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Learn to snowboard with these snowboarding tips for beginners

Post updated March 2024

This guest blog post was contributed by a fellow blogger, Kenny

Snowboarding is a fun winter sport focused on the adventure and excitement that thrill-seekers look for. Since nobody is born with the ability to snowboard, we put together some snowboarding tips for beginners. These snowboarding tips will hopefully make your experience more enjoyable when you’re learning how to ride.

Before you begin – snowboarding for beginners

Before you can strap into your snowboard and glide effortlessly down the slopes, you’ll need to get some essentials sorted. We’ve listed them below, to help you get started.

Find your snowboard stance

While snowboarding, you’ll mostly move in one direction where you’ll have to look over your shoulder. People with their left foot forward (regular) will look over their left shoulder. A snowboarder with their right foot forward (goofy) will look over their right shoulder.

This is why the stance on your snowboard is the foundation of every trick you’ll try. So for new snowboarders, it’s essential to understand which is your front foot and which is your back foot.

Snowboarding tips for beginners include finding your stance
If you are unsure of your snowboarding stance, try both ways and you’ll quickly know your preference

The best way to find out which is your leading foot is by having someone push you from behind and see which leg falls forward first. The leg you step to balance with will be your forward leg. Remember to always put your best foot forward!

Snowboarding gear essentials for beginners

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that mountain tops (or snow domes) are a cold and hostile environment. You should be dressed appropriately to make sure your body doesn’t lose more heat than it’s generating because this would mean you’re wasting energy. 

Another reason having the appropriate snowboarding gear is essential is because, during the first days on the mountain, you’ll fall frequently. Having the correct protective gear makes these falls no big deal. And more importantly, it will speed up your learning process and make you less timid when trying out a new trick. 

If you tend to get cold easily, wear layers to stay warm. Your base layer should be one that wicks moisture away to keep you dry. I recently got heated gloves and I love them! My hands don’t get cold anymore and I highly recommend them if you find you’re getting cold on the slopes.

Woman wearing a helmet and goggles for snowboarding
Wearing a helmet and goggles is a must for snowboarding safety.

Get proper insurance

Every snowboarder will agree: it’s a thrilling sport, yet it can be very risky on some occasions. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so getting travel or specific snowboarding insurance is worth considering… especially because a beginner will fall down more than average. It only takes one bad crash before you pile up thousands in medical bills.

This is one of the snowboarding tips that is especially true if you are going on a trip where you will be riding the slopes. Not only are you just learning, but every mountain’s terrain is different. When you are a beginner, different terrain means a higher probability of injury. Be sure to get travel insurance that covers you for going snowboarding.

Chairlift on mountain for skiing and snowboarding
Snowboarding is a great sport, but not without its risks so be sure you’re insured and stay safe on the slopes.

Practical snowboarding tips for beginners

Once you have locked in your equipment and insurance, you’ll be able to head to your winter sports destination and start with the practical side of learning how to snowboard.

The fundamentals of snowboarding are pretty easy to explain since the most important part is your body stance. 

Bend your knees when snowboarding

The first thing an experienced snowboard instructor will tell you is to bend your knees and keep them above your feet. This is a top snowboarding tip for beginners and advanced riders.

The reason for this is that your knees are your shock absorbers. This allows you to absorb bumps by bounding up and down. Additionally, bending your knees will bring your center of gravity down which makes it easier to regain your balance. It also digs the edges of your board deeper in the snow, giving you more control over your board. 

Snowboarding tips for beginners include bending your kmees
Riding regular (left foot forward) down the mountain on the toe-edge of the board

Look (and point) where you want to go

When you’re snowboarding you’ll naturally move in the direction you are looking. This is because your body language will be aligned with the direction you’re looking at. 

Looking down – which is a natural reflex for new snowboarders – will put your body in a bad and twisted position, which will ultimately shift your shoulders and thus the weight on your heels. 

So remember: look where you want to go, because if you look down you fall down

By looking where you want to go (you can even point in the right direction), you’ll get there much more smoothly. Your eyes lead the rest of your body, which you’ll notice when you’re learning to turn your board. 

Learn how to fall

We’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating – snowboarding beginners will fall a lot. Don’t be scared of falling, make sure you know how to fall properly.

When falling, a natural reflex is putting your hands in front of you to break your fall. However, you should learn to keep your hands close to your body, crossed over your chest. This helps you avoid breaking your wrists if you fall.

How to improve your snowboarding

Snowboarding can be a frustrating game at times. Especially when you feel like you’ve hit a plateau that you can’t progress beyond. That’s why we’ve received tips from a few professional snowboarders on how they have improved their skills. We’ve listed the most important snowboarding tips below!

Snowboarding tips for beginners from the pros

Plan your tricks

You’ll progress much faster in learning how to snowboard if you have a list of tricks you’ll want to learn. This is because it pushes you to try new things, and subconsciously improve your confidence. 

Woman snowboarding on a box
Playing on the obstacles in the terrain parks is a great way to improve your skills and push you to try new things

Learn how to skateboard

Having basic skateboarding skills helps you to learn snowboarding because you will already know the fundamentals of snowboarding: bending your knees, looking where you need to go, and you’ve probably had some gnarly falls already. 

The tricks like pipes and rails should feel pretty familiar to skateboarders as well. This will make you progress much faster than people who have never stood on a skateboard before.

Off-season workouts

Strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance are very important for your performance – and indirectly the enjoyment of snowboarding.

So whether you’re new to the sport or are an experienced pro, strengthening your body and staying fit is fundamental to reducing soreness and preventing injury.

Bonus tip: Bring a camera or a GoPro

Snowboarding all comes down to your technique, more specifically your stance and your movements. Another great snowboarding tip is to bring a camera or a GoPro along on your trip to film yourself while snowboarding. This is the perfect way to analyze your technique and look for ways to improve.

Woman snowboarding while holding a GoPro
It takes some getting used to riding while holding a GoPro, but you get some great footage this way
Stats provided by GoPro camera while snowboarding
A GoPro camera will show your stats for the time you were filming so you can see your distance, location and top speed – a super cool feature!

Bringing a camera with you while you’re on a snowboarding trip is – next to the ideal way to improve your technique – also the perfect excuse to capture the atmosphere off the slopes. Especially since the mountains are the perfect setting to create a unique photograph.

Watching yourself ride is also a great snowboarding tip because you can see what you’re doing correctly, or incorrectly. Have a friend video you so you can watch your stance and how you ride.

Views of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain chairlift
Riding the chairlift is often the most scenic part of your day on the slopes

We hope you’ve enjoyed these snowboarding tips for beginners. If you’re a Vancouver local, be sure to check out the post Your guide to Vancouver’s Ski Resorts for all the info you need to know about the local mountains.

Snowboaridng tips for beginners learning to ride