As discussed earlier, there are two main footings in snowboarding; goofy and regular. Once you have established which one you are then you are ready to start boarding. The main technique you need to establish is balance. Balance partly depends on having you bindings correctly placed, but how you shift your weight on the board will also greatly affect how fast you move and whether you fall over or not!
To find your ideal balance on the board rock your weight from side to side, heel to toe until you feel the place where you weight is centred evenly on the board. This is the equal amount of weight you should maintain the whole time you are boarding. Keeping your centre is vital, and this is why pilates is an excellent sport to practice before you go snowboarding. Your weight will shift as you move terrain and whilst manoeuvring the board, but it is important to remember where your centre is.
Once you have established the correct centre on the board, you are ready to start trying some of the different moves.
When you stand up, keep the majority of your weight on the back edge. Slowly roll your weight off your heels until you start to move forwards down the piste. Then roll your weight back onto your heels, which should raise the front edge of the board causing you to stop moving. This is a heel slide.
This is exactly the same as a heel slide, apart from the fact you start by facing up the hill with your board perpendicular to the slope. Put all your weight into your toes, and shift the weight slowly towards the back edge of the board to move down the hill. Bring the board to a halt by moving your weight back towards the front edge of the board. Many people find the toe slide harder to master at first.
Linking the two into a carve
- Start out with a heel slide, but learn slightly more into the front of the board so that you are moving down the slope rather than sideways along it. Bring the weight back into your heels so that the nose of the board is brought back in perpendicular line with the hill.
- Once you have practiced and mastered this technique of moving the board down and back up the slope, do the same movement but starting with a toe slide.
- Next, start with a heel slide and move the board so that it is facing down the slope as done above. To turn the whole board use your body, leading with the front arm, rotating the upper body at the waist. The board should follow so that you are now leading with your toe edge. To turn back to leading with your heel, do the same movement but turning your body backwards.
- Controlling how much pressure and weight you put on the edge of the board will dictate how fast you move down the slope. The greater the angle the board is to the slope, the slower you will move. Practicing these moves will make you learn how to move the board more effectively.
Your technique will improve with practice, and it is vital to have lessons when you first start out to teach you exactly how to stand and move on the board. If you only have the opportunity to snowboard on outdoor snow slopes once a year, then it is worth having extra lessons or practising on dry ski slopes in the UK before you go. Additional lessons at the very start of your ski trip may also be helpful for rusty boarders.