There is a similarity in the feelings of both a person who is the middle of a pool and doesn’t know how to swim and a person who is standing in the middle of an ice field and doesn’t know how to snowboard. Can you imagine their confusion and apprehension?
Their confusion stems from the fact that they hardly know the basic movements. Sure, newbies can slide here and there on the field, but that is not much, is it? If you want to enjoy snowboarding to the most as a beginner, then you need to learn some basic skills. Remember, just like everything, knowing the theory will not help you. You need to practice constantly until it becomes a second nature to you. Yes, you’ll fall down a few times as well. Remember this quote from Batman:
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.”
Now, without any further ado, here are the 4 movements which you need to know as a beginner. Just keep practicing these instead of replicating what the experienced blokes are doing. Doing what they are doing may leave you with a broken wrist and a large bump on your head.
Snowboarding and skilling are all about speed and balance. If you cannot balance yourself on your board, then it’s not of much use. Here’s you’ll know the proper way to balance the board while moving. This is called Edging. Edging means to put pressure on the edges of the board while moving. This is will help you to change directions easily.
Most beginners make the mistake of balance on the middle base of the board. Even when turning or changing directions, they increase a pressure on the board laterally. Doing so is not very effective in increasing speeds not in changing directions. Another problem of this is that it is more likely to cause injury. This is because unlike the edges, the middle of the board cannot easily skid over rough surfaces and minor obstacles on the field.
The trick to conducting Edging is to use your toes. Yes, you read that right; your toes! These are most useful when it comes to controlling the snowboard during the process of edging. In order to do this, you need to place your rear foot behind, move your body to the toe side edge, bend your knees like you are sitting and use your toes to rise up slightly. Practicing holding the board in this position, using your toes to put pressure on the edges to change directions.
The second skill you need to know is how to skate properly. But is skating something different, suited to kids? Well, first of all, skating is a very useful skill, not only for snowboarding but also for skiing. Not every time will you be going down on a merry slope. Sometimes you will find yourself on a flat terrain. For such times, skating is very useful.
It is very easy to skate. All you need to do is to put pressure on your dominant front feet to go forward and change directions. The other leg is used to increase speed. Apart from this, your entire body can be used to increase and decrease speed during skating. You can also practice heel side skating and toe side skating. Doing so involves tilting the board on its edges while pushing off with the hind leg.
3. Surviving that first descent
Sooner or later, you would be burning up to go down the slope. Exciting as that is, you need all your skills to keeping you from bumping into someone or something. The first thing to do is to find a comparatively gentle slope. You don’t want to down a steep one just yet.
When you are sure to begin, do so by putting pressure on the front leg. Transfer your body’s weight on the leg and it’ll push you off the starting line. You may feel a bit worried, or excited. There’s nothing to worry about here, but neither should be too overconfident and do something stupid. Maintain the posture and the speed. Try not to change directions unless you really need to.
Remember, the snowboarder ahead of you may not have eyes behind his or her head. It is, therefore, your duty to go carefully and not crash into the person. Ideally, you should be stopping when you come across flat ground. Keep moving a bit until the speed gives out naturally.
4. Stopping your board
This is one of the most important skills you can learn. You may not always come across a flat ground at the end. Sometimes you may need to have an emergency halt. To do this, use your toes to put pressure on the toe side edge until the snowboard stops. You also need to use your entire body to stop the board. You need to start twisting your body slowly but deliberately in the direction you want to stop. Doing so de-accelerates the board effectively.
Now you have 4 very useful skills in your arsenal. Keep practicing them until they become a second nature you and you’ll do well in practice.
Ryan grew up with snow, so he has an endless passion for skiing and snowboarding and everything around these.