In this blog: How snowboard gear affects our snowboard learning & the trap that many snowboarders fall into.
So does snowboard gear affect our snowboard learning ability? Let’s break it down.
1) You WILL notice big changes in your gear
Sizing down your snowboard by a decent amount (ie – going from a 158 to a 152) is noticeable. You will notice the difference in it’s manoeuvrability and it’s float in powder and it will feel a lot more playful and easier to flex.
Similarly, going from a super soft snowboard to a stiff snowboard is noticeable. You’ll notice the difference in flex, stability and playfulness.
In general, big changes to the size or flex of your gear are noticeable. However, does that actually affect our learning ability? Well…
2) How your snowboard gear affects your ability to get better
Unless you made a really bad choice with your initial snowboard gear, your equipment isn’t really going to hinder your progress or ability to learn to snowboard, even if you didn’t get the ‘perfect’ snowboard for you.
A very, very common theme I see among beginner snowboarders is buying one snowboard, then suddenly looking at their gear as the reason they’re having difficulty learning how to turn well or carve properly or control their edges or butter.
They’ll think they need a more flexible snowboard or shorter/longer snowboard or have some other reason. In most cases, they don’t and they’re talking themselves into buying gear they don’t need.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some cases where someone buys a snowboard WAY bigger or WAY shorter than they require and it does affect their snowboard learning, but in most cases you can make do with a snowboard that’s a little outside of your ‘ideal’ requirements.
3) You can learn and perfect the basics on almost any snowboard
Is it going to be harder to learn if your gear isn’t perfect for your requirements? Yep, but is it a big difference? Not in most cases.
For example, I get a lot of people asking me to recommend them park snowboards because they’re finding learning to spin or presses or hitting boxes/rails too hard on their all-mountain snowboard.
They get to the stage where they think a dedicated park snowboard is the key to help things click for them in the park.
I’m always amused by this because an all-mountain snowboard is 100% fine for learning the basics of park riding. Heck, I learnt my first 360s on an all-mountain board.
Would buying a new $400 park board help them learn faster? Maybe a little, but not really. They’re far better off spending that $400 on coaching lessons unless they’ve got a ton of money floating around.
The bottom line
If your snowboard is WAY off the type of snowboard you need (eg – 10 cm too big) – it will affect your ability to learn. However, for 9 out of 10 people, this isn’t the case and their current gear is fine.
Don’t fall into the trap of constantly thinking we need new/different gear when in most cases we just need to work on our technique and practice more.
Technique, practice and persistance affect our snowboard learning 1000 times more than having gear that’s perfect for you.
I’ve seen housemates go from beginner to stomping 360s and boardslides in 1 season while riding their stiff powder snowboards in the park. Your gear matters, but being willing to learn the correct techniques and practice them until you get it down wins at the end of the day.
Don’t let gear become a crutch or excuse for why you aren’t toughing it out and pushing through those roadblocks in your progression.
If your current gear isn’t quite perfect and you have the spare money, by all means go for it, but don’t use gear as a crutch to avoid pushing through roadblocks in your snowboarding.