So, you’ve decided to take an innocent, bright-eyed beginner and turn them into a snow-shredding beast? Good on ya!
Question is, how do you get them up on their feet the fastest?
Well, this guide explains how to teach someone to snowboard (including insights from my many years as a snowboard instructor!)
Let’s dive into the frustrating world of teaching someone how to snowboard.
Best Way to Teach Someone to Snowboard
Teaching someone to snowboard starts with gear familiarization and basic balance. Gradually, introduce gentle slopes and simple maneuvers like side slipping and falling leaf. Encourage a centered stance, knees bent, and slight forward lean. Patience, positive reinforcement, and breaks are essential for the best learning experience!
Obviously there’s a little more to it than that though. Keep reading for for all the juicy details…
1. Prepare for the Lesson
Before diving nose-first into the snow (well, I mean, hopefully not), let’s talk prep work.
Snowboarding isn’t just sliding down a hill on a fancy plank; it’s committing to being cold, wet, and—if you’re just starting out—spending more time sitting down than standing.
But it’s a fine line.
Of course, your student is gonna want to get out on the snow and ride hard and fast as quickly as possible. So although we’re going through the basics first, it’s important to make it fun and exciting. That’s the best way to teach someone to snowboard!
Let’s start with the gear.
Grab Them Some Gear
Equip your newbie with the “armor of the snow gods”—waterproof trousers, gloves, a warm jacket, helmet, snowboard boots, and snowboard goggles.
And then there’s the snowboard.
No, teenagers can’t use their younger sibling’s and adults definitely shouldn’t try using their kids!
There’s a balance to strike here, like a bear on a unicycle.
Make sure they’ve used our snowboard sizing tool. Too long and they’ll feel like they’re steering a boat; too short and they’ll feel like the board’s going to break.
While the board doesn’t have to be perfect, and there’s some leeway, try to get an excellent fit for their height and weight. It will just make the experience a whole lot nicer.
Once they have all the clothing and basic equipment, you’re ready to hit the slopes.
2. Understand the Basics
Alright, time to hit the slopes. But before they go hitting any triple black diamonds, they need to be familiar with their board.
Point out the nose, tail, edges, and bindings.
Next up, Goofy stance or Regular?
No, we’re not talking about your friend’s stance at the bar. It’s which foot they lead with.
A super-scientific way to decide is to gently push them from behind, the foot they step forward with is likely their lead front foot. Of course, the rear foot then goes at the back of the board.
Disclaimer: Push them onto something soft, or you won’t be their friend (or snowboard instructor) for very long.
Remember, whether you teach kids or adult friends, your approach may need to vary slightly. If you need to simplify a concept, then do it. It’s all about your individual student and their understanding.
3. Start on a Flat Surface
Alright, we’re strapping in.
It’s always best to start easy and build up your student’s confidence. If you go bold and they just keep falling over, they’ll feel like a failure and won’t want to carry on.
Instead, start on a flat surface—it’s the best way to teach our baby snowboarder without them becoming a human snowball.
Have them practice standing up with one foot strapped in too. It’s trickier than a squirrel on roller skates to begin with, but keep practicing till they get the hang of it.
4. Introduce Movement
Once they’re standing on their board like they were born with it, it’s time to add movement.
Just like teaching a penguin to walk; there’ll be some hilarious wobbling at first.
Introducing “the falling leaf.” No, it’s not a yoga pose. It has them going downhill sideways, heels then toes, like a leaf falling from a tree. This helps to master control and balance.
Remember to use the bunny hill when starting out. Take your time and remind your student to enjoy the process.
5. Learn to Turn
By now, they’re probably feeling pretty cool, riding like a pro. Well, it’s about to get cooler.
Shifting weight, in turn, is the secret sauce to a successful snowboard lesson. The board turns where the lead shoulder points.
If you’re looking for how to teach snowboarding faster, you can break it down like this;
- Step 1: Posture Perfection – Teach your soon-to-be-turning-pro to bend their knees, lean slightly forward, and keep their arms spread like a majestic snow eagle. Positioning is key!
- Step 2: Toe and Heel Heroics – Unveiling the secret: turns are all about flexing those toe and heel muscles. Explain that pressuring the toes will initiate a toe-side turn, particularly of the front foot.
- Step 3: Lead The Way – Let your protégé know their leading shoulder holds the reins when turning. Instruct them to point the lead shoulder where they want to turn. Watch the magic unfold.
6. Take on the Slopes
It’s time to take the training wheels off.
So, your little snowball has finally reached that moment of truth. It’s time to let ’em hit the slopes solo-dolo!
You’ve taught them well (High five! 🖐️), now give ’em room to ride and witness the snowboard prodigy you’ve created!
First up: location!
Choose a gentle slope that doesn’t scream “call an ambulance” when you look at it. You want your buddy to get their snow groove on, not end up frantically praying to the Snow Gods, amirite?
You could do this at a ski resort, at an indoor snow center or in your city; wherever works for you! Just make sure it’s a safe place where your student can learn at their own pace.
Now, before they rocket down that hill, remind your protégé of the snowboarding commandments:
Recap the Basics!
A gentle reminder of what they’ve learned (putting their weight on the front foot, position, and SMILING 😁) never hurts. After all, you’re a “certified” snowboarding sensei now! Keep your eyes on them and remind them of the basics as needed.
Most of the learning process is simply repetition.
Stepping out on their own could make them as nervous as a snowman in summertime, so remind your buddy to BREATHE.
Blue skin isn’t the mark of a pro. Nah, it’s a sign that they need to pump those lungs!
Supporting Role: You!
Alright, they’re on the slope now, doing their thing. You can almost hear the applause!
But remember, you’re still their trusty ride-or-die snowboard mentor. Hang back, stay close, ready to swoop in if they need a lift– much like a snowboarding superhero!
7. Suggested Drills and Exercises
Alright, for your fresh-off-the-snowpad newbies, it’s training time!
To become a legit snowboarding superstar, they’ll need some primo drills and exercises.
Roll up those thermal sleeves, grab that board, and get ready to train them like a champ!
Balance is everything when it comes to snowboarding. You know that, as does your student when they’re wobbling all over the place.
Improve this critical aspect of boarding with a training exercise as simple as standing on one leg while brushing your teeth.
Afraid you’d topple over? Get a wobble board; it’s fantastic for balance training, and can even be used at home.
Jumping on a trampoline may transport you back to your boisterous childhood, but it’s also a fantastic drill for improving aerial awareness (which comes in handy when you’re mid-air).
If you and your students have access to a trampoline or want to spend a couple of hours at a trampoline park, it’s a great way to simulate that feeling of being up in the air.
Help them become familiar with being suspended, with nothingness all around them. Plus, bouncing is just plain fun!
This can be improved even further with a trampoline training board.
Skateboarding (or Surfing)
Guess what, kids? Skateboarding and snowboarding share a whole bunch of DNA. The transitions – speed control, shifting body weight, and turns – mirror each other. Sk8er kids make great shredders!
In other words, get your student a skateboard and have them practice when they’re not on the slopes. Besides, this is another great hobby to have fun with!
Surfing works too!
Like an apple, great snowboarding starts at the core. Encourage your students to hit the gym with exercises like planks or Russian twists. This will help your snow warriors strengthen their core and increase stability.
Crunch Those Quads
Snowboarding asks your lower body to step up. This can be improved with regular lunges, squats, or a few hiking trips. Whatever activity floats your boat.
This, and the other points here, all help your student strengthen the muscles needed for snowboarding. They’re great for getting those leg muscles ready for the big chill!
Plus, exercise is good for the mind, body, and soul, so remind your pupils you can’t really go wrong, no matter how much or how little you do (although more is better than less in this case!)
Not all practice is confined to the living room (or wherever your classroom is taking place).
Garland exercises help to figure out the rhythm of shifting your weight to control speed and manage turns. It’s basically drawing an upside-down rainbow (or smile) on your run!
Here’s a video you can use to either improve your own lessons, or simply send to your student to practice in their own time. It’s a little old-school, but the advice is still golden.
Snow shredding might offer an adrenaline rush, but without basic skills, it can be pretty grueling. So, gear up for these exercises before you and your student jump onto your first big mission.
Go get ’em, rookie!
8. Common Mistakes and Corrections
Now, nobody’s perfect, not even you. I know it’s hard to hear.
Truth is, just like you when you were learning (and probably still do now), your beginner’s probably going to be kissing the snow a lot. Help them up, dust them off, tell them what went wrong, and how to fix it. That’s the ticket to creating a confident rider.
Mistakes happen folks. That’s how we learn!
So, let’s dive into some common newbie mistakes and how to dodge an avalanche of errors.
The Human Snowball
Look, we all love snowballs, right? BUT, a novice spinning downhill like a freaked-out Yeti? Not so much.
This usually happens when they’re leaning back, letting fear take the steering wheel.
The Fix: Remind them to lean on their front foot, allowing them to keep stay balanced and in control.
Outta Control Speedster
Got a need for speed, eh? Well, tell ’em to chill! Most newbies let out their inner speed demon far too quickly, leading to a dramatic wipeout.
The Fix: Teach them to use turns to control their speed. A little zigzag never hurt anybody!
The Rigid Robot
Some beginners mimic the Tin Man – they forget all about lower body movements.
Stiffening up and losing fluidity will significantly reduce their movement and maneuverability.
The Fix: Remind your newbie that their body is their best friend on the board. Bending those knees and keeping those arms loose are their ticket to a smooth ride.
The Snow Kisser
Face-planting might feel like a winter-themed episode of Jackass, but trust me, it’s pretty common. Often, it’s all down to uneven weight shift.
The Fix: Guide your fledgling shredder to distribute their body weight evenly across the board. Remember, balance, as in life, is everything on the snow too!
Make sure you’ve also taught them how to fall properly when snowboarding.
How to Teach Snowboarding to Beginners
Here’s an abbreviated lesson structure for your budding boarder.
Teaching snowboarding to beginners involves patience, clear communication, and hands-on experience. Start with flat-ground balance exercises and gear orientation.
Progress to gentle slopes and teach essential moves like side slipping and falling leaf.
Encourage proper body positioning – centered weight, bent knees, and a slight forward lean.
Ensure positive reinforcement, ample practice time, and plenty of rest breaks. Remember, every learner has their own pace. Enjoy the ride!
A Sample Snowboarding Lesson Plan For Beginners
Objective: To teach beginners basic snowboarding skills, ensuring safety and confidence on the slopes.
Materials Needed: Snowboard, bindings, boots, helmet, snowboarding attire, lift pass, patience.
Introduction (15 minutes)
1. Equipment Orientation (5 mins): Explain the purpose and function of each piece of equipment. Show your student how to properly wear and adjust their gear.
2. Safety Briefing (10 mins): Discuss safety rules on the slopes. Cover basic signs, right of way rules, and fall safety.
Lesson (2 hours)
1. Basics on Flat Ground (35 mins):
- Strapping In (10 mins): Demonstrate how to strap into the board, both front and back foot. Have students practice this several times.
- Basic Balance (20 mins): Teach students how to stand up on a snowboard and balance. Emphasize the importance of keeping their knees slightly bent and their weight centered over the board.
- Skating (5 mins): This is a crucial beginner’s skill, often used for getting to the lift line or navigating flat areas on the slope.The technique of moving on flat terrain or small inclines. One foot is strapped into the board while the other pushes off the ground.
2. Sliding and Stopping on Gentle Slope (45 mins):
- Side Slip (20 mins): Teach the students how to side slip. This involves sliding down the hill with the board perpendicular to the slope and using the edge of the board to control speed.
- Falling Leaf (25 mins): Teach students the falling leaf technique, moving from side to side down the slope.
3. Turning and Carving (45 mins):
- Basic Turns (20 mins): Begin with teaching your student to make gentle turns by shifting their weight from the front to the back foot.
- Linking Turns (25 mins): Once they are comfortable with basic turns, teach them how to link turns together, forming a continuous ‘S’ shape down the slope.
Wrap-up (15 minutes)
Question and Answer (5 mins): Allow your student to ask any questions they might have about the day’s lesson.
Review (10 mins): Recap the techniques learned and give individual feedback.
1. Practice: Encourage your students to practice the techniques learned before the next lesson.
2. Preparation for Next Lesson: Inform students that the next lesson will cover steeper slopes and refining turning techniques.
*Remember, this is a sample lesson plan and should be tailored to the specific needs and progress pace of your students. The key is ensuring each student feels safe, confident, and stoked about snowboarding.
Well, my friends, it turns out turning a snow newbie into a snowboarding pro isn’t as tough as it sounds.
Keep the important bits in mind, remember patience is the key, and most importantly, have fun.
That’s all there really is to know when it comes to how to teach someone to snowboard.