Snowboarding is a lot of fun especially once you get the basic skills down. The exhilaration of gliding across snowy terrain is highly addictive. It’s like flying around the mountain but you’re in total control and can pick and choose anywhere you want to go. That’s why I always wonder why a lot of people only go snowboarding a few times the whole season. We’ve written a number of posts on the rewards of riding powder, springtime riding and backcountry riding. But what about just getting out there over the course of the winter whenever you can and making it happen.
I’m not talking about simply showing up at the hill every other day for a couple runs (although there’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you live near a ski area) to rack up how many days you can say you got in. But this is more for those of us who have to drive a distance to get to the hill, which can require a little planning. That seems to be enough to deter a lot of people from going snowboarding more than a few times a season.
With snowboarding, like anything else, the better you get at it, the more possibilities open up to you, and the more fun you will have. To get better at snowboarding you first need to have a good, solid grasp of how to turn using the rails and side cut of your board. And you can never get too good at turning- even veteran pro snowboarders after years of high level riding still bask in the utter delight of a heavy carve through powder or hard pack. And, it’s not just turning that makes snowboarding fun. Riding switch, flat land tricks, riding trees, jibbing features in the park, getting air off rollers and jumps all get you deeper into the joy of snowboarding. But to get there you need to ride.
So here’s some things to think about to get you motivated to set aside time to do more riding this season.
Commit to setting up a bunch of days over the course of the season wherever you like to ride. You can book passes for specific days at the ski area of your choosing, and simply pick up your tickets at the customer service desk when you get there. If you have those days booked in advance, chances are you are going to look forward to cashing in on them.
Bring your friends with you to the ski area when you go. It doesn’t matter if they snowboard or ski or have never done either and want to learn. Getting together with a group people and riding is one of the best ways to get stoked to go again and again. Plus, your friends will challenge you to try new things and improve on what you already know how to do. Everyone enjoys a friendly little contest once in a while (some more than others, lol) and there’s an evolutionary reason we all have this hidden urge- it makes us better.
Practice one thing at a time. Before you head out onto the hill think about what would be really fun to learn, or just dial in. It could be as simple as getting into sidehits, practicing riding switch, trying small jumps, or popping in and out of the trees. Or you can try backside 180’s off of cat tracks, or riding switch through the trees, or practicing your grabs off of jumps. The main thing is to start small. As you gain more confidence your new skill will start to feel automatic. Then you might move on to something else.
Gear Up: Having boots, bindings, and a board that are in good shape makes it a lot easier to be stoked and have fun. If your board needs a wax and tune it will be harder to turn and hold an edge. If your boots are packed out then your heels will lift making toe side turns feel awful. If your binding ratchets keep slipping then you will need to constantly stop and re-tighten them. With good gear that matches up really well with your riding style you will surely be grinning with joy. And you’ll want to stay out and play a lot longer.
Finally, you don’t need to go to exotic resorts in far off lands (although, that is nice) or “special” mountains many hours away to experience the awesomeness of snowboarding. You can keep it fresh at your local ski area all year long if you get creative. Remember it’s all about taking it slow, building off of what you have learned, and progressing into the areas that are the most fun for you.
You can even go to your local snowboard shop and chat it up with the help and the other patrons. You never know who you are going to run into that is at the same skill level and riding style as you. It’s just one another way to stay stoked for getting back out there, so get your boots on and go!