10 Practical Tips on How to Get Better at Snowboarding
Surely most people tend to get better at something they like to do. In this article, I’m going to share 10 tips on how to get better at snowboarding. Some of these you may already have tried out but never even think about it in this way.
1. Get a lesson with an instructor
Many people learn how to snowboard on their own or with the help of their friends, and over time they develop some kind of riding habit. Some of these habits are good and useful, while others may cause people to struggle and even quit snowboarding.
If you are a beginner or willing to become a snowboarder, the best way to start without a doubt is to get an instructor. An instructor will teach you all the basic stuff you need to know and will make your life so much easier and pleasant. Also, the instructor will teach you all about safety which is as important as riding skills.
In case if you’re not a beginner but consider yourself a progressing rider and have never used instructor services, consider taking one, and here’s why.
- point out all of your riding mistakes and ‘bad’ habits;
- will give you exercises to improve riding;
- can teach you freestyle tricks;
- finally, the instructor will answer your questions about snowboarding that’s been bothering you for a while.
Instructor services can be rather pricey, but they are worth it every single cent.
2. Try different terrain
Usually, when snowboarding, people choose slopes and trails they feel most comfortable at. Changing riding terrain once in a while can improve your riding skills a lot. By riding on a different terrain you’re learning to adapt to terrain conditions, your mind and body are highly focused. Also changing your riding habits do you good, and you can look at some things from a new perspective.
If you mostly doing prepared slopes (groomers), try riding powder, if you’re riding blue slopes, try red ones, if you’re riding steady/even slopes, try riding humps. By riding various terrain you’re practice using more of your board edges, body muscles, weight distribution, balance, pressure on the board.
This is why snowboarding is so unique, you have almost unlimited opportunities. And when you try different terrain you’ll definitely find something fun, and may actually change your views on riding.
3. Try different snow conditions
Riding on a soft, freshly groomed slope on a sunny day is awesome. It’s easy to control the edges, as a result, it’s easier to make turns and stop.
To improve your snowboard skills and to better understand how your body and the board behaves, try to ride in as many snow conditions as possible. I’m saying:
- crud and crust.
Knowing how to ride all of the different snow conditions will make you a versatile snowboarder. You’ll be prepared for all the different snow conditions, this is especially important if the winter season in your region is short and the weather is changing often.
4. Try different riding styles/Try different stance
If you’ve been riding for a while, you probably have some riding habits developed. One of them is your stance. This is the position you’re most comfortable at while riding.
Every riding style has its own traits and stance. Stance can be changed by adjusting your bindings, and sometimes you can change your stance simply by changing your position on the snowboard.
There are literally tons of guides on the internet on how to adjust snowboard bindings, I find these the most helpful:
- What snowboard binding angles should I use by Snowboarding Profiles;
- How to set up your snowboard bindings by Whitelines;
- How to set up a snowboard by Tactics.
Here are nice explanation videos about how to adjust your bindings:
Try and change your binding setup, you can do it right on the mountain and test a new stance right away. Or you can do it at home and just strap in and try how it feels in a more safe environment.
Either way when actually riding with a different stance your body will adapt to new conditions and will build up muscle memory. Sometimes small tweaks and adjustments make a huge difference.
You may actually find out that by simply changing the binding setup, you can enhance your snowboard experience. You may feel more comfortable and balanced, your pain in the feet and legs may disappear, you may finally dial that trick you’ve been struggling with for so long.
Change body position
Every instructor and every video tutorial will tell you about the basic stance or balanced body position on a snowboard. And that is correct, you should be stable and balanced, otherwise, you’ll fall. But to ride different terrain and in different snow conditions, you’ll need to learn how to adapt to conditions and thus adjusting your stance on the go. Here’s an awesome video that’ll sort things out for you:
In general, the best way is to just go out and try it, see how your board will respond. Also if you’re willing to try a new riding style like carving you’ll need to learn the way how to position yourself on a snowboard. The same as with the binding setup, simply properly positioning your body may do wonders for your riding experience.
5. Try riding switch
Without a doubt, riding switch is a must for a good snowboarder. The main idea is to:
“you need to put yourself out of your comfort zone, to expand your comfort zone”
There are some situations where it may come in handy, one of the most common is lifts. Surely there have been situations on the lift where you thought that it would be better to take a lift in a switch stance.
If you plan to do a lot of freestyle, you need to ride switch as you ride regularly. So many tricks involve switch riding skills.
Learn how to ride switch as fast as possible, this will improve your regular riding skills as well. You can start by riding switch on easy, mellow runs. Then you can try to alternate runs, one run switch, one run regular. The ultimate accomplishment is to spend all day in a switch stance.
6. Ride with different people
Not only it can be fun riding together with someone, but you can actually benefit from it. Riding with different people, preferably with someone better than you will boost your snowboard riding skills and confidence.
Since you’ll be riding together at some point your lift talk will be about riding, this is the time to ask for feedback and advice. Sometimes a small tip can make a huge difference.
People tend to copy other people’s behavior, so is in snowboarding, you can copy and learn from different people. Riders are pushing each other to perform better, just take a look at the competitions. Competitions are pushing snowboarding to a whole new level and continue doing that.
7. Film your riding
This point is tightly connected to a previous one. If you have the opportunity to ride in the company of your friends or family, ask them to film you. Watching how you ride from an observer’s perspective will let you know what kind of mistakes or flaws you have. The video material will give you a picture of what your riding skills are.
The benefit is that you can make an instant review of your riding if you were filmed on a smartphone or any other camera that has a preview option. If you’re filming on a GoPro or alike, you’ll have to wait until you get home, duh.
If you have a lesson with an instructor you can ask him/her to film you on your smartphone and afterward, you can discuss this part in detail, which is even better.
8. Try different snowboards
As you may already know there are different types of snowboards designed for different purposes. Try switching a snowboard with your friend and take a few laps. You’ll feel kind of funny at first, then you’ll get used to it, and then you’ll feel funny again when strapped back into your own snowboard.
The main idea here is to get the feeling of how the snowboard behaves under you, feel the edges, pressure that you apply, flex of the snowboard, stance, and bindings (if different than yours). In general, you’ll widen the horizon and become a better overall rider.
Actually, this is a common exercise snowboard instructors use for group lessons.
9. Make a routine
Practice makes perfect. This is especially effective when learning new skills. Also good to keep your overall skills in shape. Think of a skill or trick you want to learn or improve and make up a routine. It can be simple exercises on a gentle slope where you feel safe and confident. Or it can be a trick in a park that you can repeat several times before you move one.
This tip goes very well with filming. You can film several of your runs and compare them to see if there’s any change.
10. Train in the offseason
The last one can be not as fun as the previous ones but can make a huge impact on your overall skills. Training in the offseason will keep you in good physical condition, so the start of the new season can be mellow and smooth.
But by doing only physical exercises, you won’t improve your riding skills. Of course, it’s important to be in good physical shape if you want to achieve greater results. There are however a few ways that can help you to improve and maintain certain skills in shape.
One of them is to find an alternative sport to snowboarding. It can be wakeboarding, skateboarding, surfing, or whatever board sport that you like or is available to you. Body position and movements are very similar to snowboarding. This will help you to maintain your balancing skills and grow muscle memory.
You can actually extend your season by actually snowboarding in the offseason. There are ways how to snowboard in the summer as well:
- On glaciers;
- In indoor halls;
- On dry slopes;
- Travel to the opposite hemisphere.
Another way to maintain and improve your snowboard skills in the offseason is to train on a balance board. As the name states, a balance board is a special device that helps you train balance. But you can do more than just train balance, although this is a very crucial skill for snowboarders.
You can train and improve countless freestyle tricks, physical exercises like mentioned before, body position, and stance. Please check my article on types of balance boards to get a better understand of what they are.
All in all, there’s no magic recipe for how to get better at snowboarding. It is a combination of various factors. My main advice to you is to stay patient, focused, and consistent. In time you’ll the results, for some however it may take longer, we are all different.
If you feel like you’re struggling, not progressing, and feel down about it, it’s a good idea to take a short break. You can watch snowboard videos for inspiration and just to relax. Check out my list of the best snowboarding YouTube channels to find awesome snowboard videos.