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Snowboarding tips for a skier

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've skied for a while now and would consider myself intermediate. I love powder and can get down the blacks but my technique is not perfect. I'm not afraid to fall or go fast as a skier.

I'm getting the chance for some cheap good snowboarding lessons soon and would love some tips for being successful. I will get lessons for the first half of the day and am on my own (with some skier friends) for the rest of the day. I just want to be able to get down the hill in a reasonable fashion. All help is welcome.
post #2 of 17

I ski and snowboard, double blacks on both...


My advice if you haven't snowboarded before is to get the shorts with a pad over the sacrum/coccyx  (butt pad) and a set of gloves or inserts with wrist guards. You'll use them both, and better off your pads and wrist guards hit the ground before skin and bones... Of course a helmet, if you edge in heel side you may slam your head hard into the snow.  Also, I'd start with a rocker board instead of a camber board, it will be a little more forgiving.


Boarding is fun, i really have a hard time deciding which to do. 

post #3 of 17



Skiers tend to fall back on skier muscle memory when not focusing on specific snowboard movements. Skier movements try to make the board go sideways. This means fighting the edges. That a good way to get tired. For some reason steel is stronger than muscle. Go figure. There are 4 ways to make a snowboard turn:

1) Whichever foot has the most weight is the one that wants to be going down hill.

2) You can pivot your feet either via a scissors motion or via rotating the feet

3) You can but the board on edge

4) You can twist the board along it's length


1) Whichever foot has the most weight is the one that wants to be going down hill.

Your natural reaction to going faster down the hill is to back away from downhill. This puts weight onto the back of the board. This will cause the board to spin around. It's a cool thing to do a lot of on purpose to do 360s. It's a frustrating thing when you don't realize why the board is spinning when you don't want it to. It's really cool to weight the front foot at the start of a turn to get it started. this is hard for beginners to do when going straight down hill. It's easier to do when going across the hill.


2) You can pivot your feet either via a scissors motion or via rotating the feet

If the board is flat on the snow and you kick one foot forward while bringing the other foot back in a scissors motion you will change the orientation of the board. If the board is moving you can accomplish the same effect by turning both feet in the direction you want the board to rotate. This is cool for changing which way the board is pointing, but the board won't travel in a different direction unless it is edged,,


3) You can but the board on edge

Because a board is skinny in the middle and fat at both ends like skis, if you put it on edge it will travel in an arc the same way skis will. We talk about toe side turns where a person with their left foot forward standing on their toes will make the board turn to the right (goofy footers with their right foot forward would make a toe side turn to the left). When you do a toe side turn it's hard to balance without a slight arch to your back. When you do a heel side turn, it's like sitting in a chair. Balancing depends on how fast you are going and how steep the slope pitch is. Some people find toe side turns easier to do because they are looking uphill and it is not as scary. Some people find heel side turns easier because the site move is easier. It's like skiers making turns better in one direction vs another.


4) You can twist the board along it's length

This is where you try to be on toe edge on the front foot while being on heel edge on the back foot or vice versa. Most beginners don't do this move at all. Some find it is the only way to get a turn started successfully.


Upper level riders use all 4 movements blended together, Beginners learn fastest when they can practice these movements just in their boots, then with one foot in the board, then with two feet in the bindings on flatter terrain. Some people learn quicker by graduating quickly to slightly steeper terrain where they can feel the edges engage in the snow easier. You will learn the fastest when you can feel the edge engage and have the board turn you vs you turning the board. If you can hold an edge and traverse across the slope and turn uphill to a stop, then reverse direction (akak falling leaf) you find this the most comfortable way to get your first day on a board to be successful. Other folks believe that a "J" turn (going straight down the hill then stomping on the front foot toe or heel to twist the board) is the fastest way to learn. Your mileage may vary.


Some people have trouble figuring out which foot should be forward. In general if you are right footed, you ride left foot forward. Some people feel more comfortable riding with their strong foot forward. This is more prevalent among people with experience in sideways sports like surfing or skateboarding. If you're not sure, don't worry. Snowboarders spend time riding backwards and most beginner boards are non-directional (they work the same no matter which foot is in front/whether you ride forward or backward).


Definitely start out on a beginner board. They are softer, easier to bend and have beveled edges that are harder to catch/slam into the snow. The number one injury to first time riders is a wrist injury. This happens most often when you side slipping down the slope and catch a downhill edge. As you fall, it's only natural to try to brace the fall with your arms. Because the feet don't release from the bindings, you lever in and the arms can not absorb the impact and the wrists are the first to suffer,

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
These are wonderful tips! Thanks so much for the essay Rusty. I will be studying.

For turn style #4 you mentioned twisting the board. Are you saying in similar style to a ripstick? I'm good at riding those.

I know with skiing, stability comes with speed. Is it the same with snowboarding?

Keep the tips coming!
post #5 of 17

Yes on the ripstick.

No on the stability. Stability comes from edge engagement (as opposed to skidding), the hips and shoulders lined up parallel to the board or foot stance, center of mass moving to the nose of the board at the start of a turn/toward the tail through the finish and center of mass travelling from heel to toe through the start of toe side turns/toe to heel through heel side turns. Speed increases centrifugal force, but this will only increase skidding if the elements above are not also occurring.


One more tip on stance angles. Stance angle is the alignment of the foot relative to the board. When bindings are set at 0,0 it means that both feet are set perpendicular to the board (pointing to the side edges). A +90, -90 stance angle would mean the front foot pointing to the nose of the board and the back foot pointing to the tail (nobody rides this way). A traditional stance (e.g. +15, +8) has both feet angled forward slightly. A duck stance (e.g. +6, -6) has the front foot angled forward and the back foot angled to the tail. Snowboarders on alpine boards typically ride with aggressive stance angles (e.g. +60, +55). Several schools prefer beginners to start with a duck stance. You should choose a stance that is comfortable and works best for you. Experimenting with different stance angles can be helpful and a learning opportunity.

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks again, my lessons are tommorow at Nordic Valley in Utah. They got a few inches of snow so it should be nice and soft. I'll be wearing padded baseball sliding shorts under my ski pants to possibly prevent a few bruises. Hopefully I will do well!
post #7 of 17

I do both as well (comfortable on double blacks, carving or off the park kickers on both).

Some good advice above, I'd also say that unlike skiing, there is a split second of time (when boarding) where you will have to just let it go (a brief moment where you don't feel you have total control) when your board is pointing straight downhill and you have to trust your edges will engage and you can complete your turn. Having only the one edge to use at a time creates this feeling.


I always suggest giving it a good 3 days to feel you have some sort of's not hard, but trust me when I say you'll be landing on your butt, knees and wrists A LOT in those early days. (doesn't matter how good of a skier you are).


I remember my first day boarding long ago (was a decent skier at the time) and almost gave up on it because I spent most of my first day either on my butt or in the snowboard version of a "snowplow".  However stuck with it and all of a sudden it clicked and I was linking turns.  Didn't take much longer to start ripping those turns and my fun factor jumped tremendously.  So have patience and enjoy the learning process.

post #8 of 17

Oh and as a skier you'll appreciate the importance of getting out of the way off the lift and buckling up off to the side where you aren't in the middle of the path!

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 

Just got home and all I can say is WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL THESE YEARS!!! My lessons started and my instructor instantly noted that I had a natural ability for snowboarding. Funny, my ski instructor a few years ago said the same. By the end of a 2 hour lesson I was ripping toe side and heal side turns. I kept on spying some good looking powder off to the sides of the run and eventually went for it and powder is a blast on a snowboard. By the end of the day I skied a few blacks and some off-piste. I might just have to sell my ski stuff and get a snowboard. Only thing i didn't like was the flats.

post #10 of 17
Glad you had fun. Without any doubt, ripping turns in powder on a board is an unbelievable surfy feeling that just cannot be matched using skis.
post #11 of 17

I agree! but not so fast with selling everything yet. I went exclusively to boarding for a couple of years and now have an appreciation for both. I will hit terrain on a board and switch out at the condo to skis and go back. I enjoy boarding and prefer it usually, but if your cruising and relaxing on a long run skis are great. The kicker jumps are easier (for me) on skis and took a while to approach comfortably on a board. Even now, I won't do kickers over 25ft on a board.. just don't need to do that in my 40's.


I agree, as a skier and boarder I realize how much boarders clog the area around the ramp at the top of the lift. That exact issue actually made me switch to rear entry Flow bindings so I get off the lift and bend over to snap the heel in and keep going.. very quick and no sitting down. (although the bindings are hard to setup properly and are difficult to get on in lots of powder.) Also, boarders take up more room getting on and off the lift since they are to the side of their board. Skiers have an advantage getting on and off for sure. Since Im taller, i usually let everyone jump off the chair first and Im the last one to stand up and get moving. It avoids banging back and forth or having a skier push the board with their poles. If the chair is full of beginners, Ill jump off early to avoid a possible pile up.


Im glad you like it!  Its like wake boarding and waterskiing. Both are worth doing

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yup! Skied again yesterday and decided i may get a snowboard but will definitely keep my skis. I had the ability to go places no snowboard could have today.
post #13 of 17

I've split my time 50/50 between skiing and boarding the past twenty years and plan to continue to do so.



post #14 of 17

I agree with everything that Rusty said.


As a summary, I think it's really important to start getting a feel for edge turns. Just start on one side of the hill slope, and commit to doing a "J" turn across the hill until you come to a stop. Then switch to the other edge and cross back to the other side.


Once you're comfortable with the balance on heel and toe side, next is linking turns. As someone mentioned above, this is tricky for snowboarders because you basically have only 1 ski, so until you develop the intuition and muscle memory, there's a high risk of edge catches.


There are different techniques for switching edges. One effective way is to use the "board twist" method (rusty's #4), and that works well for many people.

post #15 of 17

Whenever I visit a new resort, I find it very helpful to ski the first day and snowboard the second day. That way I can scout the mountain and discover the flats and traverses to avoid on a board. It's fun getting out the second day, like seeing the same mountain in a very different way.


You'll probably discover that different terrain and conditions are better or more fun on skis or a board. My personal opinions...

Powder - much better on a board

Hardpack - much better on skis

Trees - I prefer a board

Traverses - skis are better, obviously

Moguls - about equal for me, but I think most would prefer skis

Jumps - I prefer skis, it seems more natural to me

post #16 of 17

Originally Posted by 50kVert View Post


You'll probably discover that different terrain and conditions are better or more fun on skis or a board.


I hardly snowboard anymore since I started teleing; but any day there is breakable crust I wish I was on my board.

post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Some questions for if i were to buy a snowboard package which I am considering (have not decided between powder skis or snowboard stuff). I have been looking at packages and see some great prices for packages of stuff from brands i have not heard of but everything i read about them is decent. at 6' 135lb, I'm thinking a board from 150-155 would be best? I will be wearing a size 10.5-11.5 boot so do I need a wide board? I really just need somthing to screw around on in all scenarios from hitting kickers and boxes to some fresh powder. Budget is around $300 ish.

These are some of the packages i have found

Will only get about 20 days of use before I will have to sell it so dont want to invest in a bunch of really nice stuff.
Edited by kbat11700 - 2/9/16 at 2:11pm
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