Trying something new is always intimidating.
But when it involves hurtling downhill on a wooden plank… the fear factor turns up a notch!
To make life a little easier, I’ve written you an essential guide to snowboarding for the first time.
You’ll be a pro in no time…
Tips For Snowboarding For The First Time
Before snowboarding for the first time, you’ll have a lot of questions.
I certainly did!
Luckily we’re here to help…
I put together a list of everything you need to know before snowboarding. If you still have any questions at the end… drop me a message.
#1 Get the Snowboarding Essentials
Snowboarding requires gear.
Lots of gear.
Some of it keeps you warm, some of it keeps you safe, but all of it helps.
Let’s start with clothing.
Most people hitting the slopes for the first time wear the thickest layers possible to keep out the cold.
I see your logic.
However, snowboarding is actually a very physical exercise, and what happens when you exercise? You sweat!
Pretty soon that sweat is going to start drying… making you freezing cold!
The trick is to get thermal clothing that is lightweight, waterproof, and not made of cotton.
Multiple thinner layers work best – you can add or remove as needed.
Here are the clothing essentials to tick off before you go:
- Polarised goggles
- Good quality gloves (as a beginner, you’ll be picking yourself up out of the snow a lot).
- Good quality pants – with a minimum of 10K waterproofing. No one wants a wet bum!
- A good quality wind and waterproof jacket with internal pockets.
- Crash pants – read my review of the Rippl impact shorts.
- Snowboard boots (These can be hired).
- Snowboard (not technically clothing, but you still need one. Otherwise, you’re just falling down a hill.
For more info, here’s my dedicated article on what wear on your first time snowboarding.
Pro Tip: If you aren’t going to make snowboarding a regular hobby, don’t spend too much on your gear. Consider renting or borrowing when you first start out.
#2 Hiring Equipment As A First Time Snowboarder
To hire or not to hire, that is the question!
Of the gear we mentioned earlier, the good news is that you actually can hire most of it.
How much you hire is up to you.
Some of the gear that you could buy such as gloves and pants will have uses in other situations.
Whereas if you’re not going to commit to snowboarding, hiring your board and boots are the way to go. This will save you both money and storage space.
Before you arrive at your ski resort of choice, do some research. Choose a well rated, well-priced store with good customer service.
#3 Get Off On The Right Foot
Work out whether you’re regular or goofy-footed.
This is just which foot you prefer to have forward while riding.
Left foot forward is regular, right foot forward is goofy.
If you don’t know, there’s a simple way to figure out…
Imagine you’re the hero in an action movie. The villain has appeared around a corner to fight you. Jump into your ready-to-fight stance!
Whichever foot goes forward will tell you whether you’re a regular or goofy snowboarder.
Be sure to tell the snowboard rental company so they can correctly set up your board for you.
#4 Buy Your Lift Passes Online
Now that you’re kitted out, there are a few extra things you’ll need.
Ski lifts are a necessary evil in the snowboarding world. Without them, you’d be faced with a very long walk!
To use the lifts and even visit most resorts, you’ll need a lift pass. Try to book these in advance if you can – this saves a bunch of money.
You’ll also avoid standing in the long-ass ticket queues. The last thing you need when snowboarding for the first time!
#5 Learn To Snowboard Online
You’re one step ahead already… you found this site!
Even when not on the slopes, you can brush up on your knowledge and skills. This is like a free bonus snowboard lesson. You’ll then put what you’ve learned into action when you next strap in!
Jump to our learning to snowboard section here.
#6 Invest In Some Snowboard lessons
Ok, you’ve got your gear, you’ve booked your passes, now you’re to go right?
Not just yet!
One of the best things that you can do is to get the advice of a pro. Even a few hours can be invaluable.
Bad habits are easy to pick up and hard to shake off!
Lessons will teach you how to slow down, how to fall safely, and the rules of the road – like that goofy riders tend to exit the lift to the left and regulars to the right.
Due to popular demand, I wrote a separate article about how many snowboard lessons you need.
#7 Take It Easy!
You’ve had a few lessons and you’re starting to go it alone. Take your time.
Snowboarding is an extreme sport after all, which means there’s a degree of danger involved.
It’s important that you don’t get too carried away too soon. Few things ruin a trip quite like an injury.
Don’t fight gravity, let yourself get some speed, keep an eye out for those around you and remember that the point will almost always go where you’re pointing it.
If you feel like you’re falling behind, read how long it takes to learn to snowboard. You’re probably doing just fine!
How To Choose A Snowboard
I could talk about this all day long!
The short answer – most beginner to intermediate boards are perfectly fine for most riders.
Avoid getting too bogged down with the technical talk and finer details.
Choosing one of these award-winning all-mountain snowboards is a very good place to start.
How To Choose A Snowboard Size
This is much more important than snowboard choice!
An incorrectly sized snowboard will massively delay your progression.
Head to my guide to beginner snowboard sizes to work out your perfect size range!
That’s all for now.
If you have any other questions, check out the rest of the site. If you still can’t find the answer, drop me a message.
Remember… Snowboarding for the first time should be fun!
Don’t worry too much about the finer details. Just be safe, enjoy yourself and you’ll be shredding like a pro in no time.
FAQs For First Time Snowboarders
I won’t lie to you, it can be!
However, if you’re determined and up for the challenge then you’ll be just fine.
The flatter ones! These will either be described as the bunny slopes or the green slopes. Take your time on these before progressing to steeper climes.
Snowboarding is an extreme sport and therefore comes with some risk. This can be managed by ensuring you’re well prepared and riding within your capabilities.
As to whether it’s more dangerous than skiing I’ve answered this in detail here.
The learning curve can be as steep as the slopes you’re riding. However, even whilst learning you’ll have an incredible time.
Many riders find that their first few seasons are some of the best of their snowboarding career.