Today’s reader question:
How long will it take me to learn to snowboard well?
That’s a tricky question. It could be a week or it could be months. There’s a few factors that will affect how fast you learn to snowboard, so let’s go over them.
Are you taking lessons? If you’re just starting out and not taking lessons, you should reconsider. Lessons are by far the quickest way to advance your snowboarding when you’re just starting out.
They become a little less useful as you advance more, but in the beginning stages, lessons are incredibly useful. Just make sure you have a good instructor (re: How to pick a good snowboard instructor).
Obviously, the more snowboarding you do, the quicker you’ll learn. However, don’t forget that in the early stages of learning snowboarding, how many days in a row you snowboard is important too.
Snowboarding 2-3 days in a row is far better than the same amount of snowboarding done as single day trips because it helps cement the techniques into your muscle memory.
The beginner stages are the most important when learning snowboarding and the best way to get those basics into your muscle memory is to do those turning/carving movements repeatedly over 2-3 days.
3) Attitude & Fear
Attitude is HUGE when it comes to learning to snowboard because you’re going to fall A LOT during the beginning stages.
Are you the type that will get up and try again when you fall or will you end up in the lodge sipping hot chocolate after a couple falls? Be the first type, rather than the latter if you want to learn fast.
You will fall. You will have a sore butt. Your body will ache. All of that is guaranteed when you’re learning to snowboard, so the better you deal with obstacles and falling, the quicker you’ll learn to snowboard and stop falling.
Are you in shape? Snowboarding can be tiring, especially early on when you’re falling and having to get back up constantly.
You’ll be picking yourself up, getting stuck in powder and you’ll be waving your limbs all over the place while trying to master turning and carving. It’s exhausting.
The more fit you are, the longer you’ll be able to ride before you get tired and the quicker you’ll recover from the aches and pains of a day on the slopes.
Whether you’re scared of falling or scared that you’ll look stupid, don’t let that stop you from trying. Be the type of person that approaches an obstacle they’re scared of, figures out how they’re going to beat it then do it.
Those who face their fear and overcome it are the type of people who progress the fastest in snowboarding.
I’m not talking about your IQ or your grades. I’m talking about how smart you are with taking risks on the slopes.
Take risks, but don’t take stupid risks. Take intelligent risks.
There’s no sense in taking a stupid risk where the chances of injury are high. Take risks with lower chances of injury. There’s no point in trying for that 1% chance you’ll land some crazy trick if there’s a huge chance that you’ll walk away with a broken arm.
Take a calculated risk and figure out how you can land that trick or master that new technique while having the lowest chance of injury.
You can’t snowboard if you get injured and you can’t progress if you aren’t snowboarding. So take some risks, but not stupid risks.
One of the things I’ve noticed with many early stage snowboarders is that they don’t wear proper clothing to stay warm on the slopes. They end up freezing after a few runs and run back to the closest lodge/cafe.
It’s cold on the mountain. Wear clothing that will keep you warm and dry.
If you get cold easily, layer your clothing properly. This means a warm base layer, under a fleece, under a jacket. Or if you hate layering consider investing in a nice puffy jacket.
Being comfortable means you end up staying on the slopes longer and have a better time which means you’ll progress faster as well.
Now go snowboarding
(ps – if you fill in your email below and grab our free snowboard gear guide, there’s a section on how to layer properly that you might find useful)