It doesn’t matter how many articles you read or videos you watch, when it comes down to strapping into your board and snowboarding for the first time you’re going to end up on the ground sooner than later.
Still, the team at ASO Mammoth has collected all our snowboarding knowledge and put together a few tips to help you spend less time on the ground and more time on your feet while learning to snowboard. While we can’t promise that learning will be easy, we can promise that reading this guide will put you ahead of the curve. Check it out below!
Skating, or riding with your backfoot unstrapped form your binding and using it to push yourself forward, is a vital snowboarding skill that is often forgotten about in learning guides and videos. If you want to snowboard, you must be able to skate up to and off of lifts.
We recommend starting everyday you’re learning to snowboard with a 10-15 minute session where you solely focus on skating. If you do, you’ll get used to balancing on the board faster and have access to the lifts sooner. You may be tempted to push off with your back foot from in front of the board, but always kick off from behind where you’ll have better power and balance.
Rushing Your Turns
Turning is the most important and hardest thing to learn early on. If you want to master your turns and work your way up to carving, it’s important that you learn not to rush your turns by kicking out your backfoot.
When you start making turns, you may be tempted to lift up your back foot and push the back of your board around to turn so you don’t need to ride on your edge. This may feel comfortable at first, but you have to learn how to ride your edge if you want to safely make turns at high speeds or on steep slopes. To correct this habit, make slow turns and keep your weight centered on both feet so you can control your board and put equal weight on your edge while turning.
Another related mistake is swinging your upper body, mainly your arms, in order to turn. Don’t try to swing your weight around to get your board to turn. Focus on using your feet, knees, and hips to put weight on your heel and toe edges instead.
Leaning Back While Turning
Along the same lines, you may be tempted to lean on your back foot while making a turn to balance yourself. Leaning back actually causes you to lose control though since you cannot push your board onto its edge well.
If you’re having trouble because you’re leaning too far back, use your shoulders and upper body to put more weight on your front foot. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but you’ll progress much faster if you learn how to balance yourself early on.
Leaning too Far While Riding an Edge
Lastly, many beginner riders will be uncomfortable riding their heel and toe edge and lean to compensate. On your heel edge, this looks like standing straight up while trying to put weight on your heels. Not only will straightening your knees while riding your heel edge make you unbalanced, but it will also take away the shock absorbers in your knees meaning any bump could throw you further off balance and possibly to the ground. When riding your heel edge, force yourself into a sitting position with your knees bent for better balance.
Beginner riders also tend to lean their upper body towards the slope while trying to ride their toe edge. Leaning forward takes away your ability to turn though, so keep your back straight while riding your toe for better balance and control. If you need more snowboarding tips, rentals, or gear, stop by ASO Mammoth before you hit Mammoth Mountain!