This page will give you some quick snowboarding tips and helpful ideas to keep in mind before you go up and hit the slopes. Topics covered will be: clothing tips, proper stance, board selection, and snowboard lessons. Remember, these are only suggestions and may not apply to you specifically however it is still a good idea to know them anyway.
A. Clothing Tips
As a rule of thumb, more is better. Having too many layers of clothing is better than not having enough. You can always remove clothes if the day gets warmer but if it gets colder it is difficult to add clothing when you are away from home. Typically it is advantageous to wear at least a base layer, second layer (i.e. – sweats), and an outer layer. Keep in mind, if you are cold you won’t have as much fun your first day of snowboarding because you are concentrating solely on staying warm.
B. Stance Setup
The first and most important aspect of setting up your stance is whether you are regular or goofy foot. Regular means you will have your left foot forward on your snowboard and goofy foot refers to your right foot forward. If you are not sure, a simple test is to have someone push you from behind (unknowingly) and whichever foot you step forward with first tells you which binding setup you want. Remember, left is regular and right is goofy. However this does not work for everybody. After your first few runs you will know which stance feels more comfortable, regular or goofy. Other things to consider when settings up your stance on the snowboard are; stance setback or offset, stance width and the angles of your bindings. Stance setback refers to the distance from the nose of your board to your front binding versus the distance from the tail to your rear binding. As a beginner, a centered stance will be most beneficial giving you more stability and total control. A centered stance means that you have equal amounts of board from each binding. Your stance width can vary between 17 inches and 23 inches. The shorter you are the narrower your stance and vice versa, the taller you are the wider.
You want your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. The key is to be able to transfer your weight from one foot to the other with the least amount of effort. Everything should feel natural, if it does not feel good don’t do it. Being comfortable is of utmost importance. If you are not in your comfort zone you will not enjoy your first day of snowboarding. Lastly, the angles you set your bindings are crucial. As a beginner you can leave your binding angles at 0°/0° (front/back) for maximum maneuverability, however if you have large feet and are riding a narrow board make sure you do not have too much heel or toe overhang. That is, do not have more than one inch extending over the edges of the snowboard. If you were fitted with the correct size board, this should not be of much concern though. Never-the-less if your feet do hang over, adjust the front binding with a positive degree setting and back to a negative degree setting. If you do change your angles, NEVER have your rear foot at more of an angle than your front. As said before, play around with it until you find a stance that you are comfortable with. This will take trial and error, so change your setup, take a run, and note if the adjustments feel better or worse. Try, try again. A quite popular stance to ride is called a duck stance, where both feet are angled outwards. An example of that would be front binding set between 15 and 18 degrees and the back between -12 and -15 degrees. This setup seems to give you maximum maneuverability while still feeling comfortable. Try it, you might like it or you might not. Just feel good and have fun.
C. Board Selection
As with any sport, you need the correct size gear to achieve the greatest performance levels. Snowboarding is no different. Your snowboard must be sized correctly to your height, body weight and style of riding. Most new boards on the market are multi-functional, as to say they will work for you whether you plan on riding park and pipe, backcountry, or just groomed trails. The snowboard size however will depend on your body build. If you are really tall you can’t perform well on a short, narrow board and if you are short you don’t want to ride a board that is really long. Picking the correct size of snowboard is directly related to how easy you will learn this sport. An average build person will want their board to reach somewhere between their chin and mouth when standing up. If you are taller or weigh more you will want a longer, less flexible board and obviously a shorter, lighter weight rider will want a shorter, more flexible snowboard. As previously stated in the “Stance Setup” section (section B), if you have large feet you will have to adjust your angles or look for a wide model board. Just remember, between your chin and mouth. The style and design of the snowboard are not as crucial as the proper size of snowboard.
D. Snowboard Lessons
As stupid as you might feel having to sign up for snowboarding lessons, they will be very beneficial. Don’t worry about what people will think or say because you will be in a class of novice riders just like yourself. They are there to learn just as you are. Even if you have been snowboarding before, it is never too late to learn something new. The instructors get paid to teach, so listen to them. They are a snowboard school and they know what they are teaching. Also, if you still have questions about your stance they will be able to help with that as well. Once you learn the fundamentals of snowboarding, you can even take advanced lessons that will teach you how to jump, rail slide or even how to feel more comfortable in the half pipe. A good thing about lessons offered at most resorts is that you can opt for private lessons. Private lessons are personal coaching that is one on one, meaning they are focused only on you. No waiting for others to learn if you have already figured something out. Be prepared to pay a little more money for private though they are well worth it.
If you have the time and money, you can sign up for a snowboard camp. These are usually multiple days, day long instruction courses. Some highly noted camps are located in the United States. You can search online for any other snowboard camps worldwide as well.