How to learn snowboarding: tips & tricks for beginners

December 28, 2022
Snowboarding is super fun, but learning how to snowboard can be hard, or even intimidating. When you are up on the mountain and have just strapped in for the first time, you might wonder how you are ever going to get down safely. But don’t worry! Just remember that everyone started out as a beginner, and keep the following snowboard tips for beginners in mind!
How to learn snowboarding: tips & tricks for beginners

Choose the right board

Having the right board under your feet is crucial to start off in the right way. Many beginning riders focus on the question whether a longer or shorter snowboard is better for beginners. Generally, a shorter board is easier to turn, while a longer board provides more stability. But board length is just one of the many things you should look at; the feel of a board is also determined by its profile and flex. A rocker profile is forgiving and doesn’t catch edge as quickly, while a camber board provides pop and control. And while a stiff board is more aggressive, flexible boards are more playful. Therefore, it’s best to choose a softer, more forgiving board if you just start snowboarding. And if you wonder if you should choose a freestyle, freeride or all-mountain board, go for the latter. All-mountain boards are allround boards that can do everything. Later on, you will surely find your preferred snowboard style.

How to put bindings on a snowboard for beginners

Your bindings can be placed on your board in many different positions. The binding position or angle has a big impact on the way your board feels and rides. There is however no simple answer to the question of what the best binding angle for beginners is. Some people say it’s best to choose a duck stance, where both feet are pointed slightly outwards (for example, +16/-16). This stance makes it easy to ride the board in both directions, and allows for easy “snowflaking” – sliding down the mountain on your heel side without making any turns. Others say it’s better to choose a forward stance (+18/+4, for example), because this makes it easier to ride in one direction and learn proper turns. We recommend trying multiple angles and finding your preferred stance. An often-used binding stance for beginners is +15/+0.

Get the right gear

The right gear helps you to ride comfortably and stay out on the slopes for longer. And more time to practice means more progress!

Think of:

- Good-fitting boots that offer the right balance between comfort and control
- A water- and windproof snowboarding jacket and snowboard pants
- Layers of clothing to regulate your temperature
- Goggles to protect your eyes and enjoy optimal vision; different lenses for different weather conditions
- Gloves and a beanie to keep your hands and head toasty
- A helmet to protect your head

Take a beginner lesson

One of the best snowboard beginner tips is to take a lesson. It might not sound super cool, but taking a snowboard beginner lesson is the best way to learn the basics of snowboarding. In your first lessons, you will learn how to ride a snowboard and how to stop on a snowboard. If you get those basics down, you will feel more confident and can start focusing on your turns. One of the most important things to keep in mind as a beginning snowboarder, is that your body follows your head. So always look where you want to go, and your shoulders, hips and legs will follow!

How to turn on a snowboard as a beginner

On a snowboard, you turn by engaging the edges of your board. Because your board has two sides, you can make turns in two directions. Most people start with a heelside (or frontside) turn, where you turn your body towards the valley and lean backwards to engage your heelside edge. Many people find this easier, because you’re able to see where you’re going and it just feels more natural to lean back when sliding down a mountain. A backside turn, on the other hand, requires leaning forward and turning your back to the valley. This might feel a little more scary, but it’s really important to learn how to turn in both ways.

Beginner snowboard tricks

If you get your turns down, you might want to try your first snowboard tricks. Tricks aren’t only cool to do and watch, but also help you to get more control over your board. One of the easiest snowboard tricks for beginners is a 360 flatspin, where you make a 360 degree turn. So essentially, it’s just an extended turn.

Other easy beginner tricks are:

- a tail press: pressing (leaning on) your tail
- a nose press: pressing your nose
- a butter: spinning while pressing your nose or tail
- jumping off a small ramp
- an ollie: jumping in the air by using the flex of your board

Practise and have fun

Our final snowboard beginner tip is to have as much fun and practise as much as you can. As in everything you do: practise makes perfect. But you will only persevere if you have fun along the way. The combination of fun and practice amplifies itself: the better and more confident you get, the more fun snowboarding will be; and the more fun you have, the more you want to practise! Enjoy your snowboarding journey!

What are the main differences between skiing and snowboarding?

Skiing and snowboarding are two ways to slide down a snowy mountain. The biggest difference is that snowboarders ride sideways using a board, while skiers go forward with two skis on their feet. In addition to that, skiers usually use ski poles to manoeuvre down the mountain.

Which one is easier to learn skiing or snowboarding?

This is quite a tricky question, because there is no consensus among experts as of yet. However, it’s often said that skiing is easier to learn, but harder to master. The reason for this is that on skis, you face forwards and can move both legs independently. Thanks to the poles in your hand, it’s not hard to keep your balance while standing still or at lower speeds. Especially if you have some experience with ice skating or rollerblading, skiing can feel quite natural.

Snowboarding, on the other hand, might be a struggle at first. With both feet strapped onto one board and trying to ride sideways, it’s harder to balance and maneuver. As a result, you will spend a fair amount of time falling and sitting on your knees and behind when you just start. But once you have survived those first one or two days, it’s often easier to progress. After one week, you’re often able to turn in both directions, and with a bit of luck, you can even perform some basic tricks.


Which one is faster: Skiing or Snowboarding?

In general, there are only small differences between skiing and snowboarding in terms of speed. Trained skiers and snowboarders you will see around the resort will reach similar speeds. The speed someone can reach depends more on a rider's comfort level, skill, and preferences than on the choice between a pair of skis or a snowboard.

When you look at world records however, skiing is the fastest of the two.

  • The world speed record for skiing is 255 km per hour by Simon Billy in 2023
  • while the speed record in snowboarding is ‘only’ 203 km/h. by Edmond Plawczyk in 2015

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Differences in style between skiing and snowboarding

Skiing is often seen as more elegant and graceful than snowboarding. This is largely due to the upright stance and parallel movements. Snowboarding, on the other hand, has a more loose and nonchalant style – a sort of swagger. Advanced riders are often able to express themselves in a creative way. This is especially true for freestyle snowboarders.

Is there a difference in equipment for skiing & snowboarding?

Of course, there is a difference in equipment between skiing and snowboarding. To begin with, for snowboarding you need a snowboard with bindings, and specific snowboard boots. These boots are often softer and more comfortable than ski boots. That is why they are called soft boots. For skiing, you need a pair of skis with bindings, and ski boots. In terms of clothing, you need the same equipment. We advise a water and wind resistant snow jacket and pants, plus insulating and moist-wicking layers underneath to keep you warm and dry.

Have Fun!

Snowboarding and skiing are both great sports that we deeply love. The question whether skiing or snowboarding is better, is impossible to answer, just like the question which sport is more fun. Consider what you find most important, and if you can’t decide, just try them both!

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