Training for Snowboarding

When you are not actually on the slopes, or it is one of the other 51 weeks a year that the normal person is not on holiday, training for your sport will always make it easier. Snowboarding takes advantage of the legs and abdominals. Running, Squats and lunges work well to improve muscles in your legs, and boost your cardiovascular fitness. Crunches, or any other of the plethora of abdominal exercises will help tremendously as well, but remember to work the back muscles also. General flexibility will reduce the chance of sprains and make everything slightly less painful.


Stance:
Are you regular or goofy footed? This describes your footing. If you lead with your left foot you ride regular. Right, Goofy. Does it matter? Nope. Whatever is most comfortable. One easy way to find out is to stand straight and have someone push you from behind, or walk up a set of stairs. Which ever foot comes first most likely is the one you want to lead with on your board. Setting up your binding angles is pretty much a personal preference. Typically you will have your front foot at 10-25 degrees and your back foot at around 0-5 degrees. These are the common freeride settings. If you are looking for more of a freestyle option that will allow better swivle movement of your body use a 0-15 degree setting on the front foot and 0-10 degree setting on the back. You want to make sure that your boots dont hang over too much for this can prevent clean turns. A little is fine the boots are designed to take a beating but make sure its not effecting your riding. If it hangs over too much adjust your bindings position on the board and possiblly adjust the bindings back support if has one.

Pressure:
Snowboarding is largely about applying the correct pressure on the right areas of the board. When going down a hill you want to apply pressure to the front of the board by shifting your weight to the front. When I first started learning I was putting pressure to the back foot which helped out in me in wiping out a couple hundred of times. You do not have control if pressure is not in the front. Think of it as a badminton. When it is in the air it goes down to where the weight is. Same thing with snowboarding going down a hill.

Stopping:
Learning to fall and stop in the beginning is one of the best things you can do as a beginner. Because when you are going down a hill, don't have control, and are about to hit that little kid, you want to be able to avoid it. This holds true for avoiding trees too which can be more deadly.

Balance:
To help increase balance keep your hands low, with one on each side of the board doing this provides the greatest range of balancing movements.

Direction:
Always look torward the direction you want to go. This helps because your body will naturally want to shift wait to gain balance.

Gear:
I would definately suggest spending the extra dinero and buying Gortex/Waterproof-breathable clothing. This way you prevent having to buy equipment twice after you realize how horrible it feels to be wet, have trapped sweat between you and the apparellel, and or freezing. Spend the extra cash on reliable equipment. It makes a world of difference.

Snacks:
Carrying Powerbars, or any type of energy bar is a great idea. They are generally small/thin and fit easily in a pocket and can fill you up better than a sandwidch. I will occasionally tear through one during a lift. One thing to watch out for is if you store them in an outside pocket the cold weather can make them has hard as an icicle. This can also be avoided by getting the softer bars which take even longer to freeze up typically.

Snow:
Having problems with snow collecting on the top of your board? Try Pledge! Several people tell me it works great! (If you have stickers on your board you might not want to do this for it will soak through them). But hey, if you want to get rid of stickers there you go. :)

Lifts:
Lifts range from small rope tows all the way up to huge cable cars. The most common is the chair lift. These are the ones that most people enjoy because they are typically quick, and you can keep your gear on (most resorts make you remove your rear boot from its' binding so you can get on the lift properly, and of course you kind of need to peddle your board anyhow). Make sure you have a leash attached to your binding and boot so if you lose a binding your board does not end up flying down the hill and taking out anyone. There are two types of chairlifts available, those that are always connected to the cable in one spot, and those that detach so they can go slower for loading and then attach back to a spot on the cable once you are in one. If it is your first time on a lift tell the operators so they can take precautions for you. Good etiquette when getting off a lift is to ask where your fellow riders will be getting off, as in.. right or left. That way you can plan to not knock down each other once getting off the lift. If you are getting off a lift and start to lose balance dont grab onto the other riders to try and keep up or you will create a domino effect with the end result of more than just you on the ground crashed. Immediately get away from the unloading area so that other riders that are getting off do not run into you.

Dress:
Dress warm and make sure you have water proof gear because it sucks to be wet and cold. Hypothermia and frostbite are not fun either. Also make sure you have a good pair of goggles (or shades if you are good) to protect you from the power UVB rays on the slopes. The snow intensifies it by reflecting it everywhere.

Planning:
Planning when to go out. This site has a great weather section for checking out how the conditions will be at your resort. Also if you are new, it is even more beneficial to go on non-peak times so you have more time and terrain for yourself. Weekends and school holidays are usually the busiest. The worst is typically around winter vacation because a lot of people of that time off from school and work and the conditions are typically decent depending on where you are.

Helmets and Wrist Guards:
Boarders run into a lot less injuries than skiers because your legs are together at all times. There are some precautions you want to take while boarding.

Wrist Guards-Wrists injuries are at the top for snowboarders and every boarder with experience can tell you how bad it hurts to mess up a wrist. A great solution is to get a set of wrist guards. There are wrist guards you can simple slip into your existing pair of gloves and those that sell with gloves as a built in device. Buy purchasing a set you lower the risk of damaging your wrists tremendously and being it is the most common injury, that is a pretty good deal. Fogdogsells wrist guards and also more expensive gloves with them built in.

Helmets- Alright I will be the first to admit, helmets look goofy. But you know what? They save lives. Helmets more and more are looking stream lined and decent. I am sure bike riders felt the same way as a lot of us about them at one time. I have to say, every day I am looking for news for this site I find yet another article about yet a boarder who has died. I am seriously re-evaluating my look on helmets. They protect you and are worth the investment. The people you see on the mountain, you won't typically see them again any how. As you can see below in the submitted tips a lot of people suggest to wear a helmet. I suspect this is from their experience. Let's not go through the same bad experience. They are also available @ Fogdog.


Gear Maintenance-

Waxing:
You should wax your board at least every second or third day you hit the hills. Your board will run faster, and waxing will protect the base from the abrasion caused by snow, ice, and the occasion rock. Tired of having to take your board to the shop to get it waxed and then wait till they are done, which could be as long as a week? What about the price to have it done? Tired of that too? Waxing your board is not that tough. It is actually easier than you think.
Click here for a great how-to...

Tip:
No matter home lame you may think it is, spend the measly $20 or so and take lessons. By doing this you avoid picking up any bad habits that can hamper you getting better quicker, plus it gives you a good feel for the basic movements.