Your Biggest Problem when learning how to snowboard will be the coaching you Get…
Choosing the right coach when Learning how to snowboard is essential, and in most cases will be the difference between you progressing through the various levels fast or slow!
Professional Snowboarding coach Logan Pont shows you the basics of going snowboarding for the first time. Watch as he guides you through what gear to use, where all your equipment goes on your body and helpful safety tips for beginners on the slopes.
As well as some pointers about staying warm when it’s cold outside so that nothing slows down your progress.
We will discuss 10 steps that will help get you turning on your first day as a beginner snowboarder!
The key to snowboarding is balance and momentum. Once you have mastered these two skills, the rest is pretty easy.
Let’s get into it!
Step 1: What gear should you have to go snowboarding?
Snowboarders know that there are many different types of equipment and clothing.
In general, this is what you’ll need:
Snowboard, boots, bindings, helmet, goggles or glasses; gloves and mittens; Waterproof jackets and pants (or a one-piece suit); Long knee socks; neck gaiter or scarf; balaclava, Helmet or ski mask for extreme cold weather and some sunscreen.
Note: I highly recommend you apply sunscreen as the snow easily reflects the harmful rays of the sun!
What type of snowboard and what size snowboard should I have?
There are many different types of snowboards on the market today so be sure you get the correct snowboard and snowboard length to help give yourself the greatest advantage of an easy progression!
There are 3 types of snowboards
- Big mountain
- All terrain
As a rule of thumb for beginner snowboarders I recommend you get an All-Terrain snowboard.
Step 2: What size snowboard should I get?
When it comes to choosing the correct size (length) snowboard, In most cases someone at the shop will help you but if you are struggling for service, remember this:
Place the snowboard in a vertical position (on the ground) with the tail of the snowboard at your feet. Ideally you want the nose of the snowboard to end in-between the bottom of your chin and the start of your nose.
This is a great formula to remember when deciding on what length snowboard to get for beginners
Keep in mind, the longer your snowboard is, the harder it will be to initiate the turns in the beginner stages of the sport. Stick to the formula above and you’ll be right. If you do have big feet and need a wider snowboard, unfortunately you’ll have to go for a longer snowboard to pick up the extra width.
Step 3: first time snowboarding, what to expect!
Depending on your background, snowboarding for the first time (or second) can be frustrating or pure bliss, obviously if you have a surfing or skating background you can expect to pick up certain aspects of snowboarding really quick.
If you’re a beginner and don’t have this type of background, don’t worry!
Everyone’s first time is usually frustrating and that’s okay because it will get easier with more practice.
This is why it’s so important to have the right snowboard coach in your corner, and that’s exactly why we created Online Snowboard coach
The most important thing to remember when learning how to snowboard for beginners are these three things:
*Basic Stance– This is your positioning on the snowboard when riding and how centered you are.
*Stability and Awareness– This is one of the first things we will work on.
*Motion and Timing– You’ll want to try and stand in a way that will allow for maximum reach, balance, power, rotation etc…
You will most likely have a few spills along the way, I will give you my upmost best techniques to limit those interactions. Just try your best to maintain your basic stance and you should fly through the beginner snowboarding stages quickly!
Step 4: The Anatomy of a snowboard for Beginners
So what are all the moving parts of your snowboard? Let’s have a closer look and help you understand exactly what the parts of your snowboard look like and how they are used!
Nose of the snowboard – The front tip of the snowboard is called the nose. This part of the board makes contact with snow and helps you manoeuvre your way down the slopes.
The nose is used primarily for turning, so it should be pointed towards where you want to go.
The tail of your snowboard is used for many things: Controlling the board’s rotation on a turn and providing stability when snowboarding, its main use is to help with balance as you exit turns.
Toe Edge: This will help maintain balance when you are traversing or trying to turn on your toes edge (the side edge closet to your toes when strapped in)
Heel Edge: This will help maintain balance when you are traversing or trying to turn on your Heel edge (the side edge closet to your heels when strapped in)
Front and Back bindings: This where you strap your feet into the snowboard
Stomp Pad: At times, we only have one foot strapped in on our snowboard, things like basic movement or getting on and off a chair lift. You place you unstrapped foot (Back foot) here so you can maintain balance on your snowboard
Snowboard Leash: This is a safety device that will help stop your snowboard from flying down the hill and hurting someone.
Note: it is attached to your boot on the front foot
Step 5: What foot defines the type of snowboarder you are?
There are two types of stances on a snowboard, you have a Natural stance and a Goofy stance.
So what snowboarding stance are you?
For someone who would ride in a natural stance, this is where you would have your left foot forward first. In other words, the left foot would be your front foot, closest to the nose of the snowboard
For someone who rides in a goofy stance, this is where you would have your right foot forward first. In other words, the right foot would be closest to the nose.
There is no right or wrong stance here, it’s just a matter of personal preference, I ride in a natural stance.
Step 6: How to find what your stance is on a snowboard?
I have a question for you!
What is the dominant foot you would use to kick a ball? Left or right?
In most cases this can be an indication of what your natural (dominant) foot is, and so you would set your snowboard up to suit this stance.
For others, it can be a little harder to figure it out!
Here is another technique to help you find your dominant foot!
I want you to stand in a position where you have both feet together, side by side.
Now I want you to pretend that there is a cliff just in front of where you are standing, and without our thinking about it, take one step forward and peer over the edge of the cliff.
This is your dominant foot and you should start your snowboarding journey with this foot as your leading stance!
Step 7: The Beginner snowboarder Basic stance
This is how we stand on our snowboard when we are learning to ride for the first time, we call it the basic stance and it looks something like this:
The beginner rider basic stance.
- Ankles, knees and feet relaxed and slightly flexed
- Hips in alignment with your snowboard
- straight back and arms out to the side relaxed
- head looking up and in the direction of travel
Try and maintain this stance when learning how to snowboard, consciously focus on it and engrave it into your memory!
Ideally you have even weight on both feet but when you are learning how to snowboard for the first time, we recommend to have a little more weight forward over the front foot to help with turning. (Steering)
Step 8: Beginner snowboarding basic movements and mobility
Now it’s time to strap your snowboard on and get comfortable with having only one foot strapped in! (Your front foot)
Why one foot only?
If you’re not already aware, a lot of the time, you generally have one foot out of the snowboard, situations where this might arise would be:
- Getting on and off the chair lift
- Climbing up a small hill
- skating along flat ground
- Skate and Glide
- Stopping with one foot strapped in
Unlike skiers, we don’t use polls and lack speed in certain situations on the hill, so unfortunately we need to learn how to maneuver with one foot out of our bindings so we can get to different places efficiently.
You may find it difficult to balance and turn your snowboard at first, just remember your beginner basic stance and keep weight forward over the front foot.
Step 9: The beginner Snowboarder Progression Plan
Now that you understand the basics of beginner snowboarding, I will outlay what the beginner snowboarding progression looks like:
Firstly you need to learn how to move with one foot strapped in, the reasons why are stated above.
After you have successfully found your balance and can stop with one foot out, we will now strap both feet in and start with the two feet connected to the snowboard, remember your basic stance, your balance and control techniques and this should keep you safe!
The beginner snowboard lesson plan looks like this:
Side slipping on a snowboard
This is where we have both feet strapped in and learn how to control our edges with both feet strapped in. Essentially you are learning how to apply friction into the snow and create a force that stops you from sliding.
Tips: Keep a strong basic stance and have weight evenly distributed on both feet.
This is where you learn and develop your skill set for better edge control and stronger stance awareness. The traverse is an essential part of the progression and will help you immensely when learning to ride the toe edge with confidence.
Pro tip: Don’t break at the waist, maintain a strong tall posture and pressure your snowboard effectively by using the tools we teach you in the previous lessons.
This is where you learn how to pressure your snowboard effectively so you can manoeuvre your snowboard to go in a certain direction (across the hill)
Tip: Make these movements slow, to stop you need to come back to a centered stance with even weight on both feet!
This is where you learn how to initiate and complete a turn without actually changing edges, this technique will help develop the confidence to handle more speed and slow down when you have too much of it.
Choose the right type of terrain to practice this exercise on and you’ll be fine
Green trail, big wide open runs!
This is where you combine everything you have learnt and actually make a turn with an edge change, you will start out on one edge and end on another.
It’s one of the last steps before you’ll have full access to explore the mountain as a beginner snowboarder.
Pro tip: Look and point to where you want to go, keep you weight forward and control your speed by looking back across the hill, NOT DOWN THE HILL!
S-Turns (linked turns, changing from edge to edge)
Now that you have successfully completed a c turn its time to learn how to do a S turn, The idea is to link the c turns together creating a longer turn.
This will also give you more time on one edge which can help your balance and responsiveness when it comes to turning in different directions!
Pro tip: Point towards where you want to go with your leading hand (In the direction of travel) , control you speed before making the next turn…then repeat!
P.P.S. Make sure you don’t forget to release edge pressure before each turn!
Step 10: What is The best type of turn shape to make for Beginner Snowboarders
There are typically two types of snowboard turns, an open turn and a closed turn.
The closed turn shape, while slower than an open turn shape , helps beginner riders get better at transitioning from edge to edge (turning on both sides).
An open Turn shape is typically what you would use to gain more speed whereas a closed turn will slow you down and help you quickly gain control again.
As a beginner snowboarder, practice all of these techniques and exercises with a closed Turn shape!
Pro tip: Closed turn shape, lose all speed necessary before engaging in the next turn
How to get on and off a chair lift safely
Chair lifts are a great way to scale the mountain, but there is one thing you need to know before heading up. If you want your ride down without any delays it’s best to learn how get in and out of them correctly so that they don’t have make an emergency stop for getting back on track. Here’s what I recommend:
- Slowly skate up to the lift line with one foot out
- When it’s your turn to get on the chair lift, slowly skate out to the marked line in the snow, ( most of the time there will be a line for you to stand on)
- Ask the leftie to slow the chair down if you want too
- Turn around and catch the chair with one hand as you sit down
- Pull the safety bar down and enjoy the ride
- At the top, you can signal for the leftie to slow the chair down but in most cases it will do this automatically, in any sense, get ready to unload.
- While seated, point your front foot , with the snowboard attached in the correct alignment (forward and straight)
- Wait for the flat patch on the unload ramp and stand up with your weight forward over the front foot. I recommend for beginner snowboards to place their back foot onto the stomp pad rather the snow at first as this will help with creating space for yourself so you can slow down faster.
- At this stage you should be in a straight glide and preparing to slow/stop by performing a j turn.
- Relax and strap both feet in…Get shredding!
Where to stop and rest when you are learning how to snowboard
For beginners and all snowboarders in general: If you feel like you are getting tired or your legs are burning out, try to always rest on the side of a trail if possible.
In some situations you can’t, and that’s alright but for you own safety, always look to be resting on the side of the trail, this is where you’ll have the least chance of getting hit by another member of the public if they lose control.
And the least chance of getting hit by a runaway snowboard!
Common Mistakes Beginner Snowboarders make
- Not wearing a helmet
- Trying to go too fast when they are just learning how to snowboard
- Trying to do tricks that they’re not ready for yet
- Going off the jump before they’ve learned how to land properly
- Wearing clothes that don’t keep them warm enough, or aren’t waterproof
- Not looking up in the direction of travel, they tend to look down at the snow or there feet, look up in the direction of travel.
- Breaking at the waist, keep your stance strong and stand up tall
- Not releasing stored up energy off the snowboard before making an edge change, this is how you catch edge
- Leaning back, keep your weight forward and you will always be able to steer your snowboard
- Not slowing down before making a new turn, reset your basic stance, and slow down before you initiate the new turn!
RELATED: Stop catching edges on a snowboard
Finial advice to the newbie snowboarder…
When you’ve just started snowboarding, it can be overwhelming and intimidating to figure out how all the gear works.
But once you’ve mastered the basics of turning on your board in both directions, choosing which trails to ride down and even learning how to take a break when needed– then there are no limits!
We have a learn-to-turn program that will teach you everything from mastering balance on your snowboard to developing your own style with our pro coaching staff guiding every step along the way.
Save yourself thousands and go at your own pace at the same time, you can even get video analysis feedback to help correct your technique if you start running into common problems.
Sign up today for this amazing winter sports experience with online snowboard coach – we’ll see you on the inside!