I was not the kid who started out on the slopes just after I learned to walk. No, I tried out snowboarding for the first time when I was 19 years old and didn’t go back for over two years because I hated it so much.
Now I have the Ikon Pass and this winter alone I’ll visit Vermont, Colorado, West Virginia, and Switzerland. I wish I had read some snowboarding for beginners tips before I came the first time.
It’s definitely a tough sport to learn, but once you catch on it’s amazing to see those beautiful winter landscapes. One thing I love about it is you can get outside even when it’s freezing cold. Something I never did before I started snowboarding. Another plus is that it’s a great way to spend time with friends.
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First Timer Package Deals
At many resorts they will offer a package deal for beginners. This typically includes your rentals (board, bindings, boots), a lesson, and usually a limited lift ticket.
The limited lift ticket is typically only for lifts that take you to green or the easier blue slopes. That’s really more than you need on your first day. Be sure to rent a helmet in addition to the basic package. It’s usually only $10 or so.
You can find these deals on resort’s websites under their Lessons page. The prices vary depending on how big and well known the resort is.
For example, at Winterplace (our closest mountain) you can pay $70 on weekdays or $90 on weekends. However, at somewhere like Killington you’ll pay about $150 for this. (January 2020)
Take a Lesson
If there is one piece of advice you take please let it be this one. Everything can be overwhelming on your first day and instructors know how to break it all down for a beginner.
One of your friends may say you don’t need a lesson, they can teach you. In some cases this may work, but I’d say don’t waste your time and just take a lesson with a professional.
One important thing they will teach you as a beginner is the Responsibility Code. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves when people don’t follow this, so learn it! It’s for your safety and everyone else’s. Oh and they’ll teach you how to get off the lift.
You’ll learn how to fall when snowboarding too which sounds a little funny but it’s better to be prepared for it than not!
Stay On The Bunny Hill Until You Are Comfortable
Some people thrive when they are pushed to their limits. I am not one of those people. When there is a risk of bodily harm I am the most cautious person you’ll meet.
If you are like this too, then do yourself a favor and stay on the bunny hill until you feel comfortable making it down without falling. Once you can do that, ask your instructor, a friend, or someone you met at the resort where the easiest greens are.
Just because the slope is labeled a green does not mean that you should take it. Start out on the widest slopes with the least incline and try to find the least crowded ones.
Don’t let anyone talk you into doing something you don’t want to do.
Make sure you choose a good resort too! There are some great ski & snowboard destinations in the US.
Get There Early & Weekdays are Best
Both of these points are all about getting on the slopes when fewer people are out there. You’ll see much less people on weekdays, but I know many people will take weekend or day trips for their first experience.
If you can get there as soon as the lifts open on the weekend then you’ll beat most of the crowd at least for the first hour.
Wear the Correct Clothes
If you go out there in jeans, I can promise you that you will have a bad day. You are gonna be on your hands, knees, and butt for most of the day so you need sturdy, waterproof gloves (a great gift for outdoorsy women!) and snow pants.
A warm, waterproof jacket is also a necessity. If it’s super cold outside, you’ll want base layers on and make sure you have warm socks – merino wool is great.
Basically, make sure you know what to wear snowboarding and you’ll be fine.
Try To Go When Conditions Are Good
Learning to snowboard in the east can be hard. Instead of inches upon inches of snow most of the time we have a dusting of powder over a sheet of ice. When we went out to Steamboat Springs, CO last year, I was surprised at how much easier it was to ride out there. I was still very much a beginner.
Related: A First Timers’ Guide to Steamboat Springs, CO
If you do live in the east and are trying to learn, just try to go after we’ve gotten some real snow. This isn’t always doable, but I think it does help a bit.
Be Prepared To Fail
This may sound harsh, but don’t expect to go for your first time and be able to make it down standing up the whole way.
Everyone that I’ve seen try to learn to snowboard has busted it multiple times the first day no matter how athletic they are.
That’s okay though, because once you get it and can ride for a little ways without toppling half-way down the mountain you’ll be HOOKED.
Just take it slow and remember that with practice you will get better at this.
It was about two years ago when I finally decided to try snowboarding again, so I remember learning very well. Is there another tip that you found helpful when you learned to snowboard?
Good to hear you picked yourself back up again and got into it. Proof that hard work gets you rewards. Where will you go in Switzerland?
We are headed to Zermatt! We’ll be flying into Zurich and taking the train. Any tips you have are greatly appreciated. The only time I’ve been to Europe I traveled with a tour company.
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