Do you ever watch pro snowboarders and think “wow, how did they get so good?” It’s a good question. No doubt the best riders out there start with an aptitude for snowboarding, a fair amount of natural ability, but they also put in a lot of hard work; a lot of time on the board. How much time? How long does it take to get good at snowboarding?
The 10,000-Hour Rule
There’s a guy called Malcolm Gladwell, a writer and speaker covering subjects related to the social sciences. In one of his books, Gladwell mentions something called the “10,000-Hour Rule”. Simply put, the 10,000-Hour Rule suggests that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become really good at something. Research shows that this time-frame crops up in a variety of different fields/disciplines; it’s a reliable measure.
If you want to know a little more about this, you can follow that wikipedia link above, watch the short video below, or maybe even read his book, Outliers?
Does that apply to snowboarding?
Let’s look at an example of snowboarding through a winter season. It doesn’t matter so much if this calculation is out; you may have a different view of how much riding can be done…
- Ride from mid-December to mid-April
- Approximately 16 weeks
- Let’s say 6 days a week
- And 6 hours per day
- Total = 576 hours
That would be a pretty focused winter – probably hard to maintain? How about we just settle on 500 hours for a winter season?
Another example – year ’round riding in somewhere like the UK. Indoor snow slopes and outdoor dry-slopes?
- Do 1 session per week
- For 50 weeks of the year?
- At 4 hours per session…
- 200 hours per year
- Double that to two sessions per week – 400 hours per year
Again, that schedule might be hard to maintain, but a snowboarder looking to ride once or twice, every week, could be looking at something between 200 and 400 hours. You could also consider that a lot of boarders have professional EMR training from the likes of C2C for when they’re out on the slopes. Due to the environment, it’s often difficult to get medical aid up the slopes so if you’re trained to handle it yourself, it could prove vital.
There’s still a long way to go before reaching 10,000 hours…
What about the top pros?
I wonder how long someone like Travis Rice has spent on a snowboard? Or Nicolas Müller? Torstein, Terje, Todd Richards, Jenny Jones, Jamie Nicholls…?
Maybe they haven’t all hit 10,000 hours – but some of them will have. Some might be well past that number?
Just how many hours can a pro-shred ride during a year?
Bottom line: time on the board counts
Putting the numbers to one side, it’s difficult to argue that time on the board, practice, they make you a better snowboarder. Do enough of it, and you’ll be a good snowboarder…
What’s good to you? What constitutes a lot of practice, a lot of time on the board? Being good? After all, snowboarding is personal to every rider out there.
Some of you might be looking to win competitions, to get sponsorship. Others may be aiming at becoming an instructor. A lot of riders will have targets like ‘getting better in the park’, or ‘nailing switch’. Maybe you want to ride awesome powder – or put together some footage that you’re stoked with.
10,00 hours? Two or three season? A few weeks in the mountains every winter – or how about a handful more sessions at the snowdome? How long do you think it takes to get good at snowboarding?