Have you always wanted to give snowboarding a go but never knew where to start? Maybe you’ve been put off by overly technical terminology, or overloaded with information on snow boarding holidays?
Well, if you don’t know your Indy’s from your Backside’s (but couldn’t really give a melon) then this is the beginners guide for you.
This guide will aim to cover absolutely almost everything you need to know about snowboarding for beginners, and maybe even a few things more experienced riders didn’t know.
People have been recorded sliding down snowy covered hills on a single piece of wood as early as the 1920’s. The mid 1960’s is where snowboarding really began to originate however.
The phrase boys and their toys could neatly sum up the origins of snowboarding. Or maybe that should be a girl and her toy.
The story goes a Michigan engineer, Sherman Poppen, attached a pair of skis together with a rope handle for his daughter to play with in the snow. Within a year the “snurfer” had been manufactured and sold to over half a million happy sliders.
Whether this, or Tom Simms school shop class project, or Jake Burtons’ snurfboard plus bindings, or Dimitrije Milovichs’ surfboard inspired “Winterstick”, can claim to be the absolute beginning of snowboarding is irrelevant. What is certain is that snowboarding originated from fun loving people finding new ways to enjoy sliding down hills on snow.
Snow plays a pretty hefty role in our sport. Without it we’d just be ‘boarding. It is what separates us from surfers and skaters. Snow is what we pray for before we go to bed, and hope to see blanketing the alpine when we wake in the morning.
The shear variety of snow is immense; a study of snow science will last you a lifetime. It also creates different conditions for us to ride in, from fluffy light Hokkaido powder to sloppy spring slush.
It is possible to snowboard without it: the UK’s staunch dry slope scene being solid proof of that. And if you’re thinking of heading somewhere mountainous for that first snowboarding trip, think also about getting a few lessons at one of the numerous dry slopes around our isle first, hitting the snow knowing the basics will be much more rewarding.
Taking a simple concept and complicating it in every imaginable respect could be the best way to describe today’s snowboard manufacturing industry. There are snowboards to ride on everything and everywhere and snowboards specific to single disciplines.
From homemade noboards, loving handcrafted from a single piece of timber, to factory pressed snowboards made in the thousands, if you can imagine it it’s probably been made.
What board is right for you is dependant on a variety of factors including experience, skill level, snow conditions, style of riding and even environmental concerns. Beginners may find a slightly longer, softer flexing board is easier to learn on, where seasoned pros may prefer something stiffer and more responsive.
Your boots are the first point of contact with your board, so having comfy, well fitted boots makes snowboarding a much more enjoyable experience. If I had to choose one piece of gear to spend a fortune on it would be my boots.
Unlike ski boots, snowboard boots are softer and can be easily worn for longer periods of time without pain. When a skier complains about having sore feet, it is your responsibility as a boarder to immediately suggest they take up snowboarding instead. This will not get old however much it needs repeating.
If it weren’t for the snowballing popularity of noboarding, I’d have started this sentence “You’d be hard pushed to get anywhere snowboarding without a good set of bindings”. As it is many people are throwing away the very items commonly needed to steer and keep you attached to your board, for an experience closer to surfing than what traditionally comes to mind as snowboarding.
As a beginner it is reasonable to assume you will want to keep the board firmly attached to your feet, and bindings will do this quite adequately. There’s not the amount of variation within the binding world as there is with boards – but things are always progressing.
Just with most adventurous outdoors activities’, snowboarding has it’s own distinct styles and disciplines. As a beginner snowboarder you could end up being a pimped out park rat, a backcountry enthusiast or even a hardcore euro carver.
You might get hooked on boxes and rails, find your thing hitting the kickers, or get excited for some perfectly placed tree runs. Powder could be your ultimate quest, disappearing and reappearing through the trees in explosions of snow.
Or, like the majority of us you could end up loving every aspect snowboarding has to offer, freeride and freestlye, powder and park.
A beginners guide to snowboarding wouldn’t be complete without a mention of a few tricks. Probably you’ll have heard of a few, even be itching to try out your first 360, but have you ever contemplated a chicken salad or a stalefish? How about a cab 1080 double cork?
Tricks are inter grained in snowboarding’s culture, and can add endless fun and progression to your riding. Finally nailing something you’ve been practising for ages is a rewarding experience, and building up your ‘trick catalogue’ is something most riders attain to.
Encouraging others and seeing them progress along with you is what makes snowboarding so much fun for so many, at whatever level.
Hopefully this has been an informative place to start in your snowboarding adventure. Possibly some aspect of the “sport” has been neglected or forgotten about, but beginners remember this – skis were first created as a means of transport, snowboards as a means to have fun. Now get out there and have some fun!