Snowboarding can be a daunting sport to get into. In the beginning you’re sliding down a mountain without much control, with a lot of other people who also don’t know what they’re doing, sounds great right?
This guide will help you get control as a new starter and linking turns by 1.5 days, enjoy your upcoming season!
To start your snowboarding adventure, you’ll need the following items:
- Neck warmer
- Snow jacket and snow pants with at least 12k waterproof rating.
- Snow gloves: Goretex waterproof rating because you’ll be falling on them a lot.
- Thick socks to keep the piggies warm and dry
- Snow boots
- Optional: wrist guards, bum guard, leg skins/ compression tights
It’s your first day on the mountain, if you’re with a group of new starters, none of you will really know what’s going on. If you’re with experienced boarders, they’ll tell you “it’s all good duuude” with no instructions.
Two key things to take into your first day are:
1) Get ready to fall on your ass a lot, and have fun.
2) Your posture dictates which way you’ll slide down the mountain.
Sliding down the mountain is all about distributing your weight. If you lean to the right or left, you’ll go that way. If you lean forward too much you’ll fall on your face, and on your bum if you lean backwards too far.
Step 1: Heel-side braking
This leads us to heel side braking. To gain control of your sliding you need to be in a slight squatting position with a straight back. Squatting allows you to gain balance and dig your back board edge into the snow. This is your main brake on the snowboard. To ensure your main brake gets you to a complete stop, you want to square your chest up with the mountain, dig your heels into the snow and lift your toes up.
When you’re going too fast, get into your squat position, face the mountain, dig your heels in and lift your toes, this should force the back of your board into the snow and slow you down.
Your back foot will have more control in braking when you are facing forward to the mountain. Your back foot will depend on which side you’re riding on (goofy or switch).
Congrats, now you’ve successfully learned how to brake on your snowboard.
Step 2: Toe-side edge — The other half of your turn
Toeside edge is your brake when you’re facing the top of the mountain. You’ll also be using this edge as much as heel side to traverse across the slopes, so it’s important to get comfortable with it.
Toeside edge can be quite intimidating, you don’t have as much visibility of the bottom of the mountain since you’re facing the other way.
The trick to toeside edge is pretending there are buttons on your shins/ legs. You want to press these buttons into your boots and keep a straight back, also having a slight bend in your knees with your chest out.
The pitfalls of rookies attempting toeside edge is that your weight is too far back, resulting in you falling on your bum, back or hitting your head. To protect your cranium, a helmet is a really good investment to have.
Braking on toe side has the same fundamental as heel side braking. To brake with toe-side, dig your toes in, ‘press the buttons on your boots’ with your shins and square up with the top of the mountain with a straight back. To ensure your body weight is above the snowboard, you can also put your hands in front of you.
As you can probably figure out by now, braking and controlling speed is all about keeping your weight as centred as possible and allowing your snowboarding edge to dig into the snow by using your legs.
The first day is going to be tiring, so get those squats in before you go to the mountain. You’re going to fall on your ass time and time again so just laugh it off and enjoy the process. Turns are just around the corner.
Turning is simply:
- Having control over your heel side and toe side.
- Being able to go straight down the mountain with your board comfortably, for a few seconds.
Put your braking to the test
Try to go down straight for a few seconds then brake using your toe edge. Repeat this process with your heel edge.
Day 1 to Day 1.5 – Turning time
Day 1 is a crazy challenge, give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve survived!
After day 1, you want make sure you stretch (lots) after boarding. Not counting on your ski accommodating having a bath tub, but if you can get an epsom salt bath in afterwards it will help your body speed up the recovery.
Have a good reflection on how you found distributing your weight on the board and how posture allowed you to gain balance.
Most important of all, get enough sleep. Time to link some turns tomorrow!
Step 3: Leafing
Leafing is going across the mountain on one edge. This helps you get comfortable with. To help you centre your body weight, point in the direction that you are going.
Once you’re comfortable leafing, point your hand down to the mountain and turn your front knee inwards. This should bring your board vertical and cause you to go down the mountain.
Once you’re going down, try to pull off a toe side brake. After braking point your hand down the mountain again and pull off a heel side brake.
Rinse and repeat.
As you get more comfortable going down the mountain and switching from toe side to heel side, you’ll find that turning is just braking a bit less each time.
If you don’t fully brake, you’ll turn a bit then you can continue leafing. Before you know it you’ll be turning on your board.
I hope helps you become more comfortable with snowboarding! What can be a daunting sport to enter in the beginning can be a very enjoyable and peaceful hobby.
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Key things to remember
- Have fun!
- Keep your posture and you’ll stay standing on your board.