It’s never too late to start snowboarding. Along with skiing, this sport is quickly becoming one of the country’s most popular outdoor winter activities. You can learn proper balance and coordination while experiencing all the beauty of the natural world. However, snowboarding isn’t the same as skiing. You’ll need to get used to leaning to one side to turn on the slopes and maintaining good balance while your feet stay strapped to the board. With a little bit of practice and the right gear, like a snowboard helmet communication device, you will be well on your way to becoming an experienced snowboarder. Use these tips for beginners to start off on the right foot.
- Find the Right Board
One of the first decisions you need to make is between a rocker and camber snowboard. There are lots of different kinds of boards for you to choose from, so make sure you know which board you have and how it performs on the slopes. Camber boards flex down towards the ground near your feet and arch up between where your feet would go. Rocker boards take the opposite approach as they flex up at the tail and head of the board with the middle arching down. This creates a smooth arc that will help you initiate turns. Rocker boards tend to be better suited for beginners because they have less contact with the snow to prevent the board from catching.
You’ll also need to decide between an all-mountain, freestyle, or freeride board. All-mountain boards can be used anywhere on the mountain and tend to be good for beginners. Freestyle boards are designed for doing tricks in the park, and freeride boards are mainly used when exploring new areas. All these styles can be either rocker or camber.
- Wear a Helmet
You should always wear a helmet while snowboarding, regardless of how safe you feel. If you think you don’t need a helmet to snowboard, guess again. Around 87% of all skiers and snowboarders wore helmets during the 2020-2021 season, according to the National Ski Areas Association, setting a record for helmet usage. Wearing a helmet significantly reduces the risk of head injury, so don’t try heading out without one! Try the helmet on before using it on the mountain. It should not fall off when you turn your head or bend over. Use the adjustable strap to keep it firmly attached without making it hard to breathe. You can use a full-face helmet or a half-face helmet with goggles.
- Use a Helmet Communicator
Pair your snowboard helmet with a communication device to stay connected to your companions and your wireless device. It clips directly onto your helmet without blocking your view of the path. Just speak into the device and it will automatically connect to anyone in your party that’s in range. If you need to make a call, check the map or look at the latest weather report, keep your phone in your pocket and use the communicator to wirelessly connect to your device so you don’t have to worry about dropping your electronics in the snow.
Using an outdoor communication device will help you make the most of your time in a large group. These devices can connect to up to 15 skiers at the same time, so you can sync up whenever you are in range. Cruise down the mountain while sharing the experience with everyone on the trip. You can use it with just about any type of helmet, so you can still rent your equipment at the lodge.
- Forget What You Know About Skiing
If you try to apply what you know about skiing to snowboarding, you won’t get very far. You will have to get used to having your feet attached to one board instead of two. You can’t use your poles to stop and turn like you would on skis. Practice leaning side to side and forward and backward to control the movement of the board. You’ll also have to get used to turning your body as you look straight ahead, which means you won’t have as much peripheral vision. You can only see around 50 percent of what is in front while traveling down the slopes. Go slow at first and practice avoiding obstacles as they come. Practice building up your core strength to keep your endurance up.
- Keep Your Knees Bent
Don’t forget to bend your knees when you start moving on the board. This will help your body absorb the bumps and turns in the snow so you don’t lose your balance. Avoid bending them as far as 90 degrees. A slight bend should be enough to keep you afloat. Keep your back straight and your core tight to maintain the proper posture. You may need to adjust your stance at first as you find the optimal position for speed.
Snowboarding is a lot more fun when you have the right equipment and tips for getting around on your board. Keep these ideas in mind to have a successful first outing.
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