The pistes can be quite intimidating for a beginner snowboarder. There is a lot to think about, from the terminology, techniques and how the equipment works. But that is when you actually get on the mountain, what about everything leading up to this moment? Such as the clothing you need, the resort to choose and what to expect. In this post we are going to give you some insight in to snowboarding for beginners.
Snowboarding is all about enjoying yourself. We can tell you from experience that you will have more fun if you get yourself prepared before you get to the mountains. So how do you do this?
As a beginner snowboarder you will be using muscles that may not get much action on a day to day basis. Therefore, you should prepare your body to make it a bit easier. The less fit you are, the more difficult you will find it. This is because, as a beginner you will be picking yourself up from the snow multiple times, which does zap your energy.
You should focus on building up your legs, glutes and core for a few weeks before a snowboarding trip. Another thing that will help, is vinyasa yoga. This incorporates core strength in slow controlled movements, while improving your flexibility. This will not only help you get up on the board, but it will help you control it and allow you to have more fun.
Get Some Practice
It is a great idea to hit the ground running by having some lessons before you go on your first snowboard holiday. A few sessions at your nearest indoor snow centre or dry slope will be invaluable. The last thing you want to do, is get to the mountain with no clue in what to do. By having a few lessons, you will know what your stance is and be able to get a feel for what it is like to have a board on your feet. But, you will also develop some basic skills for when you are sliding down a real mountain.
What You Need
Unfortunately, snowboarding isn’t known as a cheap sport, therefore as a beginner snowboarder, you probably won’t want to buy everything at once. But, things that you will want to buy are the ones that keep you warm and protected.
You will need a decent jacket, trousers, socks, thermal undies and gloves. We advise that you choose outerwear that allows you layer up and down. This is because the temperatures in the mountains fluctuate a lot. Also, as a beginner snowboarder, you will be getting hot and sweaty. Having layers means that you can take them off and add them to suit the conditions.
Check out our snow wear to get some great outfits that do the job, but also look awesome.
As a beginner snowboarder, you will spend a lot of time with your hands in the snow. So, we recommend that you buy some decent gloves. Cheap “ski” gloves get soaking wet very quickly, as they are not made from technical materials.
Probably the most important thing you need as a snowboarder (no matter what your level is), is a helmet. You can rent helmets in ski resorts and in indoor snow centres. But after a couple of sessions, you may want to buy your own helmet. This is because it won’t have had hundreds of sweaty heads in it and you will get one that fits you properly.
Protecting your eyes is super important when snowboarding. On a sunny day, the glare from the white snow can damage your eyes. Therefore, you need to get a decent pair of goggles or sunglasses. We recommend goggles, as they have more coverage and many of them allow you to change the lenses to suit the light conditions. You don’t have to spend silly money on goggles, but you do get what you pay for. Check out our guide to buying goggles for all the information.
Snowboarding is a sport where you build up the equipment over time. So don’t panic buy everything for your first holiday. You can rent boards and boots when you get to the resort.
Your First Snowboard Holiday
As a beginner snowboarder, you won’t need access to thousands of kilometres of pistes or a resort with lots of black runs. You need a resort with a good mix of green and blue runs to get your legs dialled in. By the end of your first week, there is a good chance that you will be linking turns down blue runs, feeling like a hero.
If there is a mix of abilities in your group, you will split up and meet later in the day. Therefore, you will probably want to go to a resort with a good aprés scene. This will give you a chance to catch up a chat about your progress over a beer with your mates.
Some great resorts you should check out are:
Catered or Self Catered?
This is a whole new blog post in itself, but in a nutshell they both have their advantages.
Self catered properties give you lots of freedom. You can eat at different restaurants every night and at whatever time you like. This is a great option if your group is pretty spontaneous or you don’t mind cooking.
However, catered chalets make life very easy for you. This is because you are looked after by chalet hosts that cook and clean for you. They are also a wealth of knowledge and can give you loads of advice during your stay. Chalet holidays don’t have to be expensive either, depending on the level of service and chalet you opt for. Also, as all your food is included, chalet holidays are often cheaper than self catered ones, as eating out overnight in a ski resort can be really expensive.
Lessons On Holiday
We recommend that you get at least a couple of lessons on your first snowboarding holiday. This way you will be coached right from the very beginning and be taken to the perfect spots to learn. Having lessons makes your first snowboard holiday safer, while reducing the chance of falling in to bad habits in your early days of snowboarding.
Often, the smaller independent snowboard schools are better than the big national ski schools. Some great examples of snowboard schools are REAL Snowboarding and Gypsy Snowboarding in Morzine. They build up your confidence and skills within a couple of hours, and will have you doing things that you never thought you would be able to do.
Get Out There!
This is just a short overview of snowboarding for beginners. But, using this information will make your first time easier, fun and more rewarding.
Your first couple of days on a snowboard can be frustrating. But, everyone has to start somewhere. Once you start progressing, the feeling of freedom you get is epic. There is a quote form legendary ski film maker, Warren Miller “ Once you take your first ride up a lift, your life will be changed forever”, and no truer word has ever been said.
From riding powder, hitting jumps and carving the pistes, snowboarding opens up lots of opportunities for having fun. And that doesn’t take in to account the all the other stories that are made in the mountains.
At Surface 2 Air Sports we have everything a beginner snowboarder needs. Check out our snowboard products online or pop in to see it for yourself.