Trying something new is always intimidating.
But when it involves hurtling down a hill at high speed on a piece of plastic-coated wood… the fear factor is understandably turned up a notch.
That’s why I crafted the essential guide to snowboarding for the first time.
You’ll be a snowboarding pro in no time!
Tips For Snowboarding For The First Time.
Before snowboarding for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions.
Luckily we’re here to help.
One thing is for sure, snowboarding is awesome and you’re going to have the time of your life!
To help you get ready to hit the slopes, I’ve put together a list of everything you need to know before snowboarding. If you still have any questions at the end… simply drop me a message or browse the site.
1. Get the Snowboarding Essentials.
You’ve probably figured this out already, but you need a few bits of gear before you go snowboarding.
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 layer up as much as possible to keep out the cold.
This is a good idea if you’re just going for a walk in the snow. However, snowboarding is actually very physical exercise, and what happens when you exercise? You sweat!
Pretty soon when you take a break, that sweat is going to start drying.. making you pretty cold!
The trick is therefore to get thermal clothing that is lightweight, waterproof, and not made of cotton.
Here are the clothing essentials to tick off before you go:
- Polarised goggles
- Good quality gloves (you’re 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.
- Clip-in 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. Avoid buying poor-quality stuff – that will ruin your trip – but if you aren’t going regularly, you don’t need to fork over all of your hard-earned cash.
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 slope or ski resort of choice do some research and see which hire places are available. Get your gear in store as it makes it easier to have someone to help.
3. Get Off On The Right Foot.
One important thing that you’ll need to understand is whether you’re regular or goofy-footed. This isn’t a trick question but instead determines what foot faces forward when you’re on your snowboard.
Left foot forward is regular and right foot forward is goofy.
If you don’t know your footing, there is a simple way to figure this out.
Imagine you’re the hero in an action movie and the villain has jumped 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 the result so they can set up your board for you.
4. Buy Your Lift Passes Online.
Now that you’re kitted out, there are a few things that you need to organise as part of your trip.
Ski lifts are a necessary evil in the snowboarding world. Without them, you’d be faced with many a long walk up the hill you’ve just shredded down!
To use the lifts and even visit most resorts, you’ll need a lift pass. To save a bit of money, try to book these in advance if you can.
This will also save you standing in long-ass ticket queues. That’s 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 you’re not on the slopes, you can brush up on your knowledge and skills. This is like a free bonus snowboard lesson. You can 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 and help you avoid common mistakes.
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.
Another thing they will teach is that downhill have right of way. So if you’re coming down the slope towards someone, don’t expect them to move – it’s up to you!
Due to popular demand, I wrote another article to help you find out how many snowboard lessons you need.
7. Take It Easy!
You’ve had a few lessons and you’re starting to go it alone, but it’s important to take your time.
Snowboarding is an extreme sport after all, which means there’s a certain 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!
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 always ride 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.
That’s all for now.
If you have any more questions, check out the rest of the site. If you still can’t find the answer then drop me a message.
Always remember that 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.