports.
From choosing a board to getting started, here’s your complete guide to snowboarding for beginners.
Snowboarding versus Skiing
If you’ve never tried snowboarding or skiing, it’s easy to think they are very alike and it is usually assumed that they’re basically the same sport with a minor difference. However, the fact is that there are many differences.
In terms of similarity, both snowboarding and skiing involve sliding downhill, but that’s where the similarities end. Snowboarding is, for many, easier than skiing because, provided you can balance yourself, you won’t fall down as many times as you might when you’re skiing. Snowboarding can also offer you a bigger adrenaline rush factor because you can try different jumps once you have mastered the art of it.
You can find a full list of the differences in this article by the Guardian, “Two Planks or a Tray?“
How to choose the right snowboard
The growing popularity of snowboarding means that a wide range of snowboards have flooded onto the market and if you’re a snowboarding beginner it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the variety of options you’ll find in stores. Initially, you might be attracted by the color and designs on snowboards, but there are various other factors that you need to consider when you are purchasing your first-ever snowboard.
Snowboarding can be a challenge and therefore you need to pick snowboards that can make that experience simple.
There are two types of snowboards available on the market: all-mountain boards and freestyle boards. For beginners, you’re better off choosing an all-mountain snowboard because it will allow you to take on early snowboarding challenges in a smoother way. It will also provide you with better stability and control.
The shape and size of the snowboards are also important for those who are snowboarding for the very first time. Stiff boards are usually recommended because they are quick to react and maintain control at speed, but they are only for experts who can handle themselves in any situation. When you are looking for snowboards for beginners you have to look out for snowboards that are somewhere in the middle of the soft and stiff spectrum to ensure the one you choose can offer multiple characteristics.
Almost all snowboards have ‘profile’ and that is another factor that you must watch out for when buying your beginner snowboard. While camber boards offer the best stability and control, they are harder to keep on top of the powder. Rocker boards have partially lift-up edges to minimize hang-ups and improve powder floatation. Hybrid boards are a combination of camber and rocker boards that offer the benefits of both profiles, while flat boards are usually a combination of hybrid and camber boards offering better balance.
Length and width of your snowboard are others factor to consider when choosing a snowboard for beginners and there are various charts available (like this one) that will help you choose the best size.
Beginners’ Snowboarding Tips
Now that you have the right snowboard, you’re ready to get started on your training.
The first step is getting to know the basics. Although it will be tempting to try out all the jumps and moves that you see other snowboarders do, it’s important to remember that snowboarding is an extreme sport and it’s easy to hurt yourself if you don’t learn to snowboard in the right way – be patient and practice regularly and you’ll learn how to ride and move your snowboard properly.
If you are trying snowboarding for the very first time, it’s a good idea to start your first few runs at the bottom of the slope. That way you don’t have to worry about losing control or building up too much speed.
Start by strapping the snowboard on while you’re in a seated position. Stand up and point your front hand down the hill. This will slide your snowboard downwards and you’ll stop when you reach the flats. This might seem boring but you need to do this several times before you get used to it. You may also want to try stopping the board on your toes and try it to master it.
Safety first: Always wear your safety gear even when you are learning how to ride a snowboard. It not only helps you stay safe, it means you can progress quickly with confidence.
One of the most important snowboarding tips for beginners is to avoid ice. Always make sure that you follow powder and try learning in powder where it will be easier for you to make turns and improve your snowboard learning experience. If you’re not sure where to snowboard, ask an experienced snowboarder who can guide you towards the right terrain.
It may sound silly but you may also want to do some practising in your bedroom so that you can get learn to snowboard a bit more quickly. Try putting on your boots and strapping yourself to the snowboard. You can also practice full transitions and weight shifts from heel to toe side which will help you to balance the board in a better way when you are out in the snow. It is also important that you quickly learn the balance points and flex of your board.
Snowboarding is all about speed and that means cool air blowing right on your face. So, always make sure that you are wearing enough warm clothes to stay comfortable and warm. You may search for various brands that offer snowboarding apparel and jackets specifically designed for being out on the slopes keeping you stylish and technically clad at the same time.
Snowboarding is all about balancing and understanding how to use the terrain to your advantage. It is important that you understand what type of snowboard is good for you and learn gradually to balance yourself on it as you begin to move up to the next level. Keep at it and in no time you can be strapping on a Go Pro and making your own viral videos.
You can read more tips and advice from Jo about snowboarding on Extemepedia.