So you want to learn how to snowboard? Awesome! You’ve also come to the right place because we’ve gathered a few pointers for you to progress faster. Without further ado, let’s get started.

Getting started

Snowboarding has a lot of similarities with downhill skiing, which means they can also be practiced in a similar fashion. Obviously, the biggest difference between the two is that your feet are locked in the board, which makes small movements more difficult. This can also cause some fear of falling which can slow down your progress. That’s why it is important to learn the basics first on a beginner’s slope before moving on to bigger hills on the mountain. 

The most important factors in snowboarding are balance skills, weight distribution and turning the board. Learning the basics first will surely help you learn how to snowboard more quickly and stay free of injuries. Here are a few ways you can start your learning process. 

First, we need to determine if you ride goofy (right foot forward) or regular (left foot forward). If you want more in-depth information or need ways to help you determine your stance, we suggest you read our article here.

The most important factors in snowboarding are balance skills, weight distribution and turning the board.

Finding the perfect riding position

So, once you’ve figured out your stance, it is time to strap in and get on your board. Your basic riding position should your head and feet centered on the board and front foot arm pointed towards the nose. Naturally, your other arm should be pointing towards the tail. Sometimes beginners can imagine being a ”tree” that spreads its’ branches towards the ends of the board. Your feet should be evenly placed on your bindings so you can use both the front and back edges. Bend your knees slightly to make quick movements easier. Lastly, remember to always look where you are going. So, eyes up!

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Head centered on the board
  • Arms on the side
  • Weight distributed evenly on both bindings
  • Knees slightly bent
  • Eyes facing forward

Learning how to fall down

This might sound a bit backwards, but the most important thing to learn first is falling down. This can alleviate most fears of falling down and spare you from wrist, elbow, shoulder and even head injuries.

If you fall forward, avoid breaking the fall with your hands. This could easily result in a broken wrist. A safer way to do this is bringing your arms to your chest and pushing with the front edge right before hitting the snow. Kind of like jumping into a pool head first without extending your arms. You can easily practice this on flat ground first. Just try to slide on your stomach as far as possible. 

If you fall backwards, the most important thing to remember is putting your jaw to your chest. This could easily prevent you from head injuries such as concussions. In case of falling backwards, your arms should also be close to your chest. Do not try to break the fall with your arms. 

However, injuries are always possible when learning how to snowboard. That’s why we suggest you also invest in some protective gear.

Here’s a quick recap:

  • Arms to your chest if you fall forwards
  • Push towards the slope with your edge for a softer impact
  • Jaw to your chest if you fall backwards
  • Arms to your chest if you fall backwards
  • Don’t break the fall with your hands
  • Use protective gear

Pushing for speed with your rear foot

Once you’ve mastered the basic snowboard stance and falling down, it is time to test out how the board slides on the snow. Testing out on flat snow is important when learning how to snowboard because sometimes speed can get the best of you on steeper hills. That’s why you should find yourself a beginner’s slope when you do this. 

Unstrap your rear binding and push forward on the rear leg. You should immediately be sliding on the snow. Good job! You can also do this on a gentle uphill to make it even more beginner-friendly. However, if you are going downhill, it is even more important that your balance is towards the nose of the board. Otherwise the snowboard simply won’t slide straight. We recommend you start pushing for speed on the heel side to reduce unwanted torque on the knee of your front foot. 

How to use the ski lift

Using the lift can be incredibly frustrating but it is vital if you want to learn how to snowboard. In this section we are mainly focusing on ski lifts like drag lifts, button lifts, T-bars and magic carpets. 

When you are ready to take the lift and hit the slopes, the first thing you need to do is unstrap your rear binding. This will make catching the lift easier and also help you get untangled if you fall. You can also purchase a traction pad to put next to your rear binding for better grip on snow. Usually ski resorts have staff to help you catch the lift but it is recommended you lear to catch it yourself as well. Just slide yourself to the loading spot and face towards the upcoming lifts. Catch it, and place it between your legs. Now the lift is pulling you up the hill. If you want to go all the way without falling, make sure that your balance is on the front binding or even closer to the nose. This will make your board go straight up the mountain. If you need to steer your board, shift your weight to your heels or toes. 

In case you fall, try to move away as fast as possible. You don’t want the person below crashing into you and cause a chain reaction. 

Of course, the chair lifts and gondolas are the easiest and most motivating methods to get up the mountain. However, be careful not to attempt slopes that are above your skill level. 

A quick recap:

  • Unstrap your back binding
  • Catch the lift
  • Put back foot on the board
  • Keep weight on the front binding or nose
  • If you fall, make sure others don’t crash into you. Try again
  • Once you are up, slide away from the lift and strap your rear binding

There’s no real shortcut to learning how to snowboard. Practice makes perfect.

Learning how to use the edges of your snowboard

If you want to learn how to snowboard, you have to know how to use the back edge. Coincidentally, the ”falling leaf” practice is great for that and pretty easy to do as well. The basic idea is to start off standing sideways facing away from the slope. From here, you can and move your ankles up and down and feel when the heel edge ”bites” on the snow. You can also shift your weight sideways from one foot to another and slowly slide downwards. Shifting your weight also makes you move sideways back and forth that looks like a falling leaf. Also, if you have a friend with you, they can face towards you and hold your hands while pulling you down the slope. 

The falling leaf can also be done facing towards the slope. The main idea here is the same, but you’ll be using the front edge instead. This is also the basis of breaking on a snowboard. Once you’re more comfortable with this maneuver you can put more weight on your front foot and start riding forwards!

Carving on a snowboard

Once you have mastered the basics of how to snowboard, it is time to do some carving. Carving means using your whole edge, or sidecut, for powerful turns without losing speed. It is also really handy for setting up tricks or maintaining speed in a half pipe. The easiest way to practice this is to traverse across the whole width of the slope on your toe side or heel side edge. Once you reach the edge of the slope, slowly distribute your weight to the other edge. If you want more power for your turns, bend your knees during the turn. Then, push through the turn and extend your legs powerfully to give more bite to the edge.  

When you have learned how to properly carve, you can also make quicker transitions from edge to edge. These are called edge rolls. If these are a piece of cake, congratulations! You’ve learned how to snowboard like no other. Now get out there and practice your skills. Next up, maybe try some jibbing?

A quick recap:

  • Get low
  • Engage the edge side and push through the turn
  • Extend your legs when coming out of the turn. Also known as ”pumping”

Practice makes perfect

Remember that there’s no real shortcut to learning how to snowboard. So, once you have mastered the basics, feel free to explore the mountain and see what you like to do the most. We guarantee that the more time you spend on the mountain, the more you will also progress. Once your skill level improves, you can also start making laps on the park and even try out some rails. If freestyle snowboarding is not your thing, you can also try out some powder lines on the mountain. Stay safe out there, but also remember to have fun. 

Need a new setup to help you learn how to snowboard faster?

Subscribe to our newsletter