Shredding the Slopes: Beginner’s Guide to Snowboarding

Key Points

  • Discover how to snowboard, including the different types and styles of the sport.

  • Understanding snowboarding sizing and its impact on your experience is crucial in getting the right gear for your needs.

  • There are several reasons why people take up snowboarding; delve into what draws them to the sport.

  • To set yourself up for success when learning how to snowboard, understand the basics to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

Are you ready to carve up the slopes with a side of adrenaline? Strap on your snowboard and hold tight because this comprehensive guide takes you from novice to pro in no time – well, at least in words. Understanding the basics of how to snowboard is the foundation to having an enjoyable experience and preventing injury.

Dive into the world of how to snowboard and get ready to make some unforgettable memories on the mountain!

The Basics of How to Snowboard

Snowboarding is an exciting sport enjoyed by people of all ages. To start, ensure you have the right equipment, including a snowboard, bindings, boots, and protective gear. It's also worth considering taking lessons from a professional instructor to get started.

Before hitting the slopes, dress in a solid base layer, wear good snowboard boots, and insulated gloves. Invest in a good pair of snowboarding goggles to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun and wind.

As a beginner, take things slow and go at your own pace. It's best to practice on the bunny hill and learn the basics, such as keeping your knees bent and upper body balanced. If you have experience with skateboarding or wakeboarding, it may give you an advantage in learning how to snowboard.

Practice on flat areas to get the hang of things, and you'll soon be able to master i-turns, j-turns, full turns, and even heel-side turns. Be patient, as snowboarding is a sport that requires practice to master. Keep your knees bent and upper body balanced, and you'll be riding down the slopes like a pro in no time.

Five-time Olympian and three-time Olympic gold medalist, Shaun White comments, "You take a crash, you get back up and next time you succeed and that’s a great feeling.” Snowboarding is all about picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and fearlessly tackling the next obstacle.

Choosing the Appropriate Snowboard for Beginners

When starting out with snowboarding, selecting the right board is crucial. Different snowboards come with varying features and finding the perfect fit for you requires considering your height, weight, and skill level.

Beginners should choose a short and wide snowboard, making it easier to maintain balance and control. Additionally, consider opting for boards with softer bindings, as they are less harsh and more forgiving if you fall.

As you progress and gain experience, explore different board types and techniques. For now, focus on finding a board that is manageable and not too demanding to ride.

Freeride Snowboards

If you love exploring the mountain and tackling all types of terrain, freeride snowboards make an ideal choice.

Manufacturers design these snowboards to handle rugged and ungroomed slopes, featuring a stiff flex and longer size. Unlike freestyle snowboards, freeride snowboards have a directional shape, optimized for the best performance in a single direction. Freeride snowboards assist you in taking on any challenge, whether you're cruising down a powder-filled run or navigating through trees and rough terrain.

Freestyle Snowboards

Freestyle snowboarding, also known as park snowboarding, focuses on riding in terrain parks. Manufacturers design freestyle snowboards to handle riding on rails, jibs, wall rides, and other park features, typically featuring a twin or asymmetrical shape for more versatility and playfulness. These snowboards are often shorter in length.

For those who seek a more versatile option, the all-mountain freestyle snowboard is an excellent choice. Combining the capabilities of an all-mountain snowboard with the playful nature of a freestyle snowboard, it works well for riding in the park and other types of terrain.

All-Mountain Snowboards

If you're looking for a snowboard that handles a variety of snow conditions and terrains, an all-mountain snowboard is a perfect option for you.

All-mountain boards are versatile and perform well on groomed runs, powder, park runs, and more. They are ideal for beginners or those who are uncertain about their specific needs. All-mountain snowboards are a great all-around choice, making them suitable for a wide range of riders

Powder Snowboards

If you live for deep, untouched snow, powder snowboards make the perfect match.

Manufacturers design these snowboards to excel in fresh conditions, featuring a wider nose and a tapered, narrow tail that allows you to float effortlessly in the powder. They position the binding inserts, which determine your stance, toward the back of the board to enhance your riding experience, allowing you to steer with ease using your back foot. Additionally, powder snowboards often have a generous rocker, enabling the tip and tail of the board to rise from a farther back point, making it easier for you to float and pivot as you ride.

Split Boards

Adventurous backcountry riders may find their heaven on earth with a split board.

Manufacturers design this type of snowboard to separate into two halves, allowing for effortless uphill travel with the use of climbing skins. Riding a split board requires specialized bindings and knowledge of avalanche safety, terrain, weather, and snow conditions. After reaching the top, riders connect the two halves of the board and enjoy a normal downhill ride. A split board facilitates backcountry exploration with ease.

The Three Main Styles of Snowboarding

Snowboarding has several styles to choose from, depending on your preference and skill level. The three main styles of snowboarding are freestyle, freeride, and alpine. Each style has its unique characteristics and challenges. Know the differences in order to select the right style for you.

Whether you enjoy performing tricks in terrain parks, exploring natural terrain, or racing down the mountain, there's a style of snowboarding that suits your style and skill level.


Freestyle snowboarding focuses on performing tricks such as jumps, rail slides, and spins. Snowboarders typically perform this style in terrain parks, utilizing a variety of obstacles to showcase their skills.


Freeride snowboarding is about exploring the mountain and finding natural terrain to ride on. It's all about going off-piste and finding fresh powder, steep runs, and natural obstacles to ride over.


Alpine snowboarding is the traditional style of snowboarding, emphasizing speed and precise turns. Alpine snowboarders race down the mountain, attempting to reach the bottom as quickly as possible while executing accurate, technical turns.

Finding The Perfect Snowboard Size

When it comes to choosing the right size snowboard, take into account your body weight and riding style. Gone are the days when snowboard sizing meant simply checking if the top of the board reached your chin. Today, several other factors come into play when determining the appropriate board length, including your ability/experience level, weight, and the construction of the board.

If you plan to mostly freeride, a longer board provides more stability and speed, unless you're looking at a volume-shifted board. If you're more interested in freestyle riding, then a shorter board may be more suitable as it's easier to spin and maneuver in the terrain park or half-pipe.

Most snowboard brands provide size charts on their product detail pages, so you get an idea of the recommended length for your weight and height. However, the length is also a matter of personal preference. If you've found that you're comfortable riding a longer or shorter board, don't be afraid to go with what works for you.

Here are some general guidelines for selecting your snowboard size:

  • For park or freestyle riding, choose a board on the shorter side of the size range.

  • For all-mountain, powder, or freeriding, consider a board on the longer side or a volume-shifted board.

  • If you are above average weight, go for a longer snowboard.

  • If you're a beginner, aim for a shorter board in your size range.

To find the perfect snowboard, prioritize your comfort and ability to ride at your full potential. When you try out different boards, pay attention to how it feels under your feet and how well you are able to maneuver it. A board that feels comfortable and suits your riding style allows you to progress and improve your skills.

Take time to test and rent different boards to find the right fit for you. Don't rush the decision, as investing in the right snowboard greatly enhances your experience on the slopes. Prioritize your needs and preferences, rather than simply going for the most popular or expensive option.

How to Determine Your Snowboard Waist Width

When choosing a snowboard, the waist width needs to be correctly sized to ensure a smooth and safe riding experience. The waist width should be just slightly wider than your snowboard boots, allowing you to apply leverage and control pressure with your ankles.

However, if your boots extend too far over the edges of the snowboard, it causes you to fall during hard turns since your boots hit the snow. To find the right waist width for your snowboard boots, use the chart provided by the snowboard manufacturer.

Since snowboard boot sizes vary from brand to brand and even within the same brand, look at the outer sole length of your boots. Additionally, the ramp angle on snowboard bindings and the design of your boots, such as a low profile, impact the appropriate waist width for your setup.

Test and Rent Snowboards Before Buying

While it may be tempting to only consider the specifications and materials of skis and snowboards online, experiencing them on the snow is the only way to truly know if they're the right fit for you. That's why renting or demoing skis and snowboards is an essential step in the buying process.

By trying out different models on the snow, you get a feel for how they handle and their ride quality, and determine if they're the right fit for you. Before making a final decision on your next ski or snowboard, get out on the slopes and try them out for yourself.

Find Your Perfect Snowboard with Burton's Online Snowboard Finder

If you're seeking the perfect snowboard, Burton Snowboards has an online tool called the Snowboard Finder. As you explore the Snowboard Finder, select the type of terrain you plan to ride, including park, all-mountain, and powder. Based on your selection, the recommended boards show up on the screen, with images that showcase the design and color options.

To find the perfect fit, adjust the size and flex of the board, and the Snowboard Finder provides you with information about each board, such as the flex rating, recommended weight range, and construction technologies. The tool also highlights the specific features and capabilities of each board, which are crucial in understanding which board is best for you.

For example, park boards are perfect for performing tricks and stunts, all-mountain boards offer a versatile experience for exploring the entire mountain, and powder boards are perfect for deep snow riding, with a wide shape and long nose for improved floatation.

Using the Snowboard Finder allows you to make an informed decision and find a product that meets your needs and preferences. The online tool is visually appealing and informative, making it easy to navigate and explore.

The Fundamentals of Effective Snowboarding Technique

When you're ready to hit the slopes, being in great physical shape makes your experience more enjoyable. You need to train to snowboard. Get the proper snowboarding technique down. Start by properly strapping into your bindings. Most snowboards have two straps, one for the front foot and one for the back foot.

To secure the front strap, place your foot into the binding, and tighten the strap until it feels snug around your ankle. For the back strap, place your foot in the binding, pull the strap over your heel, and then lock it into place by pushing down on the toe piece.

As a beginner, take things slowly and don't attempt any advanced moves right away. Start by making small turns and gradually increasing your speed and difficulty. As you progress and feel more comfortable on your board, start exploring different riding styles.

Prioritize Safety

Snowboarding is a thrilling and exhilarating experience, but prioritize safety while engaging in this winter sport.

Wear the proper gear, including a helmet, gloves, and knee pads, to protect yourself from potential injuries. 

Snowboard with a friend or a group, rather than going solo. This not only provides added safety but also makes the experience more enjoyable. 

Don't drink alcohol before or while snowboarding. It impairs your judgment and reaction time. You need to be aware of your surroundings and avoid obstacles such as trees, rocks, and other riders to minimize the risk of accidents. 

Know your limits and do not attempt anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. These safety tips make snowboarding enjoyable without putting yourself at risk.

Self-Taught Snowboarding

Learning snowboarding on your own is possible, but requires dedication, patience, and consistency. To make the process smoother, hire a coach or a mentor to guide you through the proper techniques. In addition, there are many online resources and books available to help with the snowboarding learning curve.

Ultimately, with hard work and determination, successfully teaching yourself how to snowboard is possible.

The Snowboarding Learning Curve

Snowboarding is a fun and exciting winter sport, but it does require some effort to learn the basics. It's not necessarily difficult, but patience and dedication are key to becoming a successful snowboarder. Dress appropriately for the conditions with warm, dry layers and protective gear like gloves and a helmet.

Taking lessons from a qualified instructor is crucial to learning proper techniques and riding safely. While the learning process may require some time and effort, the reward of mastering this sport and experiencing the thrill of gliding down a mountain is well worth it. Regular practice improves your skills and makes you a better snowboarder.

In addition to being a fun and challenging activity, snowboarding also offers numerous benefits, including improved physical fitness and a great way to spend time with friends or family. If you're looking for a new winter sport to try, consider giving snowboarding a chance.

The Learning Curve Time Commitment

When it comes to learning how to snowboard, everyone moves at their own pace. It might take you anywhere from a day to three days to feel comfortable on a snowboard. Don't get discouraged if it takes you longer than that. Some people might pick it up in an hour, while others might need a little more time. Keep practicing as it takes time to get the hang of it.

The Art of Snowboarding Tricks

Snowboarding tricks make the sport an absolute adrenaline rush! It takes time, practice, and the right guidance, but it is achievable.

The first step is to get comfortable riding your snowboard. This means you need to be able to glide down the mountain without losing control or falling. Once you've mastered this fundamental skill,  start practicing more advanced techniques.

To learn to do snowboarding tricks, you need proper balance. This means keeping your weight evenly distributed on the board. If you're unbalanced, it's much harder to perform tricks.

As you start trying tricks, begin by practicing on small jumps. Start with simple grabs and gradually work your way up to more complex moves. As you become confident with the basics, attempt bigger and more challenging tricks.

It takes practice to learn how to do snowboarding tricks. Don't get discouraged if you don't land a trick the first few times you try. With enough practice executing any trick you set your mind to is possible.

Snowboarding With Friends

Snowboarding with friends is a great way to spend time on the slopes. To have a successful and safe snowboarding experience, you need the right equipment, select the right terrain, and follow safety rules.

Before hitting the slopes, ensure you have a good snowboard, bindings, boots, and clothing. If you don't own your equipment, consider renting it at a ski resort or sports store. When it comes to terrain, beginners should start with easy slopes and work their way up to more challenging runs as they gain confidence and experience.

Safety should always be a top priority when snowboarding, especially when you're with friends. Follow safety rules, such as wearing a helmet and protective gear, and always be aware of other riders on the slopes.

Shredding the Gnar

Snowboarding is an exciting and thrilling adventure on the slopes.

It is similar to skiing but — face it — a whole lot cooler. Snowboarding has a steep learning curve and requires a significant time commitment to become proficient. It takes time and practice to develop the necessary balance, coordination, and muscle memory to maneuver the board on the slopes. As you become familiar with the sport, it is hard to resist the temptation to pack up your gear and find the nearest ski lift.

The type of snowboard you use depends on the terrain. If you are just starting, stick to the easier slopes and gain confidence in your skills. Once you have mastered the basics, venture to more challenging runs and test your limits. Overall, snowboarding is a thrilling and unforgettable experience for people of all ages and skill levels.

Grab your snowboard, prioritize safety, and hit the slopes to embark on a memorable adventure.

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