Snowboarding Tips for Beginners -
Getting On Your Feet and Down the Mountain

If you're heading to the mountains for your first family ski vacation, you'll want to take note of these snowboarding tips for beginners. After all, strapping your kids onto fiberglass planks and propelling them down a steep slope probably shouldn't be attempted without at least a little advance planning. Snowboarding can be an extremely rewarding adventure sport, but make sure you understand the basics before hopping on the lift. Without further ado, here are five tips to get you and your kids started:

Patience

This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind as you start learning to snowboard. Rome wasn't built in a day, and you won't be effortlessly gliding down black diamonds for at least some time. What's more, you'll likely spend more time on your back than on your feet, at least for the first few days. Remember to keep a smile on your face. Don't lose sight of the fact that you're on vacation!

Try Before You Buy

Snowboarding isn't for everyone, and you may find that you simply don't enjoy the sport. For that reason, it makes sense to rent equipment your first few times on the mountain. A full setup of boots, bindings, and board can run upwards of a thousand dollars. That's a lot of money to spend on something that could potentially end up as "found art" in your kid's bedroom. Indeed, renting equipment can be a great way to stay ahead of the curve, as most ski shops have demo boards available that represent the latest and greatest in snowboarding technology.

Start on the Bunny Hill

You'll want to limit yourself to the Bunny Hill for at least the first three days on the mountain. This gentle slope will help you get the basics down, with little risk of a nasty fall. In the beginning, you should really focus on developing good form. If you push yourself and hit the rest of the mountain too soon, you'll likely end up with bad habits that could easily have been ironed out with more time on the Green trails.

Think About Ski School

This is a tough one, because snowboarding instruction generally isn't cheap. While group lessons are less expensive than private tutoring, you obviously won't have the same one on one personal training that comes with hiring your own instructor. A great way to circumvent this problem is to find a willing friend or family member with experience in the sport. Perhaps you could offer to take them along on the vacation (expenses paid) in exchange for help learning.

Take Your Time on the Lift

Don't let anyone rush you as you get onto the lift. This is where many novice snowboarders end up hurting themselves, so take your time. If you feel uncomfortable, politely ask the lift operator to help you onto the chair. After all, that's what they're paid for! Make sure to lower the bar as soon as you and the other riders are comfortable, and don't forget to raise it as you approach the exit point. Finally, make sure everyone on the lift knows the direction to take as they depart. It's pretty simple: on a three person lift, for example, left goes left, center goes straight, and right goes right.

These tips are just the basics; you'll notice we haven't gone into form or style yet. That said, the snowboarding tips for beginners on this page are essential for getting you and your family started on the mountain. By far the most important thing to remember is that snowboarding is supposed to be fun. Your first few days will probably be trying, but in no time at all you'll be shredding through deep powder as you fly down the mountain.



Next Lesson: Snowboarding Tricks and Tips




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