Prior to my week snowboarding in Belle Plagne, I had never been snowboarding before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. After asking various snowboarding friends, checking websites and speaking with store staff and imparting me with loads of information, I found myself discovering even more tips and tricks along the way. Listed below are some of the top pieces of advice I collated about learning to snowboard – feel free to post your own tips in the comments below!
- Make sure you are given the correct type of board. It should come up to your chin, and the bindings should be shoulder-width apart. After spending hours in the squat position, you will begin to appreciate how much difference a couple of inches makes when it comes to binding spacing!
- Bring painkillers. It’s true what they say: snowboarding is more difficult to learn at first, but easier to improve! When you first learn snowboarding, you will fall a lot, as it seems every technical skill goes against your mind’s instincts. Expect lots of bruises on your knees and tailbone! Which brings me to my next point….
- Don’t be afraid to fall. Falling repeatedly means you are continuously pushing yourself and improving, which means you are one step closer to nailing those impressive jumps and flips!
- Save yourself the time, money and bruises and take lessons at a snowboard school. Resorts almost always offer lessons, and are cheaper if you book in advance. Learning the basics early will stop you forming bead habits that will be more difficult to break as your progress.
- Keep your body relaxed. Easier said than done when you’re hurtling yourself down a mountain at high speed, but the more tense your body gets, the more difficult you will find it to make turns and more likely you are to fall over.
- Make sure you maintain good posture; keep your knees partially bent, your back straight, and your weight in the middle of the board. Bend too much and your weight will be unevenly distributed; stand too straight, and stiff, and you’ll find turns impossible.
- Invest in good gloves! For boarders hitting the slopes in the middle of the season, a good pair of gloves is essential. Not only will it stop you getting chilblains, but it will make adjusting your bindings off and on the ski lift much quicker and more manageable.
- Guide the board with your eyes: Wait, what?! I hear you say, but here me out. One of the (many) quirks in snowboarding is that if you turn your head to look at the direction you want to go, your board will follow. That is because your board can pick up on the smallest changes to your posture and weight, and so when you move your head, you move your chest, legs, and finally your board.
Most important to remember though, is to not take yourself too seriously, and to have fun! For more information on gear and a rundown of snowboarding essentials, check out Travelettes’ Guide for Beginner Snowboarders.