Learn How To Snowboard
It is a well-documented that different people take to sports at a different rate to others, and learning how to snowboard is no exception. You may think that if you have a good level of fitness, and are good at football or cycling etc, that you will take to snowboarding faster than most. However, surprisingly, this is often not the case. Understanding how a snowboard interacts with the snow, your balance, how trainable you are and your sense of self-preservation also play a part, I have taught skiing and snowboarding for a number of years now and yet am still regularly surprised with how fast or slow people learn considering to first impressions.
There is much debate around this but in my opinion, skiing is generally easier to learn than boarding but harder to master. So, snowboarding is considered harder to learn but once you've mastered the fundamental technique you can reach a high level much faster.
Snowboarding for Beginners
For beginner snowboarders, it's all about learning to use your edges (both toe-side and heel-side). Finding that balance is the tricky part. It's certainly more psychologically challenging than Day 1 of skiing where your legs are free to move separately like every day walking.
After overcoming initial obstacles and mastering the basic movement, you can progress to the steeper slopes and work on improving that balance and increasing your speed.
Turning is actually easier once you are comfortable sliding at a quicker speed on a steeper slope because the angles you create with the board against the slopes are greater. The stage you want to get to is linking turns, from toe-side to heel-side, from here the mountain really opens up for you.
Learning how to snowboard should only take a week or two before you're ripping around the mountain at an intermediate/advanced level.
Snowboarders have the luxury of less gear than skiers so less fuss. All you need is a board including bindings, snowboard boots and a bold, gung-ho attitude.
The softer snowboarding boots are the envy of every skier too, they are much more comfortable than ski boots and have substantially more grip underfoot when negotiating the snowy/icy paths in town.
You can rent all the kit from resort ski shops when you arrive and as a beginner we recommend you rent over buying kit as you won't know what suits your style or aspirations before starting out.
For safety, you should always wear a helmet no matter your level and wrist guards are essential for beginners. There is often a teething period where hands frequently reach out against the slope when bracing for a fall and wrist guards will be a godsend.
Booking Snowboard lessons
It goes without saying that learning with a professional instructor is crucial. Do not be tempted to learn the ropes from friends or family members, especially with the psychological demands of the beginner stage. It would be a great shame to be put off the sport from a bad first days learning experience.
A friend or family member will not have the experience or skill that professional instructors bring to your learning experience. They will keep you safe, instil a sense of confidence, and get you going as fast as possible. It's their job!
Ongosa can help advise and book the right lessons for you within the world's best resorts for snowboarding beginners.
Winter Sports Insurance
Don't forget to organise travel insurance that covers snow sports. There is no arguing - it's a must have.
Any emergency services in the mountains can be expensive. Knowing you are fully prepared and covered will not only give you piece of mind but perhaps save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
If you're heading to the mountains for a standalone trip, say for a week or two, look at getting a single-trip cover. Check it applies to whatever part of the world you'll be going to.
For more than one trip, over several weeks, there are some great 'multi-trip' insurance deals out there to get you going.
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