Whether you are taking a lesson, plan to ride with a friend or are trying to learn on your own, here are a couple things that can help you enjoy your first snowboard experience more.
1. Study: Review our Beginner Snowboard Lessons section for an overview of the learning process. If you are taking a lesson, the instructor will likely guide you through a similar progression. Knowing what to expect will make you less nervous and more likely to enjoy yourself. But, since you are reading this, I don’t need to tell you.
2. Take a walk: Crashes and bumps are often an unavoidable part of learning. But excess muscle strain can be minimized. If you work out regularly—bravo. If not, loosen things up with a daily walk the week before you snowboard.
3. Determine your lead leg: Try sliding on the floor in socks – which foot do you naturally put forward? When you put on pants, is there one leg you always start with? If you skate, which foot is more comfortable in a hockey stop? Figure out your lead leg in advance so you can confidently tell the rental shop guy when he asks you, “regular or goofy?” You don’t want to make a hasty guess when there is a line-up of people waiting behind you.
4. Reserve a Lesson: While I believe videos can be an important part of learning, they are no substitute for a real lesson. If taking a lesson is in your budget, call the resort in advance to reserve a private or group lesson. Tell the ski school your story and ask if there is an instructor that’s highly recommended (i.e. “My 10 year old son, who skateboards, has never been on a snowboard but is crazy about watching the XGames. Do you have any instructors good with beginners, kids and basic park?”).
If you will be learning from your spouse/friend/significant other/family member/co-worker, arrange for a prenup, an updated resume and an alternative ride home from the mountain.
5. Dress for success: Check the weather report and dress in layers. Read the article on How To Dress For Snowboarding for more details.
6. Eat a good breakfast: You’ll be working hard. Eat up. And bring some water and snacks with you too; something unbreakable that will fit in your pocket.
7. Stretch: A bit of light stretching the morning of will help knock off the rust.
8. Attitude: Congratulations! You’ve prepared yourself and you are ready for the good and bad. There will be falls and failures and sweat. You may land on your butt really hard. Strangers may look at you. Small children may coast past you effortlessly. Your nose may run and your fingers may freeze. You may not be able to stand up. You may want to give up. Moments later you may want to snowboard everyday for the rest of your life. You may feel terrified, exhilarated and accomplished. You will do at least one thing perfect, and you will know it.
Thank you for including us in your learning process. We hope you have a great first day and with many more to come!