For some, snowboarding is a leisurely hobby or destination activity they dabble in for the winter season. However, for others more serious about the sport, snowboarding is a lifestyle. They spend every chance they have out on the mountain slashing through backcountry powder or trying trick after trick in terrain parks.
If this sounds like you, and you find yourself constantly thinking not only about the next time you’ll be on your board but also how to improve your skills, we have compiled a list of tips to help you. Some of these tips are meant for those who stay in the terrain parks working on trick passes. However, most of these apply to snowboarding in a general sense and can help you take your riding skills to the next level.
10 Snowboarding Tips
This goes without saying, but in all its cheesy-ness, our biggest tip is to have fun. Snowboarding, above all else, is supposed to be enjoyed. Sure, improving is important, but if you’re not having fun, what’s the point? Now for the more helpful tips.
1. Buy the Right Gear
Different snowboards are made for different activities, and it’s important to know the differences so you can buy the proper equipment for the kind of riding you want to do.
For example, a freestyle board is softer and more flexible because it’s designed for park riding and tricks. If you’re trying to improve your park skills, you might want to consider ditching a stiffer, longer all-mountain board. However, if you’re into backcountry boarding, the longer, wider backcountry boards are perfect for ploughing through ungroomed powder.
Finding the perfect gear that works best for you is going to take some trial and error. If you can, we recommend first demo-ing different boards, bindings, and boots until you find a pairing that feels comfortable. There’s no need to throw your hard-earned money towards a new board only to realize it’s not a good fit for your needs.
2. Train Off of the Mountain
Training your core and your balance are the two best ways to get your body in the right shape to improve your snowboarding technique. Other areas to focus on outside of training are your leg strength and overall flexibility, mostly in your knees, hips, and lower back. You can come up with your own gym training program, or there are several online resources and programs dedicated to helping snowboarders train.
3. Learn to Ride Both Ways
Goofy, backwards, switch, whatever you want to call it, you should learn to be comfortable riding both regular and the opposite way. Terrain park tricks will be easier to land and ride out, and you will have more control and freedom of movement in downhill riding if you can ride both ways.
4. Move with Your Knees
You may have been told when you first got on your board that you lead your movements with your shoulders. However, as you gain experience and begin moving from a beginner to more advanced level, you begin to realize most of the power in your turns comes from your lead knee. Change your focus from leading with your shoulders to learning with your knees and notice the difference in speed and power you will feel.
5. Take A Lesson
You are never too good to take a lesson. If you’re really feeling stuck, getting a fresh perspective and outside help from a professional might be helpful. Even just one session could help you push past a plateau.
6. Watch Online Videos
YouTube is your friend when it comes to learning new snowboarding tips and techniques. There are countless online videos available to you that walk you through techniques step-by-step. Spend an afternoon learning online, then take what you’ve learned to the slopes.
7. Record Yourself
Sometimes it’s helpful to be able to see what you’re doing wrong, or right, when you’re trying to improve a certain skill or land a new trick. Grab a friend and film each other so you have a visual reference to help you understand what needs to be improved.
8. Try Tricks on a Trampoline First
If you’re working on landing a sweet half-pipe trick or big jump, we highly recommend starting on a trampoline. This allows you to fully commit to flipping, spinning, and flying through the air without the potential of landing wrong and risking injury.
9. Use Visualization Techniques
Similar to gymnasts before their routine or golfers before they tee off, visualize your entire pass. Whether that means talking it through with a friend or mentally riding through each element, visualizing yourself and your body in each position will help improve muscle memory.
10. Be Honest with Yourself
This is one of the hardest but most important tips to understand. You need to be completely honest with yourself about your skills and capabilities. Being realistic with yourself about what you truly can and cannot do, or what you are completely comfortable with and what you’re not can mean the difference between success and potential injury.