Basics of Snowboarding

Basics of Snowboarding
Snowboarding is an exhilarating sport with many opportunities. Whether you envision yourself carving smooth lines on the huge mountain faces of Alaska or pushing the boundaries of modern freestyle riding, you need to get out there and get started. Though snowboarding can be difficult to learn and entails some falling, once you get a few basics down, you will quickly build on your skills and improve into the rider you want to be.


Difficulty: Challenging

Step 1
Determine your snowboard size and style. Whether you're renting or buying, you'll want to get the correct size and style snowboard. Beginners should consider sizing the board down a bit because this will make it a little easier to control and learn on. Discuss the best size option with shop staff or refer to manufacturer guidelines. Sizing is based on not only your height, but also your weight. Consider what type of board that you want: freestyle, all mountain, park/pipe, jib, free ride or powder will be some main options. Beginners should consider a basic freestyle or all mountain board, which will be more forgiving and versatile.
Step 2
Determine your footing. One foot will likely make for a more natural lead foot. This will determine how the bindings are set up. You may be either goofy (right foot forward) or regular (left foot forward). If you have no idea, stand with your feet together. Let someone give you a gentle push from behind. The foot you fall on is your lead foot.
Step 3
Navigate with your rear foot. With your front foot in the binding, you'll want to push off on the snow similar to how a skater rides a skateboard. When you gain momentum, you can rest your back foot on the stomp pad between the bindings. Like all snowboarding tactics, this may take a little time to get the hang off. Don't worry if you lose your balance; it's part of the learning process.
Step 4
Get on the lift. Keep your board pointed forward and move to the launching position when the chair in front of you is moving forward toward the passengers ahead of you. Be sure that you're in position and ready to load as the lift is approaching. If you have any issues, let the lift attendant know so that he can stop or slow down the lift. Sit onto the lift as it moves forward and get planted firmly on the seat.
Step 5
Ride the lift. You can use the safety bar if you want, though the foot rests are designed for skis and can be awkward and uncomfortable for a snowboard. Use your free foot to support the rear of your snowboard and keep the pressure off of your front foot.
Step 6
Unload the lift. This is one of the most intimidating parts of your first snowboarding trip because the lift has no idea you're a beginner and is going to keep moving regardless of whether you struggle or fall. Point your board forward. Get your back foot into position on the stomp pad as the lift approaches the terminal. Let the board slide onto the ground and slowly stand up off of the lift chair and slide forward. Once down, try to get to the left or right of the lift as quickly as you can so that you don't block others coming off the lift behind you. If you fall in such a way that you are getting run over by the lift or are going to plowed into by other riders behind you, yell to the lift attendant so he can slow down or stop the lift.
Step 7
Practice stopping. You are going to want to learn how to stop quickly, so that you don't lose control or have to take a spill in order to stop. One of the best ways to begin the basics is to start out with your snowboard perpendicular to the slope. You can begin on the heel side edge (facing down the hill) or toe side edge (facing up the hill), whichever feels more comfortable. This is the stopped position and your board is digging into the snow, keeping you stopped and stable. Slowly transfer weight onto your front foot, and you'll start to move in that direction. Then, transfer the weight on your rear foot, and you'll move back to the stopped position. Stop there. Now, put weight on your back foot and move in that direction. Switch the weight to your front foot and come to a stop again. Though you're going slow and steady, you're practicing stopping the board.
Step 8
Repeat step 8 for a while to get used to controlling where the board is going and bringing it to a stop. Practice on both your heel and toe edge. As you get more comfortable, begin pointing the board more down hill and practice coming to a stop with a bit more speed.
Step 9
Practice turning/carving. Once you have enough skill and confidence to point the board directly down the slope, practice turning basics. Keep your knees bent, arms loose and begin to slide down the slope. Keep a bit more weight planted on your front foot. To turn in the direction of the front of your body, put pressure onto your toe side edge by leaning your feet forward. To turn outside, lift your toes slightly and put pressure onto the rear edge. For a quicker, more drastic turn, throw your back leg into it to spin the tail of the board more quickly. To stop completely, continue to apply pressure to an edge until your board is in stopped position.
Step 10
Link turns. Linking turns is a technique that will get you on the fast track to improving your snowboarding. Once you learn to effectively link toe side and heels ide turns, you'll be able to focus on improving your technique and tackling bigger, steeper slopes. Essentially, you want to perform a turn as above, but rather than coming to a stop, you want to smoothly transition from a toe side to heel side turn and vice versa, making an S on the slope.

Tips & Warnings

Take a lesson. Sure, you're reading this article because you want to know what to do, but reading and doing are two very different things. A lesson is always good for a first time rider because not only will you get more hands-on advice on what to do, you'll get advice on how you can improve and what you might be doing wrong.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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