Adam Seger is a snowboard instructor who believes that anyone can learn to snowboard. First, you need to buy the right equipment, choose your mountain and resort, and then take some beginner lessons. This article is designed to advise on how to prepare for those beginner lessons, what basic skills you should know before going out with an instructor, and what you can expect from that first day on the mountain. I will discuss basic equipment, clothing, safety issues, getting up, and how to ride a straight line down the hill.
Tips for Beginner Snowboarders
1) Make sure your boots fit properly
If your boots are too big or too small, they will not be comfortable and make it difficult for you to have good control of the board. If they are too big, your feet will feel loose inside and can cause you to fall more frequently and increase the chance that you will accidentally release the board from your feet. Your heel should fit snugly in the back but not so tight that it is uncomfortable. The ball of your foot (where your arch is) should sit tight up against the binding, and you should not feel like you are stretching to reach the front of the toe box. If they are too small, it will be obvious immediately because your toes will hit the end of the boot when flexing your ankle, and you will get a lot more pressure on your pinky toe and the tip of your big toe which can cause blisters.
2) Make sure your bindings fit properly
This is very important! Your bindings should feel snug around your ankles, but not so snug that they hurt or cut off circulation to your feet. The ball of your foot should rest on the footbed evenly, and you should not feel pressure concentrated on the front of your toes because the bindings are too tight.
3) Choose a board that fits your weight and height, and ability level and is appropriate for the conditions at your chosen ski area
If you buy a board that is too short, you will not make it up hills well. If you buy one too long, it will be harder to turn quickly and maneuver around obstacles on the hill. A common mistake is to buy a board that is too long, thinking that the longer it is, the more stable it will be when you are riding. This is simply not true. The board should come up to your nose or mouth level when standing on flat ground in front of the board with your toes touching the front of your bindings and centered between your bindings.
4) Choose the right type of clothing for you
If it is cold outside, you need to wear layers of warm clothing. A good rule of thumb is that you should remove one layer before going out and putting on another because you are too hot. Make sure that all your clothes are suited for the conditions at your chosen ski area. Don’t wear rubber boots if it is icy out. Many beginners wear cotton, which is NOT recommended! Cotton sweats up when it gets wet and will not keep you warm when it’s wet. It also takes a long time to dry out.