Skiied almost my entire life, starting when I was 3 years old.
When I was 12 I rented a snowboard at Alpine Valley (small hill/bump in Michigan) with no idea what I was doing.
Took the entire night but eventually figured it out, after falling probably 300 times. First day pretty much learned the "falling leaf" method where you stay on your heelside edge the whole time, then started doing the same but on the toeside edge... then linked them together. I was hooked instantly.
Went soon after that and bought my first gear: Burton A49 (A = all mountain), RED bindings (yes, they used to make bindings before they even made helmets, etc.) and some Burton Work boots.
I was still much better at skiing than I was at snowboarding at that point, and every year I would go with my Dad and his friends on ski trips out west. Mostly Colorado, but also went to Tahoe and Utah. We always rode blacks and double blacks... so I would always ski (couldn't keep up on the snowboard).
After I was about 15 or 16 I quit skiing forever. Bought a new board when I was 19 (Ride All Mountain 155) and kept the old shitty bindings, and bought Burton Hail boots in about 2003ish.
Just bought a pair of Burton Cartel's from about 04-05' on craigslist last year - light years ahead of those 15 year old RED bindings. Wow, what an upgrade haha.
Now I just bought a Banana Magic (2010) and I'm probably going to get the Rome Targas. Keeping the Hail boots.
Between the age of 12 and 26 (which is how old I am now), I've probably taught 10-20 different people to snowboard (my dad, cousins, mostly friends). Last year was the first time I really got to tear it up on my snowboard out west. 5 dudes, all pretty good riders, riding for 4 straight days line open to last call in Colorado.
I've found that the easiest way to teach them is the falling leaf method. Help them first get a hold of that heelside edge so at worst they can just slid straight down (like you would when you come to a stop on your heelside edge). Then slide to their right and come to a stop again. Then slide to the left and come to a stop again. Eventually they'll be comfortable with their heelside edge. Then start them off on their toe side edge doing the same thing: slide right, stop. Slide left, stop. link. After they master both edges... then they can start linking turns.
Sorry for the super long post... but that is how I taught myself and taught many other people. I consider myself a pretty good rider now in that I will ride any part of the mountain (any mountain, not limited to Michigan obviously) (blue, black, double black, skull & cross bones). Never was interested in the park though.
Last edited by turbospartan; 12-10-2010 at 11:26 AM.