Getting Started in Snowboarding

Before you can start to learn to snowboard there are various things which you need to learn, for example how to attach the board to your feet!

Getting into your bindings
This is something you usually do once you are on the piste. There are different types of bindings which you can choose from, and, unlike with skis, they are not designed to release your feet if you have a crash.

  • Lay the board flat on the slope perpendicular to the slope, make sure that your boots are free of snow and put your front foot in first. If you have step-in bindings put your toe in first and then your heel and press until you hear a click. If you have strap-in bindings, place you whole foot in the binding and then secure the buckle over it. You may need to ratchet the straps to make your boots more secure. If you use Belligerent bindings or the Belligerent Sinch Strap retrofit kit, put your whole foot into the binding and then use the lever to lock your boot in place.
  • Next attach the safety strap to your front foot. This will stop your board from sliding away in case you fall over before you are properly strapped into the board.
  • When you attach your back foot to the binding it is usually best to sit on the snow, so that you do not take off down the slope before you are ready. Remove any snow from your back boot and then attach it into the binding as you did with the first one.
  • Before you stand up, make sure that the board is perpendicular to the snow so you do not starting boarding the moment you stand up! When you stand up you can either keep your knees bent with you weight close to your bottom, and then lean back and use your hands to push your weight up. This is called the thrust or push-off. Otherwise you can use the pull-up method, where you use the toe edge of your board to pull yourself up to standing. Sometimes you may need to use a hand behind you to push off the snow with also. The roll-over method entails the rider rolling over so that they are on their knees, then pushing their weight backwards and come up to standing.

Stopping
It is essential that you master the method of stopping before you set out on the slope, otherwise results could prove disastrous! The fundamental idea is to use your feet and legs to bring the board so that it is perpendicular with the slope. It is quite common to fall over the first couple of times that you try this. Stopping involves using both your toes and your heels and you start the stop in a similar way that you would prepare for a toe-side turn.

Initially you need to lower your weight and learn forward. However, keep your toes lifted up to stop them from catching the edge, forcing you to fall forward. Then you need to rotate your body so that your back straightens and your shoulders start to become perpendicular with the slope, which in turn also brings the board to a perpendicular angle.

Keep your weight evenly balanced between your legs so that the tail of the board does not move in front and start to take you back down the slope. Pull your heels up so the board is slightly lifted off the piste, and allow it to sideslip until it loses all speed and comes to a halt. The faster you are going the more you will need to allow the board to sideslip.

Chairlifts

The way of using a chairlift is very different for snowboarders than it is for skiers.

  1. When you get to the bottom of the slope take your back foot out of the binding, and then use the board and your foot to skate over to the bottom of the lift, as you would do with a skateboard.
  1. When you are ready for the chair to take you stand with the tip of your board pointing towards the lift ramp, and look behind you at the chair coming round so that you know when to sit down.
  1. When you sit on the chair make sure that your leg which is not attached to the binding does not get trapped, so hold it out in front of you when you sit. Also make sure that your board is facing directly up the lift ramp so that it does not hit the person sitting next to you.
  1. When it comes to you getting off the lift, position yourself on the chair so that you are sideways on to the slope but point your board forwards. When you reach the snow, place the board on it, stand up with your free foot resting on the board next to the empty binding and let the board slide along the snow.
  1. Do not put your foot back into the binding until you are far away from the unloading area.