When you have never stepped on a snowboard, this sport seems to be incomprehensible, exhausting and dangerous. It will be so, unless you prepare yourself. Mountains are rarely forgiving, and you have to be ready for snow, cold and snowboarding itself. So, this article will help you understand the basics and get ready for the mountain trip.
Preparations are Vital
Well-chosen equipment is your key to save, exciting and memorable snowboarding experience. You need comfortable and warm boots, base layers, a snowboard fitting your demands and capabilities, protective equipment, and good binding. But the outfit is not the only thing you should take care of. The understanding of how it all works, training, and practice are essential aspects of a successful snowboarder. Let us then go deeper in every aspect.
Take Care of the Protective Gear Acquiring
When you are the first time on a snowboard, you will be learning to stay and ride for a couple of days. And you will fall many times. Here is the basic protective gear you should wear to prevent yourself from fractures, sprains, bruises, and injuries:
- A helmet. This is what you should wear all the time being at a winter resort. There are countless unexpected scenarios (from falling to crashing into the wall/park/tree branch, etc.) when your head may be injured.
- Wrist guards, knee and elbow pads. Again, while falling, you put your arms forward on instinct and your wrists get most of the stress. You also land on your knees, usually. A broken wrist or knee will instantly end your vacation.
- Tailbone pads/shorts. Tailbone fracture is also very common in snowboarding. Sometimes it is impossible to stay balanced and you are to fall on your butt. This equipment is really worth obtaining.
- Goggles. The atmosphere becomes more rarefied with altitude and loses the ability to absorb ultraviolet light. Moreover, the snow reflects light very efficiently. To save your eyes from the irradiation, wear the goggles. Besides that, your eyes will stay safe from snowflakes dashing against them at high speed.
Practice Your Balance Point
When you are on a snowboard, you can’t move your feet. That sounds obvious, but for the first time, turning and moving will be incredibly unnatural and weird to your body. One of the crucial aspects of snowboarding is the ability to shift your body weight and switch between balance points.
But before that, make a comfortable stance. It may be either your left or right foot forward. Play with it and come up with the comfortable feet position.
Step on a board and try to move your mass from toes to heels. Practice that feeling. This will help you while turning and landing after jumps and making tricks on jibs and boxes. By the way, you use a log of wood (if you have one) and train your balance on it imitating the jibs in the terrain park.
Snowboarding requires muscle strength and endurance. Especially that goes for your lower body and torso. Core muscles do most of the job when you maneuver. Legs and back extensors work intensively as well. You need to pay attention to:
- Your abs. Do crunches and straight leg raises. For obliques do side plank and leg plank hop twists.
- Legs. Do squads to develop your quadriceps and glutes. Romanian deadlift is the best drill for your hamstring. Do standing calf raises to grow calves.
- Back. Do deadlift to strengthen your back extensors, traps, and rhomboid muscles. And weighted pull-ups will efficiently grow your lats.
Learn Skating and Falling Techniques
As a beginner, you will fall very often. Tumbling on snow is not as scary as you might think. You need to learn to put your hands close to your chest and elbows close to your torso while falling forward. This will help you avoid wrist injuries. When tumbling backward, keep your hands over your hind head and curl your body like while doing crunches.
Learning to skate is useful while you are on flat terrain. Unstrap your back foot, put it forward and push. This is, in fact, the only efficient way of moving towards the lifts.
Your friends may be good at snowboarding, but they will not always give you useful advice. They may not always be good teachers even if they hit the slopes for the whole life. The best teacher is a snowboarding instructor. This is his or her job.
Don’t be shy and take some lessons. The coach will show you the proper form and make the necessary corrections right away. And you can ask any consult starting from equipment and ending with instructions regarding escaping the snowslide.
Control the Edge
While moving downhill, you start from learning to control the stress on your foot edges. This also helps control your speed. When putting your body weight on your heels or toes, you push the snowboard closer to the surface and dig it into the snow. This increases the friction force and decreases your velocity.
Look at the Direction
The basic of edge control is to get used to shifting your body weight to the directions. For instance, when you turn your head to the right, your shoulders turn right as well and the mass loads to your right foot.
This is incredibly important while making turns effectively. The key is to learn to move the whole body simultaneously with your look. Your shoulders and head should work together, and they are your steering wheel.