The wind in your hair, the crisp chill in the air, and the rush of adrenaline as you slice through fresh powder – there’s nothing quite like the thrill of snowboarding.
But, before you can become a true master of the slopes, you need to master the basics. Fortunately, snowboarding legend Harrison Gordon is here to share his top tips and tricks for shredding the mountain like a pro. From picking the perfect equipment to mastering advanced tricks, this guide has everything you need to know to become the ultimate snowboarding badass. So, strap on your boots, grab your board, and let’s hit the mountain!
1. Start with proper equipment
When it comes to snowboarding, having the proper equipment is essential. You wouldn’t try to run a marathon in flip flops, so why would you hit the slopes with ill-fitting boots and a board that doesn’t suit your style? In this section, we’ll dive into the importance of getting a snowboard and boots that fit you like a glove, as well as dressing appropriately for the weather conditions. Trust us, you’ll have a much better time on the mountain if you start off on the right foot (or board, rather). Let’s get into it!
• Get a fitting snowboard and boots
Finding the right snowboard and boots is essential for any snowboarding adventure. You wouldn’t wear high heels to walk a mile, so why would you wear ill-fitting boots for hours of shredding the slopes? Take the time to find boots that fit snugly without being too tight, as this will ensure both comfort and control while boarding.
As for the board, it should be both the right length and width for your body type and skill level. The board should be long enough to carry your weight but not so long as to become unwieldy. A board that is too narrow or too wide will also impact your maneuvers on the slope. As a newbie, renting a board is a good option to start with until you find the right size and fit.
Another factor to consider when selecting a snowboard is its stiffness. A softer snowboard is better for beginners as it is easier to bend and control. As you progress, you can switch to a stiffer board with more power and edge grip, thereby enabling you to move more quickly and traverse more difficult terrain.
Investing in a quality board and boots might not come cheap, but it is worth the price to get the most out of your time on the slopes. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned boarder, having the right gear can make all the difference in your riding experience.
• Dress appropriately for the weather conditions
When it comes to snowboarding, dressing appropriately for the weather conditions is critical. The last thing you want is to be shivering on the slopes, or on the other hand, sweating profusely under all your layers. The key is to find the right balance according to the weather outside.
If it’s particularly cold outside, layering is your best bet. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer, ideally made out of breathable fabric, to keep you dry and warm. On top of that, add a mid-layer that circulates heat, without adding too much bulk. Finally, layer with an insulated, waterproof outer layer to keep you protected from the elements.
On the other hand, if it’s relatively mild outside and not too cold, opt for fewer layers but still with insulating properties. You can skip the mid-layer altogether but still wear a moisture-wicking base layer, followed by an insulated, waterproof jacket and pants combination to keep you warm and comfortable.
Keep in mind that as a snowboarder, you’ll be moving around quite a bit, so make sure your clothing allows for enough flexibility and movement to enjoy the sport fully. After all, you’re there to have fun, not fuss over layers and clothing!
Remember, dressing appropriately for the weather conditions can be the difference between enjoying the slopes and having an uncomfortable experience. So don’t overlook the importance of choosing the right clothing, and always check the weather forecast before you hit the slopes.
2. Perfect your stance and balance
The key to successful snowboarding is not only mastering the equipment, but also perfecting your stance and balance. You want to make sure you’re in the right position for your skill level, as well as having the ability to distribute your weight properly. In this section, we’ll dive deep into the nuances of how to perfect your snowboarding stance and balance.
• Get into the right stance for your skill level
When it comes to snowboarding, getting into the right stance is crucial. Your stance determines how well you can move, turn and control your snowboard. Your stance should be in a position that feels comfortable, natural and safe. Your stance should be based on your skill level, height, weight, and preference.
There are two types of snowboard stances: regular and goofy. Regular stance is when you lead with your left foot, while goofy stance is when you lead with your right foot. To determine which foot you lead with, try sliding on a slippery surface with your socks on. The foot you step forward with will typically be the foot you lead with.
Once you have determined your lead foot, you should determine your stance width. Your stance width should be shoulder-width apart or slightly wider for beginners. If you’re an intermediate or advanced rider, and want more stability, a wider stance will be better for you.
Additionally, you can determine which stance is right for you through experimenting with different stances. You can try out different stances by adjusting the width of your stance and the angle of your feet. Start with a basic stance and gradually adjust until you find the perfect balance of stability and mobility.
Remember, your stance will affect your overall snowboarding experience. It’s important to experiment until you find the right stance that makes you feel safe and comfortable. So take your time and fine-tune your stance until you have found the perfect balance.
• Learn how to distribute your weight
When it comes to snowboarding, one of the tricks to mastering it is learning how to distribute your weight. Simply put, weight distribution refers to how you shift your bodyweight over your snowboard. It’s a fundamental skill that all snowboarders, beginners or advanced, should master if they want to improve their technique.
When distributing your weight, you have to learn how to put the pressure on the right areas of your snowboard. Doing this will help you steer the board, control your turns, and maintain your balance. Your body should be straight and your weight should be evenly distributed across both feet. But, when making a turn, you need to shift your weight towards your toes or your heels, depending on the direction of the turn you want to make.
To distribute your weight correctly, start by practicing on a flat surface. Try to feel the way you distribute weight on the board and how it affects the board’s movements. Then, move on to gentle slopes, where you can practice turning and balancing.
Remember, mastering the distribution of your weight takes time, patience, and practice. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a pro snowboarder!
3. Take control of your speed
If you’re looking to tear up the slopes with speed and precision, then mastering control is an absolute must. When it comes to snowboarding, controlling your speed can be the difference between a thrilling ride and a dangerous wipeout. In this section, we’ll discuss two key techniques for taking control: learning to brake effectively and using your body to control turns and carve like a pro. Get ready to take your snowboarding skills to the next level.
• Learn to brake and control your speed on slopes
When you’re snowboarding down a slope, it can be exhilarating to feel the wind rushing past you as you pick up speed. However, there comes a point when you need to slow down and control your speed, especially if you’re on a crowded slope.
One of the most fundamental skills in snowboarding is learning how to brake effectively. There are a few techniques you can use to slow down that don’t involve taking off your snowboard and walking down the mountain.
Firstly, you can use your snowboard’s edges to slow you down. By turning your board perpendicular to the slope and pushing down on your heels or toes, you create friction which will slow your board down. You can use this technique to slow down gradually or to come to a complete stop.
Another technique you can use to maintain control of your speed is to use the sides of the slope to your advantage. If you slide your board sideways and dig into the snow with your edges, you’ll create a snow wall that will slow you down. This technique is known as carving and is also useful for making turns. Remember to keep your body weight balanced over your board to avoid catching an edge and falling.
Lastly, remember that sometimes the best way to control your speed is simply to slow down your movements. If you’re feeling out of control, try to focus on making small, deliberate movements rather than big, sweeping motions. This technique can help you feel more in control and make it easier to slow down.
Learning how to control your speed takes time and practice, but it’s a crucial skill to master as you take your snowboarding to the next level. With the right technique, you’ll be able to navigate slopes with ease and confidence while ensuring your safety and the safety of others around you.
• Use your body to control your turns and carve
When it comes to snowboarding, turning and carving is an essential technique that can make all the difference. The way you use your body to control your turns and carve can have a significant impact on your speed and maneuverability.
To master this technique, start by practicing your turns on easy runs. As you go, try experimenting with different body positions to see what feels most comfortable and effective. Pay attention to the weight distribution between your feet, and how shifting your weight can help you initiate turns.
Keep in mind that carving requires a little more finesse than just turning, and it can be tricky to get the hang of. But don’t let that discourage you! The key to carving is to initiate the turn with your front foot, and then bring your back foot around to follow.
To initiate a heel-side carve, begin by shifting your weight onto your front foot and bending your knees. Then, rotate your front foot towards the downhill direction to engage your edge. From there, shift your weight back to your back foot and use it to guide your board around the turn.
For a toe-side carve, the process is similar. Start by shifting your weight onto your front foot and bending your knees. Rotate your front foot towards the uphill direction to engage your edge, and then shift your weight onto your back foot to complete the turn.
Remember, turning and carving is all about being in control and feeling confident. With enough practice and experimentation, you’ll find the technique that works best for you and be well on your way to carving down the slopes like a pro!
4. Practice, practice, practice
So, you’ve got your equipment sorted, you know how to balance and control your speed, and now it’s time to practice, practice, practice. This is where the magic happens. Start with the easy runs and gradually challenge yourself. Keep repeating the foundational techniques until they’re second nature. Building muscle memory is key to becoming a proficient snowboarder. So, strap on your board and get out there. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it!
• Start with easy runs and gradually challenge yourself
Starting with easy runs is crucial when it comes to building confidence on the slopes. It can be tempting to challenge yourself right out of the gate, but it’s important to remember that snowboarding is a sport that requires skill and technique. If you start too difficult, too fast, you run the risk of injuring yourself, feeling defeated, and losing your motivation to continue.
By starting with easy runs, you can work on perfecting the foundational techniques discussed earlier in the article. This will allow you to build your muscle memory, get comfortable with your board, develop your balance and stance, and learn how to control your speed and turns.
As you gradually challenge yourself with more difficult runs, you’ll find that you’re able to apply these techniques to more complex runs, such as those found on steeper slopes or in the terrain park. Plus, you’ll have the confidence to attempt new tricks and techniques, knowing that you have a solid foundation to build upon.
So, resist the urge to dive right into the most difficult runs right away. Start with the easy runs and work your way up, building your skills and confidence along the way. Remember, snowboarding is a journey, not a race, and by taking this approach, you’ll set yourself up for success and an enjoyable experience on the mountain.
• Repeat foundational techniques to build muscle memory
Repetition may seem mind-numbingly boring, but when it comes to building muscle memory for snowboarding, it’s a necessary evil. Don’t think of it as repeating the same old trick over and over again, but rather, honing in on the nuances that make each run unique. Your body has to be so familiar with the foundational techniques that it can experiment with them in different situations. Repetition is not only key to building muscle memory but also unlocking the door to experimentation, adaptation, and improvisation on the slopes. You’re not just repeating for the sake of it, you’re going through the motions to unlock new paths for experimentation. When it comes to snowboarding, the more you repeat the foundational techniques, the more your body will learn and adapt, and the more confident you’ll be on the slopes. After all, repetition is the mother of all learning.
5. Bonus section: Tips and tricks for advanced snowboarders
Now that you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to take your skills to the next level. If you’re an advanced snowboarder, you’re in luck because we’ve got some killer tips and tricks for you. Ready to learn how to master complex trick techniques like the half-pipe? Or maybe you’re looking to improve your off-piste technique for backcountry snowboarding? Whatever your goal is, we’ve got you covered – let’s dive in. Here are some essential tips and tricks to take your snowboarding to the next level.
• Master complex trick techniques such as the half-pipe
If you’re a seasoned snowboarder, the half-pipe is probably on your bucket list. It’s a challenging skill that requires practice and tons of patience. To start, first, you should have mastered the basics. And when it’s time to practice half-pipe, start slowly. Begin with smaller pipes and gradually work on more challenging ones. Before you begin, make sure to strap yourself in and take all the safety precautions necessary. When you’re ready, drop into the pipe, and start moving back and forth between the walls. Keep your speed moderate to avoid losing control. Remember, this is not a race, but an opportunity to keep your flow and focus in check. Keep your knees bent and your weight should be evenly distributed. Focus your eyes far ahead, and avoid looking down at your board. This will help you maintain your balance and make sharper turns. Allow the half-pipe to guide you as you move from one wall to the other. And once you’re balanced, start adding some moves. Get used to the half-pipe by doing some straight air, then move on to grabs, spinning and flipping. It might take time and frustrating moments, but persistence beats talent. With practice and persistence, you’ll be ready to conquer the half-pipe in no time.
• Improve your off-piste technique for backcountry snowboarding
For those who love to push their limits and take on new challenges, backcountry snowboarding can be an exhilarating experience. However, off-piste snowboarding also comes with its own set of risks and challenges that require specific techniques to overcome. Here are some tips to help you improve your off-piste technique and make the most out of your backcountry adventures.
Firstly, make sure to pack the right gear. This includes a backpack with all the essential safety equipment like a beacon, probe, shovel, and first aid kit. It’s important to remember that backcountry snowboarding is not like riding at a resort. Getting lost or injured can be dangerous, so always be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
Secondly, study and observe the terrain. Pay attention to changes in elevation, contours of the mountain, and variations in snowpack. Identifying potential risks and hazards will help you make informed decisions while riding the backcountry.
Another critical technique to master is efficient movement on your snowboard. Keep your movements, including turns and transitions, economical to preserve your energy for longer rides. Additionally, knowing how to maintain your stability and balance on uneven or unpredictable terrain can significantly improve your backcountry experience.
Lastly, find a community of like-minded riders who share your passion for backcountry snowboarding. Network with backcountry enthusiasts in your area and join a local club to learn more about backcountry conditions.
Whether you’re new to backcountry snowboarding or a seasoned pro, improving your off-piste technique can significantly enhance your experience. With the right gear, knowledge, and skills, you can safely take on the thrilling world of backcountry snowboarding.