Snowboarding Tricks and Tips

Now that you have all the info ready to start your snowboarding vacation, it's time to hit the mountain. Your first time can be a bit daunting, but just relax and enjoy yourself. This is important, because remaining tense will make learning that much more difficult. Snowboarding is a graceful, fluid sport, so try to hang loose. Here are some basic snowboarding tricks and tips that will put you on the path towards greatness.

Are You Goofy, or Regular?

This refers to which foot you'll place in the front binding of the board. If you're goofy, it will be your right foot; if you're "regular" it will be your left. You may be tempted to think this is purely a question of left or right-handedness. Though lefties are often goofy, don't leave it to chance. Most boarders agree on the following method of figuring out your personal preference: next time you take the stairs, make sure you note which foot you begin climbing with. In most cases, if it's your left, you'll be regular, and if it's your right, you'll be goofy.

Keep Your Edges

This is probably the best advice you'll hear for snowboarding tricks and tips, and it's crucial to learning how to board. Your board has two edges: the heel edge, and the toe edge. When you're snowboarding, you'll always want to be on one edge, except on very, very flat parts of the mountain where you need to maintain speed. Switching from heel edge to toe edge continuously is the only way to keep control. This is the most basic maneuver you'll perform on a snowboard, and it's the key to learning how to get down the mountain in one piece.

Skiers have the "pizza pie", a maneuver in which they turn both skis in toward each other to slow down. The snowboarding version of this technique is leaning on the heel edge-no matter how fast you're going, if you're able to switch to your heel and dig into the mountain, you can stop in no time at all. Just don't be tempted to make this your standard operating procedure; while it's effective, it takes all fun out of the sport, and leaves you tired as tired can be at the end of the day.

Lean Toward the Mountain

The whole idea behind snowboarding is leaning into the mountain. In other words, you want to face the mountain at all times, regardless of whether you're on your toe or heel edge. Once your body weight shifts "away" from the mountain (and towards the bottom of the hill), you're in for a fall.

Fall Backwards

If you're going to fall, make sure you fall into the mountain. Picture this: you're flying down the mountain on your heel edge, and you suddenly lean forward. Your toe edge catches, and you go flying forward. If you feel yourself going out of control, fall into the mountain. Trust us: your butt is a lot more durable than your face!

Take Your Time

There's no reason to turn into a speed demon right off the bat. Let your kids know that speed can be dangerous if attempted before they have the proper technique to back it up. That said, if you suddenly reach a speed that you're uncomfortable with, simply take a deep breath, switch to your heel edge, and lean in towards the mountain. You'll find yourself stopped in no time.

If you follow these tips, you'll be an expert in no time at all. Just remember that the entire thing is supposed to be a graceful exercise; you may even want to consider whispering some kind of mantra as you glide through the snow. Once you have it down, you'll experience the Zen of snowboarding, and your winters will never be the same.

Next Lesson: List of Snowboarding Tricks
Then: Freestyle Snowboarding Tricks

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