Learn to Ride is an instructional video from Snowboard Addiction. It’s aimed at first time snowboarders and starts from the absolute beginning. The tuition should get you linking turns, and beyond that, there’re some great challenges to stretch and add fun to a beginner’s riding. Definitely recommended.
The Learn to Ride program runs for 47 minutes and is split into 7 sections:
- Inside movement
- On snow movement
- Riding downhill
- Riding across the slope
- Linking turns
- Switch riding
The video is available either as a download or on DVD. If you opt for the cheaper, download option, you’ll find it’s set up ready to go straight on your iPod, very handy. Here’s the SA overview:
Why is it good?
One of the key strengths of this Learn to Ride program is the coaching coverage. The guidance and instruction for beginners is very thorough. Given that beginners often have many questions about how things work and how they’re done, this is a big plus. Getting strapped in, skating around, the waddle, getting on and off chairs… it’s all stuff that’s difficult and unknown for beginners.
Not only is the coverage good – the detail and presentation of the coaching is excellent. Snowboard Addiction use graphic overalls and split views to aid understanding; they reiterate important points and generally do a good job of explaining things. This crystal clear communication is necessary for video tuition, as it’s entirely one way, you can’t ask questions back. You need to understand what to work on, and why. They succeed at this.
These lessons include inside movements, things to try indoors, or away from the slopes. This is good for two reasons: 1) the exercises are designed to improve your ability, to prepare you for the slopes and start the process of learning to snowboard. 2) It gives beginners something to try before they get to the slopes. At the start, everything is so exciting and you can’t wait to get their and try it; so having something constructive to do before you get there is great.
A good route to linked turns. As a beginner, getting to linked turns is often achieved by piecing together the components of a turn that you’ve learned in isolation. I like the path that Snowboard Addiction use to get there – each step builds nicely on the last. I particularly like the analogy of controlling your front leg as if it were a joystick; it’s an effective way to think about how you should apply pressure and edging.
There’s also good coaching for progressing from linked turns to carving. Snowboard Addiction show something they call flowing turns – a useful technique to improve your early linked turns as you start to take more speed. This then leads onto carving. This isn’t the primary focus of the lesson, so there isn’t a lot of detail here, but it is good stuff.
Throughout the tuition there is a constant emphasis on movements and exercises that make you more comfortable on the board, improve your balance and generally improve your board control. Fun stuff. Just try it stuff. It’s not just the rigid mechanics of the turn. This approach really lays the foundations for confident riding, and freestyle riding.
The challenge section adds depth to the program. Switch riding, ollies, nollies, butters and more. These are all things that are useful and fun for the progressive beginner to work on. The switch tips are good, especially the use of Ribbon Turns, the ollie demonstration is very clear too. And frankly, they add a bit more value for money; it’s extra stuff that they help you to learn.
Regular or goofy. Being able to watch the lesson in either regular or goofy is a bonus, it means you don’t have to imagine everything happening the other way around in your head. Also on the format side, download is a convenient way to access the product, and putting it onto your iPhone/iPod/laptop makes it very portable. As you sit down for lunch you can check “how was I supposed to seek the fall line again?”
Any bad bits?
I don’t think there are any bad parts to the coaching. Here are some minor comments:
- They don’t show how to use a drag lift, it’s chair lifts only 🙂
- The inside movements require you to have snowboard equipment, which may not be the case for some beginners if you’re renting. That said, they are still useful exercises that can be worked on in resort, once you have the rental equipment and the lifts are closed. Just don’t smash up the hotel/chalet.
Is it worth the money?
The Learn to Ride program costs $29, or around £20; that’s for the download. Like other coaching material from Snowboard Addiction, I think the quality is very high. Instructional material is a great way for beginners to get excited and pick up all the pointers you need for learning to snowboard.
These lessons will certainly supplement lessons on the hill. I wouldn’t like to say outright that any video instruction can replace good, face to face, on-hill tuition. I will say though that when you book a lesson, you don’t always know that the quality will be high. The Learn to Ride program on the other hand, is excellent. And if the program doesn’t remove the need for lessons all together, it will certainly help to reduce the number you’ll need.
And compared with the cost of snowboard lessons – Learn to Ride is cheap.
What’s more, the Learn to Ride program comes with a free video on Board Setup – another area that can be confusing and worrying for beginners. From Snowboard Addiction:
This vid covers the ins and outs of getting your equipment ready to hit the slopes. We briefly cover choosing the right board, boots, and bindings for your riding style and show you how to set it all up for maximum shredability.
Is it worth the money? My opinion: yes.
*Update: I’ve set it up with the guys from SA to give a 10% discout code for afterbang readers. Use the code “afterbang” to get 10% off any of their products. Awesome.
Snowboard Addiction have made a great Learn to Ride program. For first time snowboarders and those still on their way to linked turns, I’d definitely recommend it. It will put you in good stead for your early days on the hill, giving you all the tools you need to get linking turns, and more.