The 17 Most Common Snowboarding Mistakes

by Fraser

After many years of snowboarding and living in ski resorts, I’m pretty aware of the most common snowboarding mistakes.

In fact, I’ve made most of them myself. And so will you… probably. 

But perhaps we can change that. 

Many of these mistakes are simple and easy to avoid, but when left unchecked can significantly impair your progression and safety. 

Let’s take a look!

1. Not Wearing A Helmet

I know, I know. 

I can hear you sighing already. But hear me out…

Firstly, I get it. It’s nice to feel the wind in your hair. And of course a helmet won’t protect you from all impacts, especially the severe. However, they have saved many lives and prevented life-changing head injuries [source].

common snowboarding mistakes - not wearing a helmet

Plus modern snowboard helmets are lightweight, have plenty of ventilation, and are comfortable. Some even have features that enhance your riding experience, such as being audio-ready and having built-in camera mounts.

2. Not taking Lessons

A cardinal sin!

It’s super common for snowboarders to develop bad habits. These can be prevented by taking lessons early in your snowboarding career.

But it is also a good idea to take the odd lesson as you progress. Refine what you have learned and push yourself to the next level.

You can also get freestyle lessons or learn about riding in the backcountry. These advanced lessons can take you from being a competent rider to an expert one.

3. Being Out Of Shape

Very few of us can easily transition from couch potato to hardcore snowboarder. And yet that’s what most of us try to do. Build up your fitness and flexibility before hitting the slopes. 

common snowboard mistakes - being out of shape

4. Riding With Poor Posture

I often see snowboarders with poor posture. Poor posture leads to poor technique and an increased risk of injury. 

Of course, experience comes into play. But poor posture can also stem from not taking lessons or not paying attention to your instructor.

Snowboarders with poor posture often ride with straight legs or turn by counter-rotating or kicking out their back legs. Riding like this holds you back, which means you’re missing out on what’s possible on the mountain.

You should almost always be bent at the knee, with a relaxed, bouncy approach. Keep your shoulders parallel. Avoid jerky movements or kicking out that back leg. 

5. Riding Too Fast

Speed is fun and all, but you don’t progress as a rider by blasting all over the mountain without style or proper technique.

Dial the speed back from time to time and think about what you’re actually doing.

Riding slower allows you to really think about your turns. You’ll also spot fun parts of the slopes, like side hits and natural features.

6. Wearing The Wrong Stuff

Proper snowboard clothing makes a huge difference. Cheap outwear often isn’t good enough (sorry). 

The same goes for gloves. Don’t buy cheap ski gloves, especially as your hands are often in the snow when riding.

Working out what to wear on any given day can be tricky. But you’ll develop more of an instinct once you become more experienced. In the meantime, you may want to ride with a backpack to add or remove layers as necessary.

7. Choosing The Wrong Snowboard Size

This is easily one of the most common snowboarding mistakes!

For some reason, many of us feel that riding a shorter snowboard is a good idea. We’ll be spinning around and backflipping like a pro!

In reality, we’re just sacrificing stability and limiting our progression. 

Check your correct size on our snowboard sizing tool

8. Riding The Wrong Snowboard

If you ride a snowboard that doesn’t suit your ability, weight, or riding style, your progression will be severely held back.

If you are a beginner, don’t buy a snowboard with a stiff flex rating. These are suited to advanced riders and are much less forgiving. 

Some snowboarders also buy a board that is very specific, for example a pure powder snowboard. This is great in the deep stuff, but less so everywhere else.

If you only have room for one snowboard in your life, go for an all-mountain board. This is the most versatile and allows you to have fun anywhere.

9. Riding With The Wrong Stance

Setting your snowboard up incorrectly is one of the most common snowboarding mistakes.

Inexperienced or lazy riders often set their bindings up too wide, narrow, or with awkward angles.

If you’re struggling to dial in the perfect stance, ask for advice in a good snowboard shop. Alternatively, take a snowboard tool up the mountain and experiment with different stances.

If you’re just starting out, here are the best binding angles for beginners

10. Falling With Your Arms Outstretched

When you fall, which you will, never break your fall with your hands! This puts you at extremely high risk of wrist fractures. 

Instead, follow these tips for how to fall safely when snowboarding

11. Not Paying Attention

There are other people on the mountain, but some people ride as if they have the slopes to themselves.

If you’re unaware of your surroundings, you can get into a lot of trouble.

Setting off without looking up the hill is incredibly dangerous. There’s a good chance someone is blasting down, and you’re about to ride in front of them. Ouch!

Stopping in stupid places is also a common favorite (more so with certain Skiers). Never stop in the middle of the slope or below a hump.

12. Not Putting Weight On Your Front Foot

One of the most common technical snowboarding mistakes is leaning back during turns.

When it comes to turning your snowboard, it’s crucial to steer from the front. This requires shifting your weight onto your front foot.

This feels a little unnatural at first. Our instincts tell us to lean back, closer to the ground. But this simply doesn’t work!

Try instead to focus on gradually shifting your weight forward when initiating the turn. You will of course start to speed up, but you’ll then use this momentum to transition smoothly into your next turn. 

13. Not wearing Protective Gear

Protective gear can really increase your confidence (and reduce your bruise collection!). 

In addition to a helmet, consider:

14. Over-tightening Your Gear

Pain in your feet is not normal!

If you’re needing to cinch up your boots or bindings super tight, then they’re probably the wrong size. Your gear should be responsive enough without causing pain. If you’ve loosened them off and still experience pain, read this

15. Riding With A Bluetooth Speaker

I have a confession to make… I’m guilty of this one. 

But when I asked our Instagram followers, this was voted the most common snowboarding mistake!

There are some great Bluetooth speakers on the market right now. However, not everyone wants to listen to your snowboarding playlist on the mountain.

snowboarding mistakes - riding with a speaker!

If you want to listen to music while you ride, consider using headphones or an audio-ready helmet. But do so at low volume and at your own risk!

16. Riding Solo

Heading out alone is a very common snowboarding mistake for beginners. This is especially dangerous when heading off-piste. However even on groomers it’s a good idea to buddy up… at least until you’re confident.

17. Not Practicing Skating

Skating – pushing with your backfoot out of the bindings and your front foot strapped in.

This skill is essential for mounting and dismounting lifts. Failing to practice is one of the most common snowboarding mistakes!

Give it a go for 5 to 10 minutes a day. It’ll boost your balance skills and spike your confidence when approaching lift queues. 

Final Thoughts

There are plenty more common snowboarding mistakes, but these are definitely the main ones to avoid.

Doing so will make you a better rider, allow you to have more fun, stay safe, and avoid annoying other riders. 

Think I’ve missed anything?

Let me know in the comments. 

Then check out the the 7 worst snowboard carving mistakes.

Happy riding!

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