Fears of falling and having to restart a sport as a complete beginner have kept me from trying snowboarding. But.. This season, I think I might give it a try.
I know there are some avid boarders here, as well as some skiers-turned-boarders. So I ask for some advice. What tips can you offer for a skier who wants to give snowboarding a try?
As I see it, there are some pros and cons. These are uneducated pros and cons, so feel free to correct any misconceptions I have.
- Snowboarding might actually be fun.
- The boots are a heck of a lot more comfortable than those skiing foot-vices I've been wearing and complaining about for years.
- It provides an opportunity to learn about new gear. And a new vocabulary. (I feel quite dated, not knowing what jibbing is.)
- It provides an opportunity to spend a lot of money on new gear.
- Falling looks painful. On skis, I rarely fall, and when I do, it's a controlled fall -- gliding to a stop. On a snowboard, it looks like the transition from movement to non-movement is instantaneous -- causing the wind to get knocked out of you.
- On skis, your basic stance is facing down the mountain. On a snowboard, you're facing sideways. I'm afraid this might be difficult to get used to, and might be hard on the neck.
Any comments on the above?
What is the best way for a skier to learn snowboarding? My first lesson would probably be at Whitetail. Any tips specific to Whitetail? Should I look for a group lesson or a private lesson? What can I expect in terms of equipment? (I really don't know much about snowboarding equipment.)
How long does it take to learn snowboarding? What can I expect to be able to do after my first lesson -- and second and third trips? How does a snowboard handle in ice (er, "frozen granular") compared to skis? Not that any Mid-Atlantic resort would ever have ice, but you know..
I'm not looking to be able to attack the terrain parks of halfpipes. In fact, I'm not sure I would ever be interested in that -- my primary interest would be in just carving down the mountain.
Any advice is welcome. I've considered snowboarding in the past but have always wimped out... But this year I think I'm willing to try something new.
[This message has been edited by Scott (edited 12-22-2003).]
I was actualy taught to snowboard by a lifetime skier turned alpine boarder, and like many he made the transition due to skiing's tremendous toll on the knees.
I think as a whole, snowboarding has a much steeper learning curve in the beginning, so expect the first day to be pretty rough. If you can manage to survive through the first day, you can usualy ramp up quickly to linking turns and carving.
My tips for anyone interested in trying snowboarding would be the following:
- Rent Equipment before you buy.
- Try and determine if you are "goofy" or "regular" before you hit the hill.
- Padded shorts, have helped some beginning riders.
- Group snowboarding classes at most hills will NOT be able to tech you to ride.
- Try and team up with an experienced rider (one who has the patience to spend time with you on the bunny hill).
Try LIBERTY as their learning area is likely the best in the PA/MD region.
i had an old snowboard i was given for free and took it to liberty on a sunny february afternoon. never being one who enjoyed any kind of "lesson", i decided to teach myself. for three hours i was there on the beginner slope, barely able to stand up, let alone turn. finally i could link one or two turns, then fall. just when i started feeling good about my new abilities i realized that i was riding backwards (switch). so back to square one, but i made a few turns off the summit before leaving.
my next runs were at whitetail on closing day. the slush made for a great learning surface, slow and forgiving of my many faceplants and whiplash back-falls. but i tell you carving turns on my last run of the season from the summit at whitetail was seriously the most rewarding experience i have ever had on skis or board. the sense of accomplishment was incredible!
it was stated below that snowboarding really maximizes the fun of our small hills out here. and i couldnt agree more. so go for it, and give it at least a couple of tries. after six to eight hours you will be shredding.
my only other suggestion is not to go when it is icy. the average wipeout will be a little more painful. best to learn in the spring season when there is the snow is plenty soft and slow.
I have a friend who has a mono ski. Thus you are facing straight ahead. This may be a more natural position for us skiers. I have watch him use this thing a he makes it look easy. He is 70+ also skis, snow boards and was a memnber of the Senior Olympic Hockey team, so he is an excellent athelete.I don't believe that any of the ski manufacturers make a mono ski at present, so I guess were stuck with snow boarding.
1) Is snowboading really "easier on the knees" than skiing?
2) What do you mean by "easier on the knees"? Less knee fatigue? Less chance of knee injury? Both?
On the other hand, the 3 times that i tried skiing i was scared for my entire athletic future everytime i fell because my knees always seemed to get twisted when one ski went one way and the other went the other. Sure, i stunk royally at skiing but i just had no desire to risk my knee forever in order to get good at it.
2) What do you mean by "easier on the knees"? Less knee fatigue? Less chance of knee injury? Both?>>
1. No... not really. Depends on the conditions though. Anything remotely lumpy sends my knees howling at the bottom. Moguls are especially bad, not only on the knees, but the leg muscles as well.
Anytime you're trying to stick turns in chopped up snow is rough, especially when you're flying along. Your knees absorb the jolts that would otherwise make you fall.
2. When falling, snowboarding is easier on the knees. Most of the time else, it isn't, as already mentioned.
I love the leash rule... you know the one dictating you have to use a leash or not ride the lift. Hmm... let's see, what keeps my board on... oh right, 2 straps, 4 nuts, 10 screws (that are important, there's more), and some silicone caulk holding the baseplate to the board. If that all fails then we have a much larger problem. Besides, the bindings would hit first... and don't tell me its the falling that's dangerous, because skis fall off all the time. Right now my leash is connected to my boot... that's it. It runs under the boot and I stand on it all day. Hmm... maybe I should paint it bright neon green... "Do you have a leash?" "Do you have eyes?"
Disclaimer: I'm a snowboarder too. I think certified instructors are great and work hard to get where they are. Don't kill the messenger.
Lots of good info in this thread, but I'll add my own experiences. I'm 34, & a skier-turned-boarder (circa 1997). I've never been on skis since, & sold them that spring.
Most of the observations here are correct...the learning curve is steep..aka the school of hard knocks. Softer snow makes learning more enjoyable. I taught myself in about 4 hours, but then I also used to skateboard. The hardest part is finding that balance point. Once you've got that, the turning, stopping, etc. flows fairly quickly.
Knees...yes, snowboarding is better on the knees, as the type of catastrophic, sport-ending injury common to skiing cannot happen on a board cuz they can't twist. My younger brother is a ski casualty from this...never made it to boarding.
As for the wrist injuries, this thread is the first I've heard of that. It's never happened to me or any of the boarders I've ridden with, so while I'm not denying it, I don't think it's "a given" or anything like that.
Also, one thing I haven't seen mentioned is ride setup. If you've ever watched professional/olympic alpine snowboarding, you'll notice their stance is much more forward-facing than the typical boarder you see on the slopes. I ride a binding setup that is somewhere between the 2 extremes, & it works well for cruising/carving, which is how I ride (& how you said you want to ride). It allows you to run fast (I pass probaby 90% or more of skiers out there), but also maintain slow speed control. The 100% sideways/skateboarder stance is what most people ride because they either want to ride terrain parks or don't know any better.
Finally, one comment on snowboarder etiquette. I think rudeness goes both ways. One example...last year, I was coming up on a guy in his 30's/40's skiing ahead of me, & we were approaching a narrowing of the trail. As is common courtesy in biking, roller blading, skiing, etc. I yelled "on your right" since he was closer to the left. He turned around, & after seeing I was a boarder, stuck BOTH ski poles out to his sides to prevent me from passing. When I later passed, he made some remark like "boarder a#$hole". I'm sure we could all tell stories ad nauseum about abuses on both sides.
Finally, something I heard early on from a fellow boarder: "I know alot of people that used to ski, but I don't know anyone who used to snowboard".
2. Stance. Right or left foot forward. Everyone varies in preference. Alpine boards like both feet forward. Some like both @ 90 degrees to the board some like 1 pointed forward one pointed back. There is no wrong way only what feels good to you. My preference is 0 in the back and 15 up front. I don't ride park much I like speed and carving and this works contrary to what some say I like it.
Keep your weight 50/50 on each leg. Lean back too much and the nose of the board lifts you speed up lose control and fall. If anything lean just a little forward into the hill.
3. Upper body. This is your direction. On a board where you turn your head is pretty much where you go. My instructor used to tell us to look at the gap between the trees not at the tree.
Your front hand is your directional hand. Point it where you want to go. Back hand is directional but also serves more of a balance role. When I learned that was the one you waved about a bit to stay in control.
4. Hills. Flat is bad. Boards hate flats. It's good to learn how to scoot around on but you need to really get some speed on them to have control. Your edges are your control if you dont have enough speed it's hard to lean back enough to get an ege. As a result you compensate by lifting yourself onto your toes or heels. A bit of a slope allows you to have more control.
5. Learn falling leaf. This technique is a lifesaver. Sometimes literally. It basically involves descending a hill using only one edge. Very useful if you encounter terrain too steep or difficult for you. You can pretty much descend anything using it. Good fr learning fakie too.
6. Falling. Get wrist guards. Failing that when falling do not tense up and try to resist. Tuck in and roll. If you must put your arms out ball your hands into fists and sort of punch into the snow. Falling on the heel of your hand can be devastating. (I've done it on both wrists now it only takes a light fall to ruin my day if I don't wear wrist guards.
7. Enjoy it. Snowboarding has an incredible degree of freedom and creativity. Explore it.
8. Give respect get respect.