Also, I was surprised that the article didn't mention the one aspect that I actually found way harder than anything else to learn do reliably: going from sitting to standing on the board with your feet strapped in is HARD. I thought it was something I'd be able to learn through technique since I'm mostly in shape from a cardio perspective, but I just don't have the core strength to get up the proper way.
While I absolutely could never once manage to get up with my heels dug into the snow, I can easily get up from my toes. It sort of stinks though because I'm never facing downhill when I first get up, so I can't really see great downhill, but at least I know when people are coming behind me.
The obvious solution to the standing problem is just to fall less, but I haven't quite figured that out. So instead I've tried to do more lunges when I exercise. Probably won't be enough though.
You can use this technique to help you stand up from sitting on flat. Simply bend your back leg and bring your tail (or nose if you want to start in switch) closer to a riding position, and push your Central weight onto that side of the board. The board should flex, as you'd be doing a sort of manual as you stand up. Balancing like this might be difficult at first, but the technique is better than trying to stand up without using the board's flexible property.
Likewise, butter tricks are very fun and can be useful for beginners.
Another example: if you get get stuck on flat and think you need to unbuckle and walk, try this: stand facing the direction you want to go, and start running while still in the bindings. Use your nose and tail's flexibility to help popup the opposite side, to swing forward and continue the cycle. It looks ridiculous until you realize you can make good distance on flat without much efforts or unbuckling.
Kind of this: https://youtu.be/PRyQXSZfO0A?t=32
It takes practice, and it's about building muscles you have never used before!
Alternatively I go toe-side and stand up super easily because its just like getting up off of your knees if you fell to your knees on the ground. I stand up on my toe-side about 95% of the time now.
I was going to teach my girlfriend snowboarding. So we go up a hill with an easy lift. Once out we strapped the board, while sitting in the snow. I got up to get started. She did not get how to do that... and for me it was so natural that i could not understand the problem...
To sum up we survived a very severe crisis in our young relationship and she ended up taking lessons from a real teacher ;-)
Same! I went for the first time earlier this year. I plopped around for about a half day, but by the end of the second day I was doing some easier blues without too much problems.
I think the one thing skateboarding helped most with was being comfortable riding sideways. Also backside powersliding (carving?) is one of the most amazing feelings on a snowboard.
* Stopping in locations that have a little extra slope makes standing back up easy. On the far edge of a cat-track, on top of a bump, etc.
* Keeping an eye on snow conditions. Soft snow or powder makes standing up on your heel edge difficult to impossible. If you arm just pushes straight down 2' into the snow, you aren't getting up that way. Sometimes when you fall in fresh snow, you'll need to refill a hole five times over to create a stable packed spot to push off of. Those are the good days :)
But basically, experienced riders will stand up in the appropriate way for the terrain, on toe or heel. From there, they'll hop a 180, make a turn, etc to get in the direction you want. Forcing yourself to stand up in the non-optimal direction is a lot of extra work.
When sitting (front side downhill) pull your heel side edge as close as possible to your butt (more knee bend, how close are your calves to your thighs?) Dig the edge in hard as if you were carving. Lean your chest forward between your legs, including arms downhill of the board, so you center of gravity is close to over the board. Now stand UP with your legs. It's actually about flexibility more than strength. Your legs will be plenty strong if you have the starting position right.
You can practice this by sitting on the floor at home (no board, boots, snow pants, perfectly level floor) and just stand up without using your hands.
One nice thing about this way of standing up - if you slip you fall on your butt again instead of jamming your hand / wrist / arm.
The reason why most beginners have trouble is their calves are weak (you may think they are strong, they are not)
The most serious problem for most beginners is not knowing how to fall down properly. Roll on your shoulders or belly flop. Do not jam arms out front or behind you. Your wrists will thank me.
The reason why beginners fall down a lot is a combination of two factors: 1) they go to slow making it harder to turn and 2) they fail to look where they want to go. Looking down at the snow, at trees or at other people usually results in some type of wreck.
If you want to get better, learn to do moguls.
For beginners who are also skateboarders, you're used to turning and moving by pivoting on your foot behind you. In snowboarding (and surfing) it's the opposite foot, your front, that you pivot on.
Is this really much of an issue? I'm sure altitude sickness can occur at some places like breckenridge, but even there most people seem to adjust within a day or two. Altitude over 4km is a different story, but don't think there's a single resort in the world at that height.
edit : ok I was wrong, there are at least 5 resorts with a peak over 4km across China, India and Bolivia. still think those are outliers :D
Also the wrist guards - save yourself an visit to the emergency.
Or, go to a steeper part before strapping up.
Wish it was a more accessible sport in terms of economics.
Tickets can hurt. But most hills have specials, etc. Perhaps the times are a bit less convenient but none the less you can avoid full price with some tricks and effort.
The first couple hrs are critical, as is the overall aggregate experience of the first weekend. That is, some falling aside, enjoyment and a sense of progression is more important than actually skill. Skill increases with time.
With that said, after 6 weekends you should be past the crash & burn phase. Have you had a proper lesson? Something feels a miss.
The getting up thing is purely a strength problem. I can't do it from the floor either, can't do pushups, and I don't do enough strength training otherwise to fix that.
Regarding your problem just try and go back directly instead of standing on your heals. And then do it slower and slower till you can control the action.
Carving is actually riding faster than riding flat and straight.
the trick is to first, roll in the "opposite" direction.
When you are sitting down, roll backwards so the back of your neck is touching the snow, and the bottom of your board is pointing towards the sky
At this point, gravity is trying to pull you back down. Now, along with gravity, kick your legs to roll forward quickly. Gravity and momentum should effortlessly roll your upper body to be above the board.
this allows you to avoid having to use your arms to "push" your upper body above the board.
it's also much quicker, so you don't waste effort standing up, and can save your energy for actually snowboarding down hill
I know another guy who used to compete in big air competitions. Senior iOS developer.
My friend Brian does double cork 10s. Medical doctor.
This sport is for nerds. If you're nerdy, you have an even greater chance of being successful at it because you know how to focus on getting great at something.
The common ground is not just geekiness, it is money. Skiing is expensive, and in order to get good, you need to practice a lot.
I am curious to know how nerdy skateboarders are. Skateboarding and snowboarding share some similarities, but the former is much more affordable.
The accessibility of skateboarding puts it leagues ahead of an expensive sport possible only in certain locations at certain times of year.
A lot of skaters are very particular about their wheelbase, deck width, wheel size/durometer, tail/nose style.
Skaters are also obsessed with archival of magazines and video parts, leading to some nerdy discussions of 30 year old events that the mainstream would consider trivial.
It's impossible to not notice the atmosphere of rich white people at any winter resort.
I've had my current setup for five seasons. Same board. Same boots. Same jacket, helmet, pants, etc. If I do a back of the envelope calculation, my sport probably costs me $1,000 per year on average.
There really is such a thing as competence, work ethic, and patience. These traits tend to lead to success in other areas of life, including the accumulation of wealth and advancement in one's career. Not everything can, or should, be explained by privilege. Great people really do earn their greatness.
I bet a good number of people on HN are software engineers who have never had a job where they made less than $100K with "unlimited" vacation. For an hourly employee, the opportunity cost alone of skiing for a month can easily be $1000 -- I could be racking up overtime instead (and then go shoot hoops in the park, for free).
The average software engineer salary is roughly double the average salary, which in turn is about double the full time minimum wage salary. For a lot of people, "a few grand" is an insurmountable barrier. When you're living paycheck to paycheck, you're not even thinking about "accumulation of wealth and advancement" yet.
Pick smaller mountains for day trips or buy your pass when first on sale to a mountain that does not make snow. As just one example, an early pass to Homewood was $509.
I have sold equipment still in good working order for next to nothing. Probably the only thing you'll need to spend any coin on is boots that fit. Helmets can be had 50% (or more) off during the offseason.
Unless one happens to live in a skitown, snow sports are already more expensive than alternatives that don't require a roadtrip, let alone season passes.
If someone has an extra $250 a month to to spare for a hobby, they're already doing fairly well.
> you’ll spend a few grand ... 1000 dollars a year
Old Volvo 240, used gear, waterproof running pants with sweats underneath that I already owned. Total cost of entry was a few hundred dollars.
It's much better with expensive top-notch gear but so is everything else. And it's still cheaper than skiing.
Twenty years later cheap gear is radically improved and there's a much bigger used market. And if you live near Seattle you can hitch a ride with me to Stevens whenever.
If you don't want to pay for lift tickets you can get used split-board and avalanche gear and take an avalanche safety class for about a one-time $1500 expense and walk up mountains for free instead, even at resorts.
Also that's not the super frugal version of this. If you really wanted to, you could just buy all of your stuff on Craigslist. I've done that with some of my stuff, and you can get a huge discount.
You wouldn't believe the kind of people who buy gear, ride like two days, and then sell it a few years later. The market is glutted with this kind of stuff.
Having a lot of disposable income helps, too.
Or if you're a dirtbag, the ability to live as cheaply as possible so you can spend as much time as possible on the mountain.
It's not that expensive unless you have to travel far enough warranting an overnight stay. I was able to afford decent equipment and lift passes from working a cashier job in high school. You could buy used equipment for a family of 5 for under $1000. Check out craigslist in some mountain towns, you can find higher end equipment that's a only a few years old for dirt cheap.
>You could buy used equipment for a family of 5 for under $1000. Check out craigslist in some mountain towns, you can find higher end equipment that's a only a few years old for dirt cheap.
I recently went to Berlin and Prague, and met a lot of people who worked in tech that had quit their job to travel for 6 months.
1. Get a flying-v or CamRock - makes turning easier and will hold an edge better until you figure out how to carve.
2. Don't put your feet perpendicular to the board, you want some angle, 30° Front, 15° Back. It will make it easier to square your shoulders down the hill and get your weight on the front of your edge.
3. Start on a Blue slope. Seriously. I hate seeing beginners exhausting themselves on green slopes straining to get enough speed to get on edge and then catching the opposite edge because there is not enough slope.
If the conditions are not good, i.e. hard-pack or icy, then put the board away. Trying to learn in poor conditions is counterproductive and very painful on your ass, wrists and head.
At the same time, I was living in the Midwest a few years, and the only black diamond I found honestly wasn't even as steep or interesting as the intro blue square I mentioned before.
So, your advice might be accurate in context of a beginner mountain, but at many resorts blue diamonds are best left to intermediates only.
I don't love all your advice.
1. Sure, marketing gimmicks are great, and you're right, it will help a little. Learning good technique will help a lot more. Learn how to control the edge and how to turn the board when you want to turn the board.
2. 30 front and 15 rear is too much of a difference, which means you'll never learn switch, and things will feel wrong when the board accidentally goes the wrong way (beginners get this all the time). WAAAAY better to go something like 18 front and 12 rear. i.e. it's like 15/15 duck, but then move both of them forward 3 degrees.
CASI (Canadian Association Of Snowboard Instructors) are fine if you want to go "forward facing" like your 30 front foot, but you have to do it all the time if you want to pass any exams, which gets hard. It's not a good footing to build your snowboarding career from (excuse the pun)
3. No. Three thousand times no. Then another thousand times. (I'm not trying to be a jerk, but you just failed your CASI Level 1 instructor exam.)
One of the biggest parts of the level 1 instructor exams is terrain selection, for very good reason. It depends a lot on the temperature at the time, and the snow conditions, but more often than not you do not want a blue slope for a never-ever. Find a green slope that does NOT go off to either side. ie. you roll a snowball down it, the snowball goes straight down the middle, it doesn't veer off to either side.
If you go too steep, your students will be terrified of the "dead zone" when they are between edges and pointing down the fall line, because they will accelerate and be afraid. That's how you teach people to go top to bottom on one edge, which is not what we want.
You MUST pick a suitable slope so the student is not afraid to actually make turns, otherwise they'll never progress. I see this in students all the time who say "I can snowboard" and they go down pretty fast, all the while standing perfectly still on their heel edge.
For what it's worth, I had been snowboarding for 5 or 6 years before I took an instructor course. Before the course I would aggressively go down all the double-black runs on the mountain, as fast as anyone, and fell rarely.
During the Level 1 course my mind was blown, my snowboarding was torn back to square one and I have been building on a correct foundation ever since. It's like a whole new sport, and I fell in love with it all over again. The title of this post caught my attention because I'm a Geek who learns and does things very intellectually. I highly, highly recommend taking an instructor course, even if you never intend to teach. It's the cheapest lessons from a very experienced instructor you'll ever get.
100% correct on this one (obviously, you're an instructor). I find the hardest/scariest part of people learning snowboarding OR skiing is the point in the middle of a turn when they have to face downhill and start to pick up speed.
Usually the trick is to get them to point and look across the hill (not down the fall line) so a) they won't get scared and b) they'll go across and make the turn, rather than rocketing down!
Not true. Mentally you'll be riding reverse even with full duck stance. People do it on skis and alpine boards. But people put on a very awkward stance for regular riding because they feel they can't ride switch otherwise.
But the difference is with duck when you ride switch everything feels the same stance-wise because your two feet are still at the same angle they always where.
If you ride with 30 on the front and 15 on the back, when you ride switch you will feel like your front foot doesn't have enough angle (because it only has 15 when you are used to 30) and your back foot has stupidly too much angle (because it's 30.... which is plain stupid for your back foot).
You never, ever want to ride with 30 on your back foot, which means if you have that 30/15 stance, you're locking yourself out of switch riding.
And you might say "who cares, I hate switch anyway", which is a perfectly valid thing to say, but riding switch even for just one or two runs a day is an excellent, excellent way to improve your all around riding. So if you don't do it, you're severely limiting your potential.
If you set up your binding angles for stuff they don't do at all or not very often you're taking out the fun of what they're actually doing in favor of something they might feel they should be to fulfill the image of what a snowboarder does.
And all I'm saying is that riding reverse / fakie is more of a mental thing than something that you should reflect in your bindings. I regularly saw people and alpine bindings carving down steep slopes on race boards that have no rear tip at all. I can ride reverse on a simple blue slope, not carving yet but I really didn't try that hard yet.
One of the prime reasons skiing took off again is that you'll rent a pair of hard boots with carve ski's for going down groomers and they're way easier because they're optimized for what people actually do all day on the mountain: going down groomers at moderate to fast speed.
Riding switch is still a fantastic way to improve your riding - yes, even just "going down" groomers. And a more balanced stance allows you to do that.
It also keeps more of your body more balanced over the board when things go wrong, so you stand a better chance of regaining control because more of your body (hips, knees) are symmetrical.
I'm not even really talking about my personal opinion here, this is straight from CASI.
I see a lot of students get to the point you describe then Plataea. Without seeing you ride, I'm guessing you are not always going where the nose of the board is pointing, but often sliding down the fall line - either a lot or a bit. So after you make a turn (swap edges), you might be going across a little, but you're also going down. This will be evident by the line you're leaving in the snow. If it's a thin line going across the slope, I'm wrong. Chances are it's a big washy scrape that goes down as much (or more) than it goes across.
When you're not going where the board is pointing, you don't have a good stable base and balance, so when something like a bump or tricky snow comes along, you fall.
To improve this, do some edging exercises, and really concentrate on making a turn, then absolutely go across the run on a diagonal, really going where the nose of the board is pointing. Point with your front hand and arm where you want to go (across the fall line) and look there with your whole head. Practice in both directions so you are doing it on both edges.
You can even traverse so hard you actually go back up hill a little. It's good edging practice.
You will use your knees & the muscles in your legs and ankles to change how your edge is biting into the snow so you can actively control how much you're traversing across, vs how much you're sliding down the fall line.
Once you get the feeling of going where the snowboard is actually pointing you will feel what I mean and it becomes addictive!
Good luck & Have fun!
You need a _wide_ slope with good snow. Could be an Austrian black, as long as you have enough time to ride to the sides in between turns. Slopes that are too flat are bad for sure.
3 - its not that they can't get enough speed on a green slope, it is that they panic. It is very difficult for most people to grasp that turning is actuall easier at (reasonable) speed. Even on greens it is pretty easy to push 40+ mph.
Maybe its just me but I ride duck stance, so front foot point towards the front of the board and back foot points slightly towards the back. Makes riding switch a lot easier.
But for about 2 years now I've been wondering what I don't yet know that an instructor night teach me. So I'm going to get me an instructor when I next go in Jan.
I've been skiing my entire life (age 3 to currently 28) and a spent a great deal of time with an instructor.
My girlfriend has also been skiing her entire life, pretty much never with an instructor. Her first time she joined me and my family with the instructor, she was blown away by how much the instructor was able to improve her skiing in ~20 minutes of teaching.
Seriously, good ones know their shit.
"__ can resonate with the geek inside us because it has gadgets, it requires systematic approach to our own progress and it provides a lot of satisfaction and fun we typically find in the creative process."
Is there any human endeavor which could not fill the blank here?
I tried Driver X boots for example. Way to rigid compared to the forward flex of my hardboots!
This guy  is basically my hero, and I'm slowly working towards it. My brother just got a custom board with 290mm waist width, I'm going to get a 320 or 330mm for my size 12 feet.
I can link turns laid down on a good day on a good slope but it's not even half as nice as what they do.
The trick is doing that with soft boots!
People use Sika 252 or Covergom I think. Use it for gloves and your hips, mine wear out like crazy on frozen groomers.
You should try New England :) I'd add that skiing is superior if you're doing a lot of backcountry traversing as well. The only remedy is to either learn to ski or get a split board (which will set you back $800+).
So not only helmet but other stuff as well, like those spine protection jackets.
But there was something about it that seemed promising, so I stuck with it. The initial learning curve is really steep. I was a far better skier after far less effort at the same point than snowboarding. But after keeping at it a few times I finally got parts of it to "click". I'm still terrible, but I rarely fall now and can generally make it down most blue slopes without too much fuss, something I really struggled with on skis.
It works far more of your core muscles and your quads and hamstrings that skiing does, so it takes some time to figure out how to control all that with the precision.
The key for me was to really understand that the board itself wasn't something I rode on top of, but instead of was a living vessel I was part of, and that I could twist, rotate and otherwise manipulate using movements in my legs, subtle shifts in center of balance and core muscles. Once that started to make sense it became much easier and I found it far easier and more rewarding that skiing for me.
Skiing is many moving parts you have to coordinate, snowboarding is one moving part with many subtle means of expression. It's a bit like the difference between playing a drumkit and playing a violin if that makes sense for any musicians.
> It works far more of your core muscles and your quads and hamstrings that skiing does, so it takes some time to figure out how to control all that with the precision.
If you're skiing hard, the core and quads are fully engaged. Especially in deep snow. In fact, I suspect that you need more engagement on skis.
> The key for me was to really understand that the board itself wasn't something I rode on top of, but instead of was a living vessel I was part of, and that I could twist, rotate and otherwise manipulate using movements in my legs, subtle shifts in center of balance and core muscles. Once that started to make sense it became much easier and I found it far easier and more rewarding that skiing for me.
Everything you said here about snowboarding applies to skiing, however it takes longer for that to click on skis because there's more to coordinate.
> Skiing is many moving parts you have to coordinate, snowboarding is one moving part with many subtle means of expression.
I definitely agree with the sentiment of one moving part with subtle means of expression, but when you get good at skiing, it starts to feel more like one moving part.
This is my experience as someone who snowboarded for 15ish years before switching to skiing a few years ago.
I love the symmetry to skiing, and the experience of begin square to the fall line.
From my own experience, and watching a number of other friends, the first 2-3 days of skiing is easier than the first 2-3 days of snowboarding.
These days I'll happily ski/board most places on most mountains (in-resort, at least) but if I'm getting into technical terrain will vastly prefer a snowboard.. much quicker recovery time if you fall, often you can just bounce back up w/out fully stopping. I'd argue that snowboards are more fun in the pow as well.. skis are great for the hard-and-fast groomer days!
If you're a nerd, and you like skiing / boarding, then check out ski touring / splitboarding. Add backcountry travel, navigation, skin track setting, & most importantly avalanche / snow safety, and you've got a sport that is almost endless in terms of things to learn & keep in mind while you're out and about. And it's excellent exercise while you're at it!
I found that once you’ve learned snowboarding that it works really well on many conditions from icy to powder, groomed and ungroomed. The trails do make a difference though. Skiers can manage narrow trails or catwalks easily no matter the slope. Snowboarding these tails can be difficult because boarders need to maintain enough speed to make it though the flat spots (no poles!) while not having much room to burn off excess speed by traversing the fall line, especially when there are lots of skiers traveling at a modest pace with their poles. Also moguls aren’t much fun for me on a board. Skiers have a tighter turning radius and the resulting mogul fields end up difficult for me on a board (I’m sure good boarders handle them just fine, but I can’t).
You really need to get out there and learn to do moguls. It will improve your boarding considerably. Start with a lesson or two and target days you know the bumps aren't ice boulders. Technique varies but common is always keep moving (you'll learn to hate the skiers who stop every four turns in front of you).
> Skiing and snowboarding does have a reputation of being a risky sport, but the overall injury rate for skiers is a little lower than you may expect with 3 injuries per 1000 skier days. Put another way, if you ski 20 days a year, on average you’ll sustain an injury every 16-17 years. Snowboarders have a higher injury risk with a reported 4-16 injuries per 1000 snowboarder days.
See also: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1303417/
Snowboarding has been my connection with nature since I was a kid. When I finished my Eagle Scout project and moved to the city, I was left with this hole for nature that needed to be filled.
Now as an adult living in a city, my reconnection with nature is through snowboarding. Once I started riding deep powder in Canada, Japan, and Europe, my life changed.
There are few things in my life more awe-inspiring than a fresh pow day and untouched trails. And until you've experienced it, it's very difficult to describe that feeling you get when touching nature in a way few experience.
My grandfather skied until he was 89. I hope to make it that far as well.
ALSO, my first job was working in a ski shop as a kid. And I totally geek out about snowboarding gear, so I'm happy to make recommendations to anyone here looking for board/boots/bindings/accessories/clothing gear/backcountry items/etc.
If you do decide to head into the backcountry, take an AIARE level 1 avalanche course, and be sure to buy a pole, shovel, and transponder: http://aiare.info/providers_list.php
FINALLY, tips after reading through the whole beginner recommendation chart:
* TAKE LESSONS. LOTS OF THEM. They may be expensive, but an immersive 2/3 day lesson plan will rapidly accelerate your learning. The less you know, the more you fall. The more days you fall, the more pain you're in. Save your ass (literally) and just take as many lessons as you can afford until you're linking turns and carving down the mountain. Then take more :)
* GEARTRADE.COM - This site looks like it was made in 2002 but they have the best deals. A lot of the Backcountry.com returns get sent here, so it's basically like-new quality for a fraction of the cost.
* For a board, get a true twin. If I could go back and learn all over again, I'd learn switch as quickly as I learned regular. A twin board helps immensely.
* Boots matter probably even more than the board and bindings. If you're gonna drop cash, drop them here and in the clothes so you stay warm/dry.
* DO NOT GET STEP-IN BINDINGS. Even the 2nd gen of Burton step-ins are improved, but people still have problems with them. The ease you get (even with the Flow bindings) doesn't make up for the lack of contact/feel you get with traditional bindings. The analogy I think of is like a Tesla - yeah you could get autonomous driving capabilities, but it's just not there yet. Save your money and wait a few more years before putting all of your faith in this system.
* It's easy to get caught up in the Burton hype. Burton is a very holistic company in that they can get you a board/boots/bindings/clothes. And they're not a bad company. It's just that there are also a lot of other great companies that make stuff as well.
* Get bib pants. Even if you aren't riding pow in the backcountry, trust me. Bibs provide more freedom of movement, you never have to worry about bringing a belt or it snapping/breaking on a ride, and even if you're on a trail and you eat it, you could still get snow up your back.
* DON'T OVERSPEND ON GLOVES. Someone will try and justify Gore Tex Hestras to you. Just pick up KINCO 901 SKI MITTENS. There's a reason every ski patrol and service person wears them. They're cheap (<$20), durable as hell, and can be waterproofed with bee's wax in about 1 hour.
* Don't wear cotton. Always prefer poly base layers and down/fleece mid layers. They can be had for very cheap at the basement outlet stores (TJMaxx, Marshalls, etc).
* On that note, YMMV but if you layer properly, you basically have 0 need for an insulated jacket. That saves you money to spend higher on outer layers that focus on waterproofing. Plus you can use that uninsulated shell as a rain jacket in the sprint/summer.
* Goggles are another thing to spend up on. The last thing you want is compromised vision. Get goggles that have interchangeable lenses (I prefer the Electric EG3 for super wide visibility and easy/cheap interchangeable lenses). GET 1 FOR CLOUDY/DARK AND 1 FOR SUNNY/BRIGHT. Don't worry about mirrored lenses; if you can afford to spend up on polarized it will help in bright conditions, but for cloudy it won't matter, though generally yellow is considered the best lens color for dark conditions (superior to amber and rose).
* I highly recommend the YouTube subscriptions mentioned. SnowboardProCamp and Snowboarding Addiction are awesome instructional videos. Ryan Knapton has the best buttering technique as I've ever seen.
* Yes, buttering is a thing. And it's awesome.
Board choice is also important, especially for a beginner. Worst mistake a novice can make is getting a board that is too stiff or (and it usually goes hand in hand) one with too large a turning radius.
Besides don't get step-ins, I would avoid Flow bindings as well. They are convenient until they aren't :)
When buying goggles, ALWAYS BRING YOUR HELMET. If you have only one choice of lens color (because of $) get yellow or the lightest mirrored orange/amber. Bluebird days will be a little bright but there are usually more cloudy days and shadows come early in the winter. Depth perception is the key.
Watching YouTube videos would probably serve a similar purpose, but the interactivity of the game made it especially useful for me (besides, YouTube didn’t exist when I learned in the late 90s). For the record, I played 1080 Snowboarding on the Dreamcast, may it rest in peace. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1080%C2%B0_Snowboarding
I think the "easier" depends on the target skill level.
Skiiing is easier to achieve a beginner skill level. Absolute beginners can point their toes inward and ski "pizza wedges" down easy hills rated as "green" within a few hours. Indeed, many skiiers including adults never leave this stage. But upgrading the skills to intermediate level requires changing the technique to shift the body weight to the edges of the skis. This shift can take weeks.
Snowboarding learning curve is the opposite. It's harder to get going as a beginner because you must balance on alternating edges of the board to even make the simplest basic turns. But the payoff is that you can graduate to intermediate and advanced slopes (the blues and black rated trails) much faster.
They had a good combination of steeper bits to build speed and then leveled off to allow me to "regroup" and recover if I was pushing myself a bit. I understand how funny it is to think of "pushing yourself" on a green trail but this was the first time I'd gone skiing. The length of the trails helped a lot since even without being a major challenge, I could enjoy gliding through the woods for a good while before having to get back in line for the lift.
I didn't even bother with the short "bunny slopes" after a preliminary run or two since they were not long enough to get a feel for it before you had to just stop and start over.
I went a few more times over that winter and the next one and got to the point where I was feeling good on some of the easier "blues". I understood how edges worked and it mostly felt natural.
Snowboarding was very different for me. I have never taken the time to get any good at it because starting off is just so uncomfortable, awkward, and un-fun for me. I guess with skiing, it feels like the very basics feel like normal standing posture with some modification. I liked my legs being separate and not both strapped together in one direction.
What you're saying makes complete sense to me. I don't go often enough to ever get particularly good but I can still have fun and get some exercise as a noob skier. I've never had fun as a noob snowboarder and it makes it harder to put in the effort knowing that I don't have the money and time to devote to getting past that stage and to the fun parts.
There are some ski schools that skip the "pizza wedge" technique and teach beginners directly the weight on edge parallel skis turns. They're very, very progressive independent schools usually. In the French Alps, you can ask about the ESF, which have schools everywhere, and in some (very rare) places teach like this.
That being said, in a normal 6 day ESF beginners class you would start learning parallel ski turns by day 3 if everything goes OK, after doing the usual pizza wedge the first days.
Alpine skis were nearly straight sided when I were a lad and "carvers" only started to appear in the 80's. Transitioning from snow plough, sometimes through stem christies (turn downhill ski and lift and bring uphill ski into it) to proper parallel turns was a rite of passage. Modern skis lend themselves to point and turn much earlier.
When I teach I try to do both snow plough and parallel together because they are both useful techniques. Snow plough for control of speed and stability and parallel for general usage.
One technique I rarely see these days (apart from me) is the "kick turn" which is where you turn yourself 180 degrees in place, regardless of slope. It looks a lot cooler than back sliding and then wacking in a quick slow speed turn.
1) You want your weight biased towards your front foot on a snowboard, when you get competent at riding you will be doing a lot of control with the front foot. This is the opposite to skateboarding, where leaning on the front leg will cause you to fall over very quickly.
2) Toeside turns on a snowboard are utterly counterintuitive because there's no real mapping to anything on a skateboard (unlike heelside which could be considered like a fs powerslide on a skateboard) - you have to push your shins into your boots. Maybe it's a bit like carving on a longboard, but not so much.
The whole turning thing is the main difference - on a snowboard you use your front foot and your edges, on a skateboard you just pivot on the trucks.
(Source: 20 years as a skateboarder, now spend about 30 days a year on the slopes instead).
Did one day of 2x2 hour lesson, then could board well enough to do intermediate runs and manage on t-bar and chair lifts.
Most abiding memory, very cold arse. We broke for lunch after the first 2 hours and I had difficulty using the loo because I couldn't feel my arse at all.
Great fun, but for the last couple of days of the trip I went back to skis. There's something about the rhythmb that matched mountain-biking for me.
Day after the snowboarding lessons I couldn't sit up in bed, had to roll over, my tummy was so sore. I'd recommend lots of sit-ups and squats to get your abs ready!
I think it's easier to learn to board.
But then for some reason I thought to ride it like a rip stick. And it completely clicked. I made it all the way down that very first run from there. Some of my group members had snowboarded multiples times before that day, but I was pretty much instantly better than most of them. As a side note, I also used to skateboard and didn't feel like it helped at all.
I never skated on a regular board but I'd say yes you will have it easier.
If you do it just like on the skateboard, you will fall a lot.
'Skiing is easy to learn but hard to master, Snowboarding is hard to learn but easier to master'.
You're likely to fall over more learning to snowboard but will become competent and able to carve down the mountain faster.
Other elements to consider, Skiers are usually able to go faster than snowboarders down the hill. Snowboarders will have to unstrap and strap into their back binding when entering and exiting the chairlifts. Snowboarders have many more easy trick options available. I know hardly any skiers that can do any tricks, most of my competent snowboarding friends are able to at least do small jumps of sidehits (mounds of snow on the sides of the slope).
I'm a passionate snowboarder and cannot recommend the sport highly enough, there is just no feeling like riding down fresh powder snow on a cool winters morning!
I don't see many boarders who can handle mogul fields without looking miserable. Likewise, when you've got some vertical ice skating going on a double diamond, the skiers usually have a much easier time maintaining control (two edges and all that).
I'll also note that a flat traverse is way more miserable for a boarder, skiers can "skate" along.
All depends on what you want to do any your interests.
Either way, it's a great hobby.
And when I say waxing, I mean doing it yourself. Too many shops do really inferior work. If you must use a shop, keep a small structure brush with you. A credit card can be used in a pinch as a scraper. The bane of speed is wax left on the board.
So apart from the first couple of days, I don’t think it really makes that much difference.
The biggest difference to me, I have to admit, is that once you get the hang of it, snowboarding feels cooler and more fun than skiing looks (to me), but I’m sure skiing is a lot of fun too (especially if you want to go very fast, which is a lot easier on skis)! But for the first day or two of boarding, you spend a lot of time on your butt and falling over!
Skiing is all about not falling. Falling on skis is no fun and results in having to walk up the slope to find your skis. After your first season, you'll often go entire years with only a fall or two. And those hurt, so you avoid them.
Snowboarding is a sport where you fall all the time, even as an expert. There are no consequences to doing so, apart from maybe picking your hat up, so the best plan is to simply go for it and see what happens. If you bite it, you bounce back up before you even come to a complete stop and keep going.
Naturally, it hurts a lot the first season. But you get good fast. I skied for like 10 years before picking up snowboarding. And I was better at snowboarding within the first season.
Once you catch an edge or slide out on a board, you're on the ground. I've seen skiers fall back on to their skis and rocket down the hill uncontrolled.
The other downside is not being able to traverse flat terrain, which is more or less important depending on the resort you are at.
Skiing was intuitive and my body wanted to do enough of the right thing to get me down most of the beginner slope with little "learning". Snowboarding felt unnatural so i had to fight my bodies natural instincts. The trick with snowboarding is to go faster than feels comfortable at first because it is much easier when you have momentum.
I had the same feeling with skiing.
1. Lean forward to stop and get control when ur instinct is to lean back to stop the glide.
2. lean on the opposite side of where you want to go, you want to lean in the same direction.
Lessons will definitely help shorten the learning time but be prepared for your first 3-5 days to be a painful experience if you're snowboarding. If you only go 3-5 days a season you're probably going to have a much better time on skiis.
It's an incredibly moving and honest look at the beginnings of the sport.
Burton deserves many kudos but there are/were a lot of others who did as much to advance the sport. Few have the longevity and balls of Jeremy Jones and it really hurt losing Craig Kelly as just two examples.
I did o.k., but after a few years I still hadn't gotten that "flow".
After a few years of skiing, I tried boarding and got "flow" the second day when there was 12 inches of fresh pow, even though I still sucked at it.
Immediately switched and haven't looked back. Several years later, it dawned on me that waterskiing is done on a single ski, so it is much closer to snowboarding. Your feet are just at a different angle. Seems obvious in hindsight.
Isn't waterskiing on a single ski called wakeboarding? Where I grew up in Florida plenty of people waterskiied on 2 skis.
Wakeboards and skurfers (if those are still around) are wider than a slalom ski and don't have both feet facing forward. They are closer to a snowboard.
But I find the most fun behind a boat is on a regular surfboard.
Also, it's infrequent, but I have avoided a few collisions because people yelled out at me when I was popping out of the trees onto a piste.
I notice once I get a few beers in me I'm much better.
This article has great content! But at best I'm amateur skier not a snowboarder.
A few years ago I moved to Austria. Last year my young son wanted to start skiing, so in my mid-40s I'm also learning.
The amount of time I researched which skis and boots to buy would easily be above 40 hours. Then searching the Internet for the best bargains again added more time.
Pretty much after just one season, I'm now into waxing my own skis. Another total geek activity. So many different waxes for different conditions.
Then watching the weather and trying to figure out where the best snow will be for next weekend, that has to qualify as geek.
However nowadays I seldom do it, as I fear to suffer a 2nd injury and recovery from the first one wasn't that fun.
Wear a helmet.
Seriously WEAR A HELMET.
1 Get a lesson. Keep your knees bent, lead your turns with your arm and front knee.
2 Blues are easier to learn on then greens because the pitch helps you stay up. I have gotten overweight / out of shape older guys from LA, that have never even seen snow, to be confident riders in a day using this trick and the 'falling leaf' method.
3 The first two days will be painful generally, stick with it because once it 'clicks' you will have so much fun!
When I lived in Chamonix a lot of the enthusiast boarders had fractured spines - now there's one to avoid. Mostly from going over cliff like drops by error, off piste.