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Have your kids been bugging you about wanting to snowboard and you’ve run out of excuses why they can’t? Maybe you’re feeling like a change from clipping into skis yourself? If you want to discover what all the fuss around sideways snow sliding is about, then look no further…
Here’s a few simple guidelines to make the learning experience fun and relatively painless!
1) DO: Get the right gear
Ideally you should rent your gear from professionally trained staff and have them fit you with appropriate boots, bindings and board. Borrowing gear from your partner/friend/neighbour will make things harder than they need to be!
Burton’s ‘Learn to Ride’ snowboards are perfect as they are specially designed to be forgiving and you’ll be less likely to catch an edge.
Wrist guards and a helmet are always recommended and are usually included with learner’s snowboard rental. Other protective gear like bum pads can be helpful too.
2) DO: Pick a learner friendly mountain with the right terrain
Wide open, mellow, groomed slopes are your friend when you’re learning to snowboard. Steep and deep is not!
If you’re a pretty competent skier and can handle any run on the mountain, it may hurt your ego to go back to the bunny hill. But it’s time to swallow your pride and head to the learner conveyor! A surface lift or ‘magic carpet’ is way more learner-friendly for first time snowboarders than a pommer or rope tow.
3) DO: Get a lesson – not from your partner or parent (unless they’re an instructor!)
Snowboarding can take a little longer to master as you need to learn to turn before you learn to stop (no snow ploughing on a board!). Do yourself a favour and invest in lessons from a professional instructor. There are simple techniques that you will learn in a lesson that will allow you to progress faster and have more fun out there.
As most parents find, children usually listen more to instruction from a teacher than their own parent. Plus it’s always more fun to learn with other kids!
4) DO: Let your kids snowboard
But understand that it may take them a little longer to become independent on the mountain than if they were skiing.
There are no hard and fast rules about the right age to learn to snowboard. Most snowboard schools have a minimum age of 7 years for group lessons but no age restriction for private lessons. It’s generally accepted that kids 7 years+ have the coordination and strength to become independent more quickly than younger children, but experience with other board sports usually helps progression too.
5) DON’T give up!
Once you’ve made the commitment to learn to snowboard, don’t give up after the first hour or even the first day. Learning to link turns is the hardest part but once you’ve got it there’ll be no looking back! Snowboarding is loads of fun…especially on powder days!!