For beginners just starting out snowboarding it can be a bit nerve racking. Fear of going too fast and crashing or not being able to go in the direction you need to go can get the better of you. Anxiety and frustration are something we all go through while learning any new skill. These tips will help you make your way through the basics. Whether you’re learning to turn or learning a new trick- it all boils down to board control.
Board control happens when you get your entire body positioned correctly over your snowboard, and your head, shoulders, and hips are all moving in the right direction.
- When you first point your board downhill and start picking up speed make sure your knees are bent. NOT kind of bent, but really bent like you’re in a crouch getting ready to catch ball that coming really fast. Keeping your knees bent is the key to staying over your board.
- Stay completely centered over the middle of the board. If your weight is shifted back you will quickly lose control of the board. Put a little bit of weight on the front foot and you will feel much more comfortable.
- You now need to pick up speed then you can start your turn. If you are going too slowly, your side cut will not engage and you will fall forwards on knees. Speed in this case is your friend. Keep your board pointed straight downhill for 15 feet or so.
- Now it’s time to turn. You go where you look. First look in the direction you want to turn and pick a spot where you want to be. As your head turns, follow with your shoulders, and then with your hips. If done correctly, all three body parts (head, shoulders, hips) should follow one another in succession from the top down.
- As your body rotates in the direction you want to go you will also need to put pressure on your edges. If you’re making a toe side turn position your knees slightly forward and press down with the balls of your feet. If you’re making a heel side turn bend your knees and hang your butt over the back of the board and press down with your heels. Don’t be afraid to dig those edges in- it will only benefit you.
- Once you have all of these components working, you will start to understand how the snowboard works when you do certain things. This will give you the confidence to pick up speed and control it by making either bigger more powerful turns, or slowing down with tighter turns.
A snowboard turn is just an arc that you make as you are riding downhill. The downhill is what fuels the turn, and you control the rest. You can break a snowboard turn into three sections- the upper, middle and lower sections.
If you apply more edge pressure while you are in the upper section of the arc your turn will have a lot more speed. This is because you using more downhill area giving you more of the benefits of gravity as you progress through the arc.
If you start to apply more edge pressure in the lower section you will decrease your speed. This is because you will be turning more across the slope rather than down it.
If you apply more edge pressure in the middle of the arc then you will you be much more able to control your speed. The control in the center of the turn allows you to decide if you want to travel more across the slope (decreasing speed) or open the turn up and point the board more downhill (increasing speed).
Once you have your basic turns down, practice playing around with your edge pressure in different parts of the turn. This will further your understanding of how your board reacts to your riding and give you a lot more confidence in your riding.