According to Forbes, In 2020–21, participation increased once more to 10.5 million, with more than 1 million of those being novice skiers and riders. So at least you are not alone here.
Your first time snowboarding can be pretty daunting, and this is understandable. You're about to go up a mountain in the cold to work out how to slide down it without prior knowledge or control. To add to the stress, there are people everywhere, traveling at high speeds.
With all this in mind, it's easy to see why many snowboarders don't get beyond the bunny slope phase. But, with a little bit of knowledge, before you head to the lifts, you can ease into your first time snowboarding with much less stress. It's supposed to be fun, after all.
So in this article, we'll give you some top tips for your first-time snowboarding.
Table of content1. It's All About The Layers 2. Wear Sunscreen 3. Get Some Decent Gloves And Pants 4. Rent Your Equipment 5. Are You Regular Or Goofy? 6. Wear A Helmet 7. Know The Rules Of The Mountain 8. Wear Goggles Final Thoughts
1. It's All About The Layers
People who have never been to a ski resort tend to dwell on how cold they are. Of course, it has to be cold for it to snow, but wearing too many layers will make you incredibly hot, leaving you in a sweaty heap after your first run. Don't forget that you'll be working hard, especially as a beginner snowboarder.
It's best to start with a quality base layer made from merino wool or a synthetic material. These materials wick moisture away from your skin and dry quickly, keeping you comfortable.
On top of this, you can wear a thin sweater or put it in a backpack in case it gets colder. Your outer layer should be waterproof, breathable, and not too insulated unless you're riding in arctic conditions.
2. Wear Sunscreen
You may think wearing sunscreen in a snowy place is odd. But the sun reflects off the snow, intensifying its effects. The only part of your body exposed to the sun while snowboarding should be the lower half of your face unless you wear a face mask.
At the end of the day, when you remove your helmet and goggles, your face will be bright red if you don't wear sunscreen, giving you panda eyes. This is painful and embarrassing. You'll look pretty silly in the après bar, and your goggle sunburn will be immortalized in your vacation photos as a reminder.
3. Get Some Decent Gloves And Pants
Don't spend all your money on your jacket; save some cash for quality gloves and pants. This is because you'll spend lots of time rolling around in the snow. If you buy cheap gloves and pants, they will absorb water, leaving you soaking wet. Water and cold temperatures are not a good mix, making you cold, uncomfortable, and miserable.
Your outer layer and gloves should have at least 10k waterproofing. Anything less than 10k will let water in, and you'll want to get off the mountain as soon as you can.
4. Rent Your Equipment
Before heading to the resort, you may wonder what equipment you will use. You may have it in your head that you're going to love snowboarding and want your own gear. As great as this sounds, it's not the best course of action.
If you buy snowboard equipment best suited to beginners, you'll outgrow it quickly. On the other hand, if you buy equipment too advanced for you, you'll struggle to learn the techniques.
The other issue with buying is that you won't know what kind of snowboarding you want to do at this early stage. So it's best to get some experience and buy a snowboard that suits your riding style.
Rental snowboard equipment isn't like it used to be. These days you can rent excellent stuff that's been well maintained. Often, rental equipment is a couple of years old, but good snowboard shops will rent you the current season's boots, boards, and bindings. This will give you an idea of what to buy next year when you've developed some skills.
If you're desperate to buy some snowboarding equipment, splash out on some boots. These are always the first thing you should buy, as you choose your board and bindings to suit them. Buy your boots from a proper snowboard shop.
They will help you choose the right ones and get them to fit you correctly. But remember to choose your boots on how they fit and feel rather than how they look.
5. Are You Regular Or Goofy?
When you go to the rental place, the tech will ask you if you're regular or goofy. These are the terms used for which stance you ride in. Goofy riders lead with their right foot and regular snowboarders with their left.
This is a difficult question to answer if you've never been snowboarding before. It may take a couple of runs to figure this out, but there are a few techniques people use to make an informed decision that will get you started.
For example, you can stand on a skateboard. This isn't 100% accurate, but most skaters snowboard with the same stance. Another test is to think about which foot you would lead with in certain situations.
Such as which foot do you put into your jeans first? If you were to rush through a door, which shoulder would you lead with? What is your leading foot when you start a running race?
6. Wear A Helmet
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Every snowboarder should wear a helmet, regardless of their ability or experience. Helmets protect your head from impacts that could cause life-changing injuries.
Your snowboard helmet should fit properly and be comfortable. Your goggles should not interfere with your helmet, but there shouldn't be a gap exposing your forehead. If your forehead is exposed, you will get a bright red line across it, which is more embarrassing than the panda eyes sunburn.
It is best to buy one that is ASTM certified, as these helmets are made to a minimum safety standard. A great example of an ATSM-certified snow helmet is the Outdoor Master Kelvin. This is well-ventilated to keep you comfortable, and its adjustability allows you to fine-tune its fit.
You should check out the Outdoor Master Diamon Helmet if you want more protection. This has MIPS, which is a system that reduces the rotational forces of a crash, protecting your head and neck. It is incredibly comfortable, thanks to its ventilation and padding. You can even tuck headphones into the earpads to you can listen to your favorite tunes while you shred.
7. Know The Rules Of The Mountain
Even though the mountain may look like a lawless place to a novice snowboarder, there are many rules associated with skiing and snowboarding. They are there to keep us safe, and you need to learn them, which will take some time, but most of them are common sense.
The first rule you need to know is that anyone down the slope has the right of way. If you crash into a skier or snowboarder below you, it's your fault, no matter the situation.
So this means you have the right of way over anyone above you. However, it's best to be vigilant and try to ride predictably, as nobody is a mind reader. If you're going to carve across the slope, check behind you first as if you were setting off in your car.
Related Reading: Ski Trail Signs 101: Everything You Need to Know
8. Wear Goggles
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Protecting your eyes is essential when you're snowboarding. You have the choice of wearing sunglasses or goggles. Sunglasses are OK in some situations, but they are fragile and don't protect your eyes from the wind when you start to ride faster.
A good pair of snowboard goggles is a much better option. They provide superior coverage and protection. But if you get quality goggles, they also enhance your vision.
For example, the Outdoor Master Ultra has outstanding lens technology that optimizes color and provides HD optics. The lens filters out some of the blue light that enters your eyes, improving contrast and color brightness. This means you can see clearly and spot imperfections in the snow to avoid hazards.
Alternatively, you may want to check out the Outdoor Master PRO XM Snow Goggles. These have a magnetic interchangeable lens system, so you can change the lens for one that suits the light conditions in an instant. The lens stays clear, thanks to the anti-fog coating, and the shape follows the curve of your eye for maximum clarity.
With these lenses, you don't need to worry about the sun's effects on your eyes, as they have 100% UV400 protection, so you can concentrate on perfecting your snowboarding. They will also last a long time, as they are impact and scratch-resistant, extending their lifespan.
In addition to this, the Pro XM lens has Polarized Technology, which significantly reduces glare and boosts contrast and natural color, so you can pick out the finest details in the snow.
Related Reading: How To Pick Ski Goggles | 18 Things You Need To Look For
These are just a few tips, but they will give you a good head start for your first time snowboarding. The main things you need to take away from this is to make sure you are comfortable and protected. If you do this, you will have more fun and be able to ride more, which is what every snowboarder wants.