I snowboarded multiple times a season for many years as a kid and teen before I took a five-year hiatus because what poor college kid can afford a $60 (MINIMUM) lift ticket every weekend? Now that I am a working girl and not quite as poor, I’ve decided to break my snowboard out of storage.
Hitting the slopes for the first time in five years was horrifying and incredible. If you’re like me and you’re ready to get back out there, check out these five helpful tips!
1. Get Your Gear in Check
Even if it’s just been one year since you’ve been out on the slopes, you need to thoroughly investigate every piece of your gear including the board, the bindings, the boots, gloves, pants, coat… you name it. Everything needs to fit and work before you get up on the mountain or you could seriously hurt yourself.
It’s also never a bad idea to have your board and bindings looked at by a professional — personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with REI. They were so nice and helpful when I went in there looking like a deer in the headlights.
2. Stretch Before and After You Go
I can’t stress this enough — STRETCH. I was young and vibrantly oblivious to how age would affect me when I started snowboarding in middle school. After six hours on the slopes, I’d still be like “ain’t no thang”. Guys, it is a thang when you’re older (AKA in your twenties). Stretching will make a world of difference in maintaining your energy levels on the slopes and recovering from this extreme workout after you’ve unhooked your bindings.
3. Stay Hydrated & Energized
Speaking of energy, you absolutely need to stay on top of your water intake while you’re snowboarding. It may seem like the board and the snow do all the work for you, but that’s far from the case. As with any other moderate physical activity, you need to drink plenty of water and load up on nutrient-packed foods like bananas, apples, eggs, nuts, and yogurt.
4. Get Ready to Fall Down
Remember how many times you fell down when you first started learning how to snowboard? Yeah, you’ll fall down just like that when you first get back out there. So, get ready for it. On my first run, I fell down immediately after getting off the ski lift. But I got back up.
If you feel like you’re going to fall, brace for it by keeping your arms in, your body low, and your chin tucked to your chest. Always try to fall on your butt, knees, and forearms. Check out this online tutorial for more information on how to fall safely when you’re snowboarding — it really helped me.
5. Start Small
It’s easy to look back and think, “I totally crushed that double black diamond the last time I was up here”, because you absolutely did (probably, idk you personally but I’ll take your word for it). Either way, you should definitely not start on a double black diamond or even a single black diamond trail. Start with one of the flatter green trails or even the bunny hill if it’s really been that long. No one is going to judge you. If you really look around while you’re there, you’ll see plenty of people getting their snow legs, too.
6. Use Your Heels
Your heels are much stronger than your toes, and it’s a bit easier to maneuver using your heels with your knees bent to cut back and forth. Also, if you catch an edge on the heel-side of your board, you’ll almost always land on your butt which will hurt a lot less than landing on your face. After you get comfortable, explore cutting with your toes as well as your heels.
I sincerely hope that you enjoy getting back to snowboarding as much as I have. I know that since I visited Seven Springs, I’ve been literally counting down the days until I get to go again. Have fun!