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Learning to snowboard

Whether you are starting your first ever trip as a snowboarder or switching across from skiing the best way to learn to snowboard is through booking some lessons. Whether you opt for private lessons or group lessons you will be able to learn from the very best instructors on the slopes to get your snowboarding skillset underway.

You will be spending a lot of time going from sat on your bottom to a standing position on your board which does require a medium level of fitness. Getting the basics on a snowboard can take longer than getting the basics on skis, however, once you have these basics nailed it is much easier to progress on a snowboard and lets be honest you will look pretty cool!

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Learning to snowboard

Learning to snowboard is hard physical work, your lessons will be full on so it would not hurt to have some lessons at a snow dome in the UK before heading out to your resort. Once you have been taught the basics on how to use your bindings and get clipped into your snowboard you will be finding out which is your dominant foot to decide which way you face on your board. There are plenty of ways to do this, you can ask someone to push you from behind and see which foot you step out on first or you may even know by which foot you naturally use to kick a ball or how you ride your skateboard.

At first you will learn to get comfortable sliding on your toe and heel edge on your board upon a relatively flat nursery slope, from here you will progress on to basic turns and once you have those down you will learn how to link your turns. It is harder to use lifts as a snowboarder as you need to take one foot out of your bindings and balance well, button lifts are especially hard to master, but your instructor will be able to help you with your confidence on lifts so that you can spend your time out of lessons practicing all that you have learnt!

Best resorts to learn to snowboard

The best resorts for snowboarders are those with few button lifts and those with the fewest number of flat slopes on main runs back into resort. We have listed out below some of the resorts which are best rated for snowboarders:

What snowboard gear do I need?

You will need all the usual clothing gear plus a few extra specific items for snowboarders, please see these listed below:

  • Waterproof Ski Jacket
  • Waterproof Ski Trousers (Salopettes)
  • Waterproof Gloves
  • Neck Warmer/Buffer
  • Hat that will fit under a helmet
  • Goggles & Sunglasses
  • Sunglasses
  • Thermal layers (1 x leggings, 2 x tops, 2 x fleeces)
  • Warm thin Jumper to layer if it is very cold
  • At least 3 pairs of Ski Socks
  • It is also important for snowboarders to have Ankle/wrist supports
  • Knee and butt pads are useful as a beginner

Learning to snowboard FAQ:

Snowboarding is a winter sport activity which involves strapping in both feet to a “snowboard” and going down snowy covered mountains/hills. Similar to skateboarding or surfing. Snowboarding wasn’t invented until the 1965 was included for the first time in the Winter Olympics in 1998.

Get some lessons! Snowboarding is a technical sport, and it’s best to nail the basics first with some lessons so you can progress quicker. You can get lessons in several indoor snow centres in the UK such as the Xscape’s in Milton Keynes or Yorkshire. As a beginner, you’re not allowed to teach yourself how to snowboard in the indoor snow centres as you will be out of control and a danger to yourself and others around you. Alternatively, you can sign up to group or private snowboard lessons on your ski holiday.

Skiing is much easier to pick the basics of than snowboarding – beginner skiers can usually start to link turns after a few hours whereas for snowboarders this can take as long as a week. However, once you are past the initial stages of learning skiing is harder to master than snowboarding.

It all comes down to personal preference. Snowboarding off piste is quicker to master than on skis and this is often regarded as the most enjoyable way to ride the mountain but if speed is your preference then you can get down the mountain much quicker and confidently on skis.

The initial stages of learning to snowboard can be quite difficult – you will spend much time picking yourself back up again, but that’s all part of the fun! People that pick up snowboarding the quickest are the ones that aren’t afraid of giving it a go rather than those that have the natural ability but now confidence. We highly recommend getting lessons as you will learn quicker and begin to enjoy the sport quicker.

It’s highly ill-advised but not impossible. You’ll be putting yourself at risk and others around you. The other downside to teaching yourself is you will pick up the wrong technique making the learning process slow initially and later down the line as it will be tough to change the things you’ve been doing wrong.

Everyone’s different. People with natural ability and no issue with confidence can pick up the basics of turning within a couple of days riding however most people take 3-4 days. For others it’s longer and as long as a week at times but you should always learn at the pace, you're comfortable with. Beginners normally sign up for a week of lessons on their first snow holiday. If you’d prefer to learn the basics at a UK snowdome first, most will offer an intensive beginner snowboarding day, private lessons or group 2-hour lessons.

Yes, you can learn at any age. The truth is the earlier you learn, the easier it is. Kids often pick up a snowboard for the first time on the same day as you and being twice as good by the end. This is nothing to be ashamed of as kids have such a low centre of gravity, making it much easier for them to balance. Many people learn to ski or snowboard in their 40s and catch the riding bug.

It’s been done before. For people that have spent a lot of their lives on snowboards or surfboards, the skills can seamlessly translate onto a snowboard as if they’ve been on them all their life, but this is quite rare, and even avid board riders can take a few days to learn the basics. If you want to progress fast, we’d recommend taking as many lessons as possible to avoid picking up bad habits and gain confidence on the mountain.

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