Link snowboard turns.

You’re almost there! Once you’ve figured out toe and heel turns, linking them is easy with a little practice, timing and confidence. In this episode, we’ll help you link the C-turns you have already mastered.

Since you already know how to turn both directions, linking turns doesn’t really involve learning a new skill. The motions are basically the same. But it does require a little more risk and a lot of courage. Commit to the movements and you’ll be making smooth turns in no time.

Step 1 – Review proper snowboard alignment
Keeping proper alignment can be difficult when you learn new things. You might think it would be easier if you move your arms, but remember to keep your arms down at your sides and your shoulders parallel with the board. This will help you maintain good balance and alignment.

Step 2 – Practice on flat ground
Have a friend or coach push you along flat ground. You can link turns even with a tiny bit of pressure using just your feet and knee. Press on your front foot, then back foot, then rotate your knee. Your feet start the direction change, but the knee really rounds the turn. If you can convince a friend to push you, this is a great way to begin linking turns.

Step 3 – C-turns with a traverse
On a green run, practice a few C-turns (both toe and heel).

  • Make a turn but don’t stop. Instead, traverse across the fall-line slowly (it’s okay to pause)
  • After you’ve regained composure during the traverse, slowly shift weight over your front foot. This will move the snowboard downhill and prepare you for the next turn
  • Once your snowboard is pointing downhill, then and only then, press down on your front foot, then back foot, and round the turn with your front knee
  • Repeat

Step 4 – Reduce the traverse
Gradually reduce the pause between each turn until you are linking them confidently. You will leave an S-shaped track in the snow and make runs faster than ever before.

At this point, it’s just mileage. Have confidence in your turns and take as many runs as you can. You are a now a snowboarder. We’re proud.

What’s next: Explore Intermediate lessons

45 Responses to Step 9: Link snowboard turns
  1. Angelica
    April 12, 2013 | 11:02 pm


    Link snowboard turns |…

  2. Skye
    February 3, 2013 | 10:34 am

    All your instruction and tips really helped! I have been having trouble linking turns especially going from heel side to toe side…caught my edge a few times and didn’t turn out so well…so I’ve been a little apprehensive. I tried your suggestion of holding onto my pants and keeping my arms right at my side and it worked! Much better than before! Might be awhile but can’t wait to go on and see the more advanced tutorials you have too!
    Your tutorials are excellent and I would recommend to anyone who is learning or just wants to work on their skills more!

  3. Romeo
    January 26, 2013 | 11:17 pm

    Hello Rick and Jill,

    Allow me to say that you guys are the BEST! snowboarding instructors bar none! Let me tell you the reasons:

    1. I just started snowboarding this January, prior to that I have ZERO experience with snowboarding and NEVER took formal lessons.I just relied on your videos 100%

    2. In two weeks time (about 4 days of snowboarding an hour and a half each day); I was struggling and falling front and back at the bottom of the BUNNY hill( and I thought that was already steep!) practicing gliding to just today, I was already doing steeps and CARVING both toe and heel! (I’m just so proud of myself)

    3. My learning curve was definitely shorter than the ones taking formal lessons. I know since when I started, there was this lady that was starting as well and she’s even taking private lessons, today I saw her and she’s still doing the “falling leaf” while I’m already carving the steeps!

    4. Oh I almost forgot, I’m already 51 years old, for God’s Sake!

    I only had a simple objective, I just wanted to ride with my 3 sons, and Rick and Jill I’m happy to report to you that it’s mission accomplished!

    Use me if you need any testimonials, I’ll send them a video of me attacking the steeps! Thank you and more power to both of you.

  4. Clara
    December 23, 2012 | 8:24 am

    Dear Jill and Rick,
    Greetings from VT! My 7 yo son and I decided to learn to snowboard this season. To get ourselves ready while waiting for the snow we watched your videos over and over. We had a couple inches at Thanksgiving and practiced skating around our yard one night. We went up to practice on the bottom of the bunny hill the first weekend our mountain opened. The next weekend the lessons started. We have done 4 lessons so far and I am picking up a couple different hints each time. I’ve found I do best when I think through what I need to do before starting. When the teachers ask me to describe what I’m going to do, they say I sound like a snowboard teacher! Yesterday I was so scared to transition from the toeside traverse to the heelside traverse, I kept choking up. The teacher talked me through it again, and then I explained that I would lift my otoes and press my calf into my high back, then once I was turning press the other calf into the high back. That time I got it. I had several good runs down the bunny hill (the kind you can hike back up if you don’t want to wait for the magic carpet), my falls were really minor compared to the pretty big ones I took the last couple weeks.

    My son is picking it up a little more slowly but the teachers are very patient with him. Soon we will be riding the chairlift together. Thanks for your help!

    • Rick
      December 24, 2012 | 4:22 pm

      So glad to hear you guys are picking it up fairly easily. Have a great season (with many more to come).

  5. Neil
    May 7, 2012 | 12:32 am

    I tried snowboarding a few years back and started with a group lesson, I didn’t feel as if I learned much and it was not a great experience.
    I wanted to try again and luckily found your website.
    My first day I started working through the lessons and by the end of the day I was just beginning to link my turns, albeit on the smallest run that I could find.
    My second day I worked through the basics again until I felt confident and then headed to a bigger run.
    By the end of the day I was snowboarding down the hill smoothly, confidently and enjoying every minute of it.
    Thank you very much!

  6. Ian
    February 26, 2012 | 12:46 pm

    Hello again Jill and rick

    Well I managed to link my turns today and am absolutely made up! Without your videos to refer to I genuinely don’t think I would be where I am now. I am 40 this coming Sunday and this sunday will be my first time ever on the slopes. Having linked my turns today I have a real confidence about my upcoming holiday! Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!

    Anyway keep up the good work guys! When I return I will be checking out your other videos.

    Warmest regards


  7. Meine Freundin hupft bei einer Kurver
    February 16, 2012 | 9:00 pm

    […] […]

  8. Ian
    February 7, 2012 | 12:44 pm

    Thanks so much for the reply snow god(s) – going to make sure I tell the instructor I want a feet only lesson!! Just came away confused after my fourth lesson having been taught to steer with feet then told by other instructor to use my upper body.

    Thanks again guys.


  9. Ian
    February 6, 2012 | 8:00 am

    Hi guys – really confused and I need your help!

    Was just starting to link my turns with Ben my instructor (end of 3rd lesson) and was looking forward to trying this on my fourth lesson – however I ended up with a group who were doing J and C turns. Ok I thought – not to worry I can really practice nailing my technique to make sure this is good before doing the linking turns.

    However this other instructor was telling me to use my shoulders to help initiate a turn (i.e. toe edge slip weight the front of board to point down slope and arms up in a t shape and kind of point where you want to go) whereas my other instructor (like you chaps) taught me not to move my shoulders you just use your toes/heels.

    I came away from my fourth lesson very confused! I don’t know whats right or wrong! Please help – my holiday is in 3 weeks and dont want to suck!

    Cheers guys!


    • Rick
      February 7, 2012 | 11:12 am

      Hi Ian,

      We explain why we prefer using your feet and legs to turn instead of your upper body. Movements from your upper body have to travel through your whole body to get to the board. Your feet are right on the board.

      Ski schools in Europe and some very small North American resorts are still using the upper body method. It works, but is much more work than using your feet.

      Hope that helps.

  10. J
    January 21, 2012 | 11:51 pm

    Hey Jill and Rick,

    Thank you for this great free content. I went from never snowboarding to linking turns in one day because of it. Group instruction was free where I snowboarded, then I practiced all the skills you described in the recommended order. Good work, it’s important to not ignore, “boring,” fundamentals. Being patient till I learned each skill is why I progressed quickly!

  11. mikey
    December 29, 2011 | 11:29 am

    Hello Rick and Jill,
    I am curently in austria now and boarding for the first time on real snow(Have done lessons on a dry ski slope) But real snow is much better lol.
    Ok so my problem is not going down steep reds,or even linking turns its when I come to a small blue flat trails its so hard to keep on my edge and I find if i make turns I catch edges so easy. I also dont like to go fast on the Trail as its often busy and I can not control it but the slower I go the more I fall ? I absolutly love going on red runs as there challenging and I hardly ever fall but I like to have fun on blue runs too but all my confidence has gone …. Could you please explain how to keep an edge or how to ride flat surfaces without turning to much so you stop and have to walk or slide every where and catch an edge.
    Hope this makes sense many thank for the vids the best on youtube

    • W
      February 22, 2012 | 1:23 pm

      Rick and Jill,

      Your videos are very helpful, and you guys are Awesome! I started getting on the slopes just this year, and I recently got back from my 4th one-day-trip to Tahoe. I must say your videos along with the three 1hr lessons I took helped me enormously. I feel like I am improving and having fun, and I even attempted a relatively easy (wide) looking black slope the other day. Overall, I am very thankful to you guys.

      I must say that I was having similar problem like Mikey here (keeping dead stable on nearly flat surfaces without catching an edge) and I still haven’t managed to solve it completely. It seems like carving slightly (in my case, trying to carve), adds to the stability as it forces you to dig in, and you don’t feel the surface as much anymore on your board. Correct me if I am wrong, and any more tips are more than welcome!


  12. Oz
    November 29, 2011 | 5:30 pm

    Hi Jill and Rick

    I’ve been learning to Snowboard for exactly 3.5 weeks and although my lessons in an inside snow centre [live in uk :(] have been great your videos have been a constant source of homework and really helped me a lot. I head out to France in 3 weeks to go boarding for the first time and can’t wait!

  13. Thomas
    September 23, 2011 | 11:58 pm

    Great videos guys!

    I am awaiting the upcoming season and these videos have helped me learn a lot. I will definitely watch them again right before I head up to the mountain. They are informative and very fun to watch. Last time I was up I had a lot of trouble getting the hang of toe-side turns and I learned some helpful tips for that.

    Also, I hope you guys come out with new videos this season. Some videos of you guys just riding the mountain would be fun.

    Thanks guys

    • Jill
      September 27, 2011 | 3:18 pm

      Hi Thomas! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂 I’m not sure when we’ll have new videos — Rick and I have been pretty busy lately with work, kids, families, etc. I’d love to get more videos done, but it’s tough with so many other responsibilities.

  14. Darron
    September 20, 2011 | 5:51 pm

    Thank you so much for these quick but informative video’s.
    I’m taking my first lesson tomorrow night at my local dry ski slope… I’m 40 for pity sake!

    Thanks to the videos I might just be able to get a little head start, but even if I don’t, I’m looking forward to my lesson more than ever…
    Thanks again.

    • Jill
      September 27, 2011 | 3:14 pm

      Hi Darron! Glad you like the videos! Good luck on your upcoming lesson.Sounds like you have a great attitude!

  15. emma
    February 10, 2011 | 10:58 pm

    hi jill & rick!

    thank you so much for these lessons! for me both the videos and the texts underneath them have been more than useful.

    do you think you could do a lesson about falling (the right technique to fall)? i fall down time to time, especially when trying out new things. since i’m a begginner my speed isn’t that high, so i haven’t hurt myself, but when i learn more and my speed increases…

    • Rick
      February 11, 2011 | 2:29 am

      If you are falling back, try to land on one cheek or the other. If you fall forward, make you hands into fists and land on your entire forearm.

      If you can do this every time you fall, please let me know how you do it. My falls happen so fast I usually don’t have time to remember the proper way.

      • emma
        February 11, 2011 | 2:20 pm

        thanks rick! i’ll try that next time. i bet it would be wise to practise it, so that when i fall, it comes automatically. because now, every time i fall back, i put my hands behind me to protect my bum. (i once fell on my tailbone pretty badly, and ever since this has been the automatic reaction.) wrist guards help a little, it’s my forearms that take the hit (instead of my palms and wrists). but from now on, i’ll try to turn the other cheek 😉

        • Jill
          February 11, 2011 | 9:28 pm

          I believe the technical term for this is “One-Bun” falling.

          • emma
            March 25, 2011 | 12:42 am

            just a quick update.

            i did practise falling. but then, when i actually fell (backwards), i put my hands behind me… luckily, i had my wrist guards, so i only strained my wrist (otherwise it would be in bits and pieces now).

            what’s weird is that i seem to hurt myself only when there’s no speed. while riding i’m kind of prepared to fall (and my center of balance is lower). but while standing, i’m stiffer and the smallest thing can throw me off balance. still a beginner… but the season’s not over yet!

  16. Derek&Carmen
    February 8, 2011 | 5:04 am

    Hi Jill and Rick!!

    We recently started snowboarding and its tons of fun!!
    Your tutorial really helped us a lot!! We can now finally link our turns!!! We were first taught to use our shoulders by instructors in the resorts, but you guys really convinced us to stop doing that!! Tons of thank you!!


  17. Duhg
    February 7, 2011 | 5:53 pm

    The boss lesson was a success. In three hours he went from falling while skating to linking turns on a blue square run.

    On his second day, he was doing flat spins and even threw a 180-looking-thing off of a quarter-pipe-like side of a trail.

    He is having a blast. My kids could not believe how well he was doing for just 2 days on the board.

    I now have a reputation at the office for being the guy to go to to learn how to ride. My first instruction? Watch your videos.

    I just got word that I am being transferred out of his group though… Hmmmmmmm.

  18. Mau
    February 7, 2011 | 1:33 am

    Thank you guy soo much for the time/effort you put in making these video’s.
    As a 30 year long skier, I have decided to enjoy the thrill of snowboarding. I went to the trail and tried to applied you suggestions. It was just one day but I don’t remember having slammed so much in my entire life as I did that day. My problem is that the board tends to rear-wash out quite a lot, especially going heelside, often resulting in spins. Even if I don’t spin completely, my board gets too transversal that makes the subsequent toeside transition terrifying (yes, right, catching the edge and BAM!). Also going straight feels like fishtailing. The board (freeride) has a default setback stance of 3cm. Should I put the setback to zero? What can you suggest?
    Thank you again sooo much…

    • Jill
      February 8, 2011 | 5:26 pm

      Hi Mau, Thanks for the feedback and glad you have seen how much fun boarding can be. Without seeing you ride, it’s hard to diagnose exactly what is going on. It sounds like you may have your weight too much over your back-leg. Focus on keeping weight over your front leg — exaggerate leaning over your lead leg. This should help prevent the spins. Thanks!

  19. elcee
    February 7, 2011 | 12:22 am

    Thank you for the videos. I’m a beginner snowboarder who has been taught the wrong way to move my arm/shoulders. I’m improving with your videos, but…are my calves/lower legs supposed to be really sore? Before, my legs were never that sore and if they were it was my thighs, not calf muscles.


    • Jill
      February 8, 2011 | 5:28 pm

      Hi Elcee! Sore calf muscles are probably just the result of new movements. This should get better the more you go riding. If you were previously turning with your arms, you probably weren’t using your legs as much. Sounds like you are on the right track though. Sometimes it can lessen strain to think about relaxing your ankles and knees (not just bending them). Let the boots hold your weight up and drive your knees into the hill.

  20. Annie
    January 30, 2011 | 12:09 am

    Hello Jill + Rick!
    My names Annie, I’m 23 years old, lived in New England ALL MY LIFE and just started snow boarding! I’ve always hated the winter and never thought much of the snow, so my boyfriend took me skiing at WaterVille valley last year and I absolutely hated it. ]: Loved the mountains but hated getting on the slopes. So this year I tried snowboarding and if it weren’t for your videos… I’d be so lost!

    You guys really nailed every aspect and I found it VERY easy to adjust to the snowboard with your videos. The toe and grape part on the J-turns was really funny and every time I am practicing my turn on the slopes my boyfriend just says, “Are you squishing the grape?!” Lol!

    These videos really helped me build my confidence and now I love the snow. :]

    Just wanted to say thank you for these VERY helpful videos and enlightening me about snowboarding + Winter!

    <3 Annie

    • Jill
      February 3, 2011 | 7:47 pm

      Hi Annie!

      So glad to hear you are out enjoying the winter (and happy our videos played a part). I hope you aren’t too snowed in!

  21. Duhg
    January 24, 2011 | 5:43 pm

    On the matter of wrist guards:
    I have heard the same pros and cons. The best tip I got about wrists was to always punch the snow with a fist when you fall. That helps to prevent the wrist from bending backwards.
    The injuries usually happen when you catch your heel edge, so try to use your elbows or just let your self roll over when you fall backwards.

    Good luck!

    I am using your videos again. They were very helpful in teaching my boys to ride and now my boss is watching them in preperation for me dragging him out tomorrow night for his first lesson.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Rick
      January 24, 2011 | 5:49 pm

      I don’t know Duhg, teaching a boss sounds a lot like teaching a spouse. SnowProfessor is not responsible for lost jobs or divorces due to attempted snowboard instruction.
      : )

      • Jill
        January 24, 2011 | 8:32 pm

        Ha ha!!! Dugh, you are treading in dangerous waters. Rick’s right, we aren’t responsible for any firings…but on the flip side, we maintain credit if you get a promotion. Please report back on your success.

        • Jay
          March 23, 2013 | 6:21 pm

          funny comments? How was the boss and how was the boarding

  22. Jared
    January 20, 2011 | 5:44 am

    Jill and Rick-
    Thank you for taking the time to make this excellent website. I watched these videos before I went snowboarding for the first time (today actually!) These lessons gave me a lot of confidence and were a nice supplement to the lesson I got from the instructor, as I already knew the basics and the terminology beforehand.

    Anyway, I’d like to ask what your guys’ opinion on wrist guards are? One of my friends (that’s a skier) told me he heard they were a good idea, but the guy at my local board shop told me he heard they make it more likely to break your arm in a bad fall.

    • Jill
      January 21, 2011 | 7:53 pm

      Hi Jared, Thanks for your comment and glad the videos helped you out. I am somewhat neutral on wrist guards. I have had 3 wrist surgeries myself (all from snowboard falls where I wasn’t wearing wrist guards). I asked my doctor about it, and he said wrist guards CAN help protect the wrist joint, but with a hard enough fall you will still break your wrist (either at the wrist or further up the arm). It’s better to just avoid putting your hands out to break your fall. Try to roll/land on your side instead (yeah right, that’s mighty hard to do).

      But do invest in a helmet. Those are a good piece of safety equipment in my opinion.

      • Dave Trouble
        February 27, 2011 | 2:37 am

        There is a relatively new wrist guard developed by an orthoopedic surgeon, called biomex. It is integrated with Level brand snowboard gloves. This was my first season boarding, and I fell quite a bit on my first two days on the mountain. I am certain that these gloves saved me from several serious sprains and / or breaks. I am not falling as much thank goodness, and your videos helped me immensely, especially this one about linking turns. Coming from a skateboarding background I was putting too much focus on leaning my body instead of the subtle toe / heel mashing that you demonstrated. Thanks guys, you have helped add a super fun dimension to my life !!

  23. Scott
    January 19, 2011 | 4:37 am

    Hi Jill/Rick – You have no idea how helpful your instructions have been! I’m a 40yr old new boarder this season and have been viewing your videos closely so much that I think they are better than the lessons I’ve taken. So I can link turns but I’m getting stuck from heel to toe transitions. I’m able to complete the turn but once complete from heel to toe I don’t seem to have enough balance/control to quickly transition back to heel and end up traversing on my toes for a distance and eventually uphill to slow down! Too much speed? Can you offer any help? Thanks a ton for your very helpful and creative advice – I think you shortened my learning curve quite a bit!!

    • Jill
      January 21, 2011 | 7:45 pm

      Hi Scott! Thanks for the message! You described one of the more common issues we see. There isn’t any real fix for this, just more practice. The more repetitions the easier it will become and you will gradually shorten the gap between turns. A few things to consider:
      * Ensure you are not leaning back. Over-exaggerate putting weight over your front leg.
      * Ensure your knees are bent — keep ’em soft and bouncy
      With a bit more practice you will be linking them smooth!

  24. Jeremy
    January 6, 2011 | 4:00 pm

    Jill and/or Rick, Thank you VERY VERY MUCH for the website.
    It has helped me a lot!! I’ve started boarding this year! However I
    am a slight problem and was wondering if you could help…. I can
    link my toe-to-heel turns fairly well. BUT Heel-to-Toe, I can not
    do well. Sometimes I’ll catch my toe edge and other times I’ll have
    to traverse a bit until I feel comfortable changing to toe edge
    (mostly because I dont want to catch my toe edge). Any suggestions,
    comments on what I’m doing wrong? And any advice you can give? Also
    note, if I “kick back” my board, I actually CAN do heel-to-toe
    turns, but that doesnt seem like proper technique. Thanks guys!

    • Jill
      January 6, 2011 | 7:42 pm

      Hi Jeremy!

      Thanks for the comment! From your description, it sounds like you may be rushing the heel-to-toe turn a bit. Rushing the transition between the turn would result in catching your edge, since you aren’t giving enough time for the board to naturally go on edge. To fix this, try to slow the transition down (traversing a bit is good). Traverse until comfortable, then turn. Try to reduce the amount of time in the traverse gradually until you are linking them smooth. Kicking the board around is probably not the best long-term technique — even though it may be effective occasionally. Smooth turns will come eventually with some patience and more mileage.

    • Ed C.
      December 7, 2011 | 5:34 pm

      Same problem here. I have had zero trouble with toe to heel turns, but heel to toe ends up with a wipeout or I end up “switching” (the right foot becomes the lead foot instead; I ride regular foot, not goofy.)

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