Snowboarding is perhaps one of the craziest sports in the world. Combine cold mountains with complex movements at high speeds, and you get a recipe for total disaster.
But once you get the hang of it, snowboarding can be highly addictive. While you can’t expect things to go smoothly on your first try, avoiding these mistakes will give you a decent start.
Not being physically fit
Many people think snowboarding is just gliding down a slope. But in reality, it’s tougher than it looks. Strength and endurance are needed to stop, turn, balance, and shift weight effectively.
Proper conditioning is essential to prepare your muscles and joints for complex movements. Perform aerobic exercises such as biking or jogging and practice yoga to enhance your flexibility, strength, and balance. You’ll also need ample training to prevent injuries and muscle strain.
Wearing the wrong clothes
The right snowboarding clothing should be able to keep you dry, warm, and cozy. Wearing too much or too little can leave you feeling stiff and hinder you from moving or turning correctly. Don’t forget to check the weather report before you head out.
While you should be dressed for severe weather, expect to feel warm on the first couple of days, since your body is still adjusting to the different movements. Make sure to have a base layer to keep you dry, a mid-layer to trap heat, and an outer layer to keep out moisture. Putting on too many layers may cause you to sweat quickly.
However, dressing in layers is not enough. The quality of your garments matter, too. Here’s a quick checklist on what to wear:
- Long underwear — It absorbs sweat off your skin and keeps you warm. The best kinds are made of silk, wool, and synthetic.
- Light fleece or wool top — It is best worn under your jacket for extra warmth.
- Jacket — Pick a jacket that’s insulated, waterproof, or water-resistant.
- Pants (or bibs) — Breathable and waterproof trousers, like Bogner women’s ski pants, will provide greater insulation and protection against the elements.
- Socks — Snowboard socks are usually taller than your boots. Avoid thick socks since they can make your feet colder and even cause problems with your blood circulation. Avoid cotton, too, since they take longer to dry out than other kinds of fabric.
- Goggles — These keep snow, glare, and wind from your eyes.
Rushing your turns
Turning is one of snowboarding’s basic moves. It’s also one of the hardest to learn. To perfect your turns and progress to carving, kick out your back foot and learn to ride your edge. While this may not be the most comfortable move, it’s certainly the safest way to turn faster and navigate steep slopes. Turn slowly and put equal weight on both feet. That will allow you to take full control of your board and make clean turns.
Similarly, resist the temptation to swing your arms and upper body to make a turn. Instead, add your hips, knees, and feet to add weight to your toes and heel.
Snowboarding takes patience and hours of practice to perfect. But with the right focus and dedication, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most thrilling experiences of your life.