Do yourself a favour. If you’re just starting out, never get a friend to teach you how to snowboard – unless of course they are actual snowboard instructors.
If they aren’t instructors, don’t do it! The chances of them sucking is incredibly high.
1) They teach you their bad habits
It’s important to remember that the average snowboarder isn’t very advanced. While they may be able to get to the bottom of the hill and they may seem experienced to someone starting out, they’ll still have many problems with their own turning technique.
If they were to teach you how they turn, they’ll unfortunately pass on their bad habits to you. This means if they use the wrong technique to complete turns, you’ll end up using the same bad technique as well.
This is the opposite of what you want. Your turning technique is probably the one place you don’t want to have bad habits creep in. This can really affect your riding later down the track and make it harder to progress.
You may find that you may end up having to go back and re-learn the techniques your friend taught you to fix those bad habits later down the track.
2) Being a good snowboarder doesn’t make you a good teacher
Even if your friend is an absolutely amazing snowboarder, it doesn’t mean they are a good instructor. Explaining something is far different from doing something.
You’ll waste your time, you’ll end up frustrated and you’ll have trouble understanding how they do it.
It’s similar to watching a pro snowboarder explain how to do a 360 in those horrible pro trick tips that snowboard magazines love to do. They don’t break it down and instead they just describe the trick to you instead of how to do it.
For example, they could tell you that you need to use your knees and follow through with the turn. That’s great… except knowing that doesn’t suddenly make you able to use your knees and follow through with every turn.
There’s a reason why instructors use explanations like ‘twist the discs‘ to teach a new technique. These are exercises that are specifically made to teach a certain skill to beginner snowboarders and every instructor has spent their time memorizing many of these exercises.
3) You’ll progress slower
At the end of the day, a good instructor is going to take you from falling on green runs to slaying blue ski runs in a shorter time than it would take with a friend teaching you.
Sure it’s cheaper to have a friend teach you, but it’s also slower and you’ll spend more time falling on your butt. Why spend more time stuck on the frustrating falling stages when a good instructor will get you past that stage quickly.
I’m sure your friend is a nice person and they might even be one of the few non instructors able to teach you to snowboard well, but it’s almost certain that a good snowboard instructor will be able to do it quicker and better.
Look to your friend for tips and advice later down the track, but in those beginning stages you really, really want a good instructor teaching you the basics.
ps – If you’re planning on taking a private lesson, I highly recommend reading this blog on ‘How to pick a good snowboard instructor so your lessons don’t suck‘.