The big lie about snowboarding is that it’s easier than skiing.
There’s a steep learning curve in beginning snowboarding. Unlike yoga or weight-lifting, you can’t just change your mind and stop the pose or drop the weight. Or even if you were out for a long run, you can always walk.
But with snowboarding? Nope – you have to get down that damn mountain.
And you’ll biff it – you’ll land on your butt, you’ll face-plant, you’ll slide out of control and run into trees or people. Luckily, I haven’t run over anyone, but it’s painfully exhausting.
So here’s how I keep myself from going insane – or at least, keep going back – on the slopes.
1. The bunny hill is your friend
Just because you’ve gone on the bunny hill a couple times doesn’t mean you’re good enough for the bigger runs. I mean, you can try, but there will be a BILLION people zooming by you and you will freak out and you might almost run into someone.
Believe me, it’s worth going on the bunny hill to practice. Practice long, wide turns. Practice transitioning from toe-edge to heel-edge. It’s not the best snow – even as a beginner, I recognize the delights of pure powder – but it’s good enough. I’ve gotten so much better at turning and maintaining control of my snowboard thanks to the bunny hill.
Besides, it’s short enough that your mountain-sized panic attack doesn’t last as long.
2. Watch YouTube videos – or hire a teacher
I’ve linked to this guy before and I’ll do it again. This guy’s tips for beginners are solid gold. It’s easier to internalize the tips when you’re actually out on the slopes and not in a cozy bed watching videos on surviving flat and narrow runs (my latest vice). I’ve learned how to do toe-edge from this guy and learned how to turn. Austin’s helped too, which is nice.
If watching YouTube videos are not your thing and you have cash to spare, it’s absolutely worth investing in a teacher. I once was riding a lift and saw a teacher and student work on turning. The teacher said, “I know, your body keeps saying, ‘Nope, I don’t want to do this,’ but you keep working on it.” I took what he said for myself and it’s been comforting.
Teachers are very, VERY encouraging and understand the beginner’s perspective, which is surprisingly easy to forget once you start improving.
3. Know when to quit
Sometimes you work through exhaustion. And sometimes you just call it a day.
I realize that I am very lucky to be able to afford a season pass so I can go snowboarding more often than I ever have. Even so, I have to acknowledge, “Wow, I just started crying after getting off the lift, maybe this will be my last run.”
I’ll be able to come back, so it’s easier for me to know when to stop. However, last year when I could only afford to go snowboarding twice, I would stop in the lodge at the resort and just hang out until I felt ready to go again.
4. Rest up and try again
Sleep, man. Take breaks. Try to eat healthy snacks you brought yourself because those resort cafes are hella expensive.
Once you feel rested enough, get back out there and try again.