December 3, 2021

How to Snowboard: a Guide to Snowboarding 101

by Bernice

The average person can take approximately three days before they learn how to snowboard or even feel comfortable on the board. However, if you are well-prepared or a natural, you can learn in a day. How long you will specifically take depends on your perseverance and ability.

While snowboarding is not hard to learn, it still requires practice and skill, even for amateurs. Before you know the techniques and expertise to balance and master the board, it requires some time. Most beginners spend their first snowboarding lessons with several falls.

A lot goes into consideration before you advance to the pro level. The better your core coordination, fitness, and balance are, the easier it is to perform beginner snowboarding tricks and turns. Snowboarding will also come more naturally if you have tried skiing, wakeboarding, surfing, or similar sports.

Table of Contents

Part 1: How to Prepare For a Day of Snowboarding?

Snowboarding can be an exhausting sport, and it is important to prepare for a day of snowboarding. The following questions are the most important to ask when you have to prepare for a day of snowboarding.

Should you purchase your lift tickets online?

Yes, if there is such an option, it is best to purchase the lift tickets online. The best thing about purchasing your lift tickets online is that you can avoid the lines and crowds at the ticket window. You will also be able to plan your day better because you know precisely what lift tickets you need and how much they cost. It is also a great way to save time and money.

If you purchase your lift tickets online, then you will have more time to explore the resort before riding the lifts. This means that you can take in all of the beauty of the mountains before taking on some of the most thrilling rides around. You might even find some new hidden gems that are not on any map!

Should you buy beginner snowboard packages?

The goal of ski resorts is to help more people fall in love with snowboarding, after all. So many hills offer discounted packages that include lift tickets, gear rentals, and lessons. When you are just starting, these packages are the best option. With them, you’ll learn how to snowboard for as little hassle as possible at the lowest possible price. Make sure you take advantage of them.

What to bring snowboarding?

Here is a checklist of the most important things to bring when snowboarding.

What to do when you arrive at the mountain?

  • In the parking lot: Put on your snowboard boots if you brought them with you to the resort. Walking in them is comfortable, and your feet will stay dryer than in regular shoes. Being self-sufficient once you leave your car is always a good idea. So you won’t have to make multiple trips to the parking lot if it’s a long way from the lodge. Therefore, make sure you’re ready to drive. Keep your wallet and lift ticket in a secure zippered pocket. Keep a small water bottle, water bottle insulator, and snacks handy. People tend to forget to drink enough water when it’s cold, so they become dehydrated. Before you leave the car, make sure you are fully prepared. Make sure you don’t lock the keys in the car.
  • At the base area: Always make sure you have a valid lift ticket. When you purchase a lift ticket online, you should see a note on how to use it – don’t line up for the general lift ticket line. When you’ve got your ticket, don’t put it on your jacket; put it on your snow pants. As the day progresses, you might want to take your jacket off, but if it’s attached to your ticket, you can’t. The person who gives you your ticket can point you in the right direction for gear rental. Be patient when picking out your gear. New snowboarders can benefit from their experience, so listen to their advice. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did it, even though it may seem counterintuitive.

Part 2: What to Do Before You Go Snowboarding?

  1. Wear the right clothes for snowboarding.
  2. Make suere that you snowboarding equipment fits well.
  3. You may want to consider getting a stomp pad.
  4. It’s important to keep in mind that there are different types of snowboarding.
  5. Measure your weight and height.
  6. Make sure the snowboard is the right width.
  7. Achieve a proper snowboard stance. Improving your stance is key for balance, comfort, and control – all critical factors for riding a board are essential. To get into a basic stance, place your arms and shoulders at your side, relax, align your hips parallel to the ground, and bend your knees. Your stance may feel uncomfortable before your muscle memory builds up, but it should never be straining or painful. Other helpful tips to remember when practicing are – face the direction you are heading, do not tighten your arms and shoulder muscles, ensure hips are parallel to your board, not slightly turned, always keep your knees bent to absorb shock during turns.
  8. Identify your lead foot.
  9. Analyze the type of binding you have.
  10. Install your bindings correctly.

Part 3: How to Learn the Snowboard Basics?

  • Hop on your snowboard.
  • Once you are ready, take the ski lift up.
  • Once you reach the starting point of the poste, get off the ski lift
  • Fasten your snowboard boots to your snowboard bindings.
  • Now you are ready to go down the hill.
  • Strat practicising slight garlands.
  • Slow-down to stop easily.

Part 4: How to Snowboard: Basic Technique for Beginner Snowboarders

How to skate a snowboard?

Now that you can balance on your board and have strapped your feet, you need to know how to skate. That is, moving along flat ground. When skating, one of your feet stays strapped in while the other helps you push. The back foot should always go away from where you are traveling.

To master skating, you need to:

  • Strap your front foot carefully into the binding and your back foot at the heel of your board.
  • Push yourself along the terrain using your back foot, then take small steps.
  • Ensure your back foot does not go beyond the bindings; otherwise, you find yourself doing an unintentional split.

You can use this skill to get on a chairlift too.

How to glide a snowoard?

When you learn how to glide, then you are on your way to perfect snowboarding. When gliding, you use your free foot to push; otherwise, the strapped foot will slide. Before you try this technique, you should:

  • Practice skating on a flat surface until you are comfortable.
  • Balance and create stability by bringing your free foot to the middle of your board.
  • Place the foot behind the back binding.
  • Bend your knees.

After you can glide on flat terrain, advance to a gentle slope. The more times you practice this move, the faster you get it right. If you are an intermediate snowboarder, up to your game by trying alternating glides (stroking). Travel by one foot for a few feet and use the free foot to push and switch legs.

How to make a J-turn?

You can move a little bit with your snowboard but can’t make a turn yet; that is where the J-turn comes in. The technique helps you ride the board into a J’-shaped turn. It involves gliding to a turn slightly uphill.

Beginners should ensure their front foot is strapped and the back footrests on the board before learning the technique. There are two ways you can make a J-turn; heel side and toe side.

Heel-side J-turn

The best tip for snowboarding is always to keep your knees quite bent, and the same applies to a flawless J-turn.

  • Start by pointing your skateboard towards a slope.
  • Glide straight ahead.
  • Shift your weight on your front foot, over your heels.
  • You will feel your calves come into contact with your binding’s high-back.
  • Bend your knees and ankles, then move your hips to the edge of your heel side.

When your weight shifts to the heel side, your board will start turning up the slope. If you can do a heel-side J-turn uphill, practice going across the slope.

Toe-side J-turn

Unlike the heel-side turn that works by putting weight on your heels, this one involves switching the weight to your toes.

  • Place your board on a slope and glide forward.
  • Tilt your body weight to your front foot, over your toes.
  • Flex your knees and ankles, then move your hips to shift your weight to the toe-side of the board’s edge.
  • The weight turns the board in an inward “J.”

When making J-turns, remember that titling the weight to an outside edge will make an outward turn, while tilting to an inside edge will make an inward turn.

How to Learn to Traverse?

A traverse in snowboarding refers to using your balance to hold to the board’s edge and glide through a slope.

The Infamous Heel-Side Traverse

Your ability to execute a perfect heel-edge traverse could be the highlight or lowest spot of your day.

  • Place your snowboard across a slope, facing uphill, so you don’t slide downhill.
  • Put your hips on the side of your heel.
  • Get a stable balance point.
  • Bend your knees until you feel the high-back at your binding against your calves.
  • Shift your weight to the front foot while flattening to move towards the nose of your snowboard.
  • Make slow movements and avoid standing tall.

When slowing down, bring your weight to the center of your feet and tilt over the edge. When the heel-edge angle increases, you slow down and eventually come to a halt.

Toe-Side Traverse Technique

  • Just like the heel-edge traverse, start by placing your snowboard across a gentle slope.
  • Bend your knees and ankles slightly, shifting your weight evenly over your toes.
  • Once you find your balance point, tilt your weight to the toe edge to move the board.
  • Flatten your foot and move your shins toward your toes.
  • Avoid balancing on tip-toes.

To improve your traverse, practice your heel-toe turning technique. This will give your board the needed grip to travel through a slope with control. Also, avoid shifting too much weight to the board’s tail as you will lose your balance point.

Traversing into a Turn

After you know how to glide and traverse, you must learn to apply pressure to your turns to get balanced carves. It is vital to practice traveling into turns on gentle slopes or flat turnouts to prevent injury.

To make a complete turn, start by shifting your weight to the front foot. Place your board like you do when traversing, only this time, flatten it, so it heads straight into the fall line.

As your board flattens, keep a balanced stance and maintain the weight on your foot. When you are well into the fall line, proceed to make a J-turn. You should always relax your arms and bend your knees during this step.

Let your lower body do the work as your upper body maintains balance. Gradually come to a stop and practice the steps above on both sides.

If you have come this far, then you are ready to be a snowboarding pro. Linking turns to give you a smooth ride across and along any slope. Instead of stopping after turning on one side, you traverse and turn to the opposite side. Hence, linking your turns.

When applying pressure during a turn, do it earlier as the board faces the hill. You will know you have exerted enough pressure when you splash snow as your board turns.

How to Stop on a Snowboard

A fast stop helps you avoid running into objects, falling, and making you look cool in front of your friends. You can come to a quick stop by using either your heel-side or toe-side.

Heel-Side Fast Stop

  • Pick up speed as you head down the slope/mountain.
  • Lean on your heels and open up your shoulders and chest.
  • Keep the weight on the heel side to avoid a back-toe tilt.
  • As your shoulders start facing downhill, bring your butt as close as you can to the board.
  • Keep a neutral spine to come to a quick and safe stop.
  • Use your flexed knees and ankles to absorb the pressure and shock

Toe-Side Fast Stop

A toe-side stop is similar to a heel-side stop. Instead of shifting weight to your heel and leaning back, the only comparison is that you tilt your weight over the toe. Your weight should stay on your toes throughout to avoid a heel-edge.

When you start to rotate, lean your hips and knees towards the mountain so that the board stops in an inward direction. Provided you keep your toe-edge, you will splash a load of snow as you stop.

Tips to Stay Comfortable Throughout the Day Snowboarding

  • Make sure you wear sunscreen. Any sunlight reflected by the snow will burn your nose and face, even if it’s overcast. Putting sunscreen on at the start of the day and at lunch is a good idea.
  • Make sure your phone is warm. Cold damages phone batteries. Keep your phone warm by storing it in a zippered pocket inside your jacket. If your phone dies, you won’t miss that special photo.
  • Don’t put your goggles on your forehead. There’s a temptation to put your goggles up on your head when you go inside the lodge. This will cause them to fog up and never clear. Sweat from your skin causes fog. Rather, remove them all the way and hang them from the lodge.
  • It’s better to call it a day before you think you can no longer ski. You’re more likely to get injured at the end of the day when you’re tired and just trying to do one more run. Let your legs rest so you can ski tomorrow.

Can You Teach Yourself Snowboarding?

Yes, snowboarding can be learned by pretty much anyone if they are motivated. Having a good fitness level, having experience in a similar sport like surfing or skateboarding, or having spent time on the slopes make it easier to learn. Learning new tricks gets harder as we age.

Is It Hard to Learn to Snowboard?

No, it doesn’t take much time and practice to learn how to snowboard. A person needs, on average, three days of practice to stay up on the board and feel comfortable. In just one day, it is possible to learn using lessons and natural ability.

Should You Take a Snowboard Lesson?

Yes, taking a snowboard lesson is fun. Taking a lesson makes you much better at skiing than someone who does not, contrary to popular belief. Throughout the session, you’ll learn little hacks, tricks, and tips for seamless snowboarding.

How to Get On and Off Chairlifts on a Snowboard?

The first step to getting on a chairlift is to get your board up to the lift. This can be done by either carrying it or by using a snowboard rack. Once you are at the top of the lift, you need to find your seat.

If there are any other people on the chairlift already, find an open seat and wait for them to get off before sitting down. The next step is to put your board between your legs and grab both handles with one hand each.

You then need to hold onto the safety bar with one hand while placing your feet in the footrests with the other hand. Next, you will push yourself away from the chairlift until you are standing up straight and then put one foot into each hole in front of you on either side of the chairlift tracks.

Final Thoughts on How to Snowboard

Snowboarding is fun and easy for most people. Still, getting the stance and techniques wrong could lead to a painful experience. This post has covered everything beginner and intermediate snowboarders should know. As long as you stick to the guidelines and practice relentlessly, you are good to go!

picture credit: Snow vector created by macrovector –

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About the author 


Bernice often jokes that she is better at climbing than walking. With avid parents of climbing, her first encounter with the high vertical rock walls was at the age of one. Her favorite style of climbing is bouldering.

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