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Snowboarding Tips and Techniques
Essential Tips for First Time Riders

Here are some useful tips for beginning riders. Spend a little time learning the how-to's before you get out on the snow - you'll decrease the amount of time it takes you to learn the sport while increasing your level of enjoyment. Have fun, and remember: be careful with all of that adrenaline!

Bindings
Standing Up
Stopping
Falling
Chairlift
Ollie


Putting on Your Bindings

Bindings are what attach your feet to your snowboard. Keep in mind that, unlike ski bindings, snowboard bindings are not designed to release your feet in the event of a crash.

To get into your bindings:

  1. Lay the board down flat, perpendicular to the hill. Make sure you’re out of the way of fellow riders.
  2. Put your front foot in first.
    • If you have step-in bindings, make sure the bottom of your boot is cleared of snow, then step in toe-first and click your heel in.
    • If you have strap bindings, place your foot on the baseplate and bend over to insert the straps into their respective buckles. Ratchet as necessary to fit your boot snugly.
    • If you ride Belligerent bindings or use the Belligerent Sinch Strap retrofit kit, insert your foot, then bend over to lock the lever down into the buckle.
  3. Put on your safety leash on your front foot. In case you fall over before you’re strapped in, it’ll keep the board from running away from you or hitting an innocent bystander.
  4. As a beginner, it’s a good idea to always sit down before you put in your back foot so you don’t slide away or tip over. Check your boot for excess snow, and then insert your back foot like you did your front one.
  5. Before you stand up, (if you needed to sit to put in your back foot) make sure your board is perpendicular to the hill so you won’t go zooming down before you’re ready. This technique goes for any time you might happen to be off your feet!

Standing Up

There are three basic ways to stand up. For each one, always make sure you put the same amount of weight on both feet.

To stand up:

The Thrust or Push-Off

  • With your knees bent and your feet close to your bottom, lean back then thrust your weight forward and over your feet, pushing off from behind with your hand(s).

The Pull-Up

  • With your knees bent and your feet close to your bottom, pull yourself up by the toe edge of your board. (If you have trouble, using one hand to push from behind at the same time helps get you on your feet.)

The Roll-Over

  • From your sitting position, roll yourself over onto your knees, then stand up by pushing your weight backward and over your feet.

Stopping

As any beginner knows, stopping is one of the most important things to learn. The following guidelines should help keep you from crashing into stationary objects or your fellow riders.

To stop:

Bring both feet perpendicular to the hill and scrape to a stop.

  • Stopping on a snowboard is similar to stopping on hockey skates or doing an (aptly named) “hockey stop” on skis.

If you fall down when you try to stop, follow the guidelines for standing up and keep practicing.

Falling

When you’re a beginner, falling is an unfortunate part of the learning process. The following guidelines will help to minimize injuries, even when you become a more experienced rider.

To fall safely:

Make a fist

  • The most common injuries, especially for beginners, occur in the fingers and wrists because they take the brunt of the fall’s impact. Making a fist keeps your fingers from splaying out and your wrists from hyperextending. No matter which way you fall, ALWAYS make a fist.

Fall forward onto your knees and forearms

  • Absorbing impact with your knees helps to lessen the force with which you fall. By landing on your bent knees, you avoid the “Tim-berrrrr!” effect of falling straight over face first.
  • Along with making fists, using your forearms (instead of just your hands) helps to keep your wrists from hyperextending. Putting your forearms down also helps protect your face from slamming into the snow.

Fall backward onto your fists and backside.

  • Using your fists will help keep you from injuring your wrists and fingers.
  • Your backside is made for hard landings; just be careful of your tailbone. Landing on your fists first should help dampen the impact.

The Chairlift

Negotiating the chairlift can be nerve-wracking for any beginner, whether it’s while skiing or snowboarding. These tips and some practice should help smooth out the jitters.

To load:

  1. At the bottom of the hill, take your back foot out of its binding. Skate over to the lift line by pushing off your free back foot like you would a skateboard. Your free foot should rest on the stomp pad as you glide.
  2. When you reach the front of the line, watch for the chair passing by to scoop up the riders ahead of you. Follow behind it to catch the next one.
  3. Stand with the tip of your board pointing towards the lift ramp. Look over your shoulder to watch the chair come around so you know when to sit down.
  4. When the chair comes around, take hold of it and sit down.
    • To make sure your free leg doesn’t get squished between the chair and the ground when you sit, stick your free foot out in front of you.
    • Make sure your board is gliding straight up the lift ramp so you don’t clobber your neighbor.
  5. Once you’re on your way, you can enjoy the scenery and let your board hang comfortably.

To unload:

  1. When you see the “Prepare to Unload” sign, start skooching yourself over so you’re sitting sideways in your directional stance.
  2. As you approach the lift ramp, point your board forward, put your free foot on your stomp pad, and hang your cheek off the edge of the chair.
  3. When you reach the ramp, let your board slide along the snow, then stand up with your weight forward as the chair pushes you off.
  4. Make sure you’ve moved clear of the unloading area before you stop to strap in your back foot.

Practicing Your Ollie

A big part of snowboarding is getting air. Once you get more comfortable with your board and basic riding, practicing an Ollie is a great way for a beginner to get the feel for catching air. When you’ve mastered the Ollie on flat land, you can incorporate it into the takeoff of your jumps to get bigger air.

To Ollie:

  1. On a flatter part of the ground, shift all your weight to your back foot. The tip of your board should lift off the snow.
  2. Jump off from your back foot, pulling your knees up slightly to get a little air.
  3. Land with your board flat and your weight placed equally on both feet. If your board doesn’t land flat, you could catch an edge and fall over.









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