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TooNice 02-28-2014 11:54 PM

Beginner snowboarder looking for advice
 
Hi guys.

I was a (very regular) skier for many years before switching to snowboarding recently.

I first started snowboarding two seasons ago but only for 2.5 days each season, and while I could do turns to some extent I never felt like I was 100% in control of those turns. I was also starting to wonder if I was really a "regular" (the goofy vs regular tests came up mixed).

So far I've snowboarded twice this season. First day of the first time this season, I tried a goofy board. I don't think I managed a single turn on that stance with my right foot forward, yet managed rather well with my left foot forward. So I went back to regular again the next day. It probably makes no sense at all, but I felt like I had a bit more control doing turn with my left foot forward on a goofy board, but I decided to a regular board anyway. But I was starting to get puzzled by my lack of progress (by now, I had snowboarding for 7 days since the very first time).

The first day of the second time this season, I joined a small group lesson, and the instructor instantly noticed that my boots were too loose. Thing is, I am a hiker, and when buying hiking shoes, it's common to one size up so that you can layer, and also compensate for the foot swelling after long distance walk and did the same with snowboarding shoes. As soon as I went down half a size, my control got much better, and down half another size (on a very battered rental shoes) and it did not feel nearly as tiring anymore and has become so much more fun. Now I can finally say for sure that I want to continue snowboarding, and plan to do more frequent and longer trips from now on.

This time I snowboarded for 5 days, and really worked on my form with basic turns. I had a bad back leaning habit, which still present on steeper slopes, but it is getting better. Once I have that down, I am wondering what I should work on next.

A lot of my peers wants to do jumps as soon as they can do regular turns in intermediate slopes. When I was learning how to ski though, we did not learn how to jump until my foundations were rock solid (as you'd expect when taught at school?). Long turns, short turns, parallel turns, carve turns etc. first taught long before we did jumps (actually I am pretty sure we were practising how to absorb bumps before jumps too). In the same vein, I was wondering if the next thing should be carving, switch riding, something that does not require the board to go off the ground.. or if indeed it is fine to work on basic jumps.

Last question, would you encourage taking paid lessons (group or 1-to-1)? And if so, until what stage?

Thanks :)

SkullAndXbones 03-01-2014 01:59 AM

well first off, there's no such thing as a "goofy" or "regular" snowboard. the boards are all the same it's just a matter of how you set your bindings on them. second, stance is just a matter of preference in the same manner as being a lefty or righty. just pick which one is more comfortable or the less awkward of the 2. it's gonna take a while before you get half way decent. it takes a couple seasons just to get comfortable using both edges. and when i say seasons i mean going like 10+ times each year. i wouldn't suggest hitting jumps until you're entirely comfortable using both edges at a good rate of speed. as far as lessons go, i don't know because i never took lessons. you'll know when you're ready.

TooNice 03-01-2014 04:02 AM

Thanks, figured as much. I remember that when skiing I only started doing jumps from toward the end of the second season, and at the time, I was skiing 5-7 days a week for 3 months. So yeah, I will consider myself a beginner for a long time to come. Guess I will just have to be patient and gradually improve my skills.

Is it a good idea to practice riding switch early or is it better to leave that for later too? I am thinking that the more comfortable I get riding on a regular stance, the harder / less motivated I might be to learn how to ride switch later on so throwing a couple of switch practice now and then would be beneficial as my goal is to become a well rounder.

neni 03-01-2014 05:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TooNice (Post 1580394)
Is it a good idea to practice riding switch early or is it better to leave that for later too? I am thinking that the more comfortable I get riding on a regular stance, the harder / less motivated I might be to learn how to ride switch later on so throwing a couple of switch practice now and then would be beneficial as my goal is to become a well rounder.

Absolutely practice switch right from the beginning :thumbsup: Right now, turns are hard no matter which way. Better to develop the muscle memory for both ways right away. (I haven't and have very hard times to learn it now. It's such an embarrassing unnerving pita to go back and practice to slowly link turns switch when you could just turn and charge forward with ease ;))

SkullAndXbones 03-01-2014 08:00 AM

i don't see problem with trying to ride switch right now. it'll probably be beneficial to you in the foreseeable future since you wanna do tricks and stuff. there's also not much of a problem with just riding regular right now. i think it's actually easier learning to ride switch when you've gotten good at riding regular because by that time you'll have a good feel for the board and will have the basic mechanics down. at that point it would be just learning to adapt to a little bit of awkwardness. whatever you do though, don't forget the most important rule of snowboarding......having fun. if you feel like riding switch then throw that bitch around and go for it.

Donutz 03-01-2014 08:16 AM

I've taken one private lesson every season and it's always been useful. You'll find that you probably have some bad habits that can be corrected, and there may be techniques that you're not even aware of that you can be taught. Also, if you're feeling like you've plateau'd a bit, the instructor can take you out of your comfort zone.

TooNice 03-01-2014 12:20 PM

Thanks for all the response so far. I will continue to simultaneously work on my regular and switch turns for a while then. I really want to get better and learn some jumps and tricks, but hopefully being patient and investing in building a strong foundations will be pay itself off in the long term :)

I am not sure if this is the right place, but I would also like to ask a little about gear. Right now, I am not too bothered about buying a board (should I be?), and am thinking of sticking to rentals for a while.

Boots on the other hand, I think that I want to invest in those. I have small yet wide feet, and it is only during my latest trip last week that I realised both the importance of boots when it comes to control, and the fact that no rental boots I have tried so far, fitted me perfectly. To a greater or lesser extent, I could feel my heel lifting and that really tired my feet and affected my control.

The main issue is that I have small but wide feet, so the perfect size on a normal boot is going to be too uncomfortable at the front, yet going half-size up is going to leave enough of a gap that it is no longer a tight fit. I figured that buying my own shoes will ensure a perfect fit.. assuming of course that I buy the right shoes. Could someone familiar with snowboard boots suggest brands that lean towards the wider side of the spectrum, or offers a range for people with wider feet? I've never tried the Boa system, but I am quite keen on giving it a shot.

Thanks again :)

F1EA 03-01-2014 12:28 PM

4 Attachment(s)
A have a couple of friends who skied avidly and switched to snowboarding... one did it because pow+snowboarding is super, another just wanted the challenge. Both transitioned reasonably well.

Anyways... first thing you have to understand is BALANCE. This is not too important on skis, but is everything on a snowboard. Basically, on skis you are naturally balanced in all directions, on a snowboard you're unbalanced in the toe/heel direction.

In your case, I would take a group lesson to start with, see where you are in comparison to others, hear other people's problems and maybe apply them to yourself if/when needed. Then ride a few days and then go for a private lesson once you are clearer with your preferred style/terrain and the weak points of your riding... because you've skied, you will be much more aware what your weaknesses are, and a private lesson will really help you.

I did a private lesson first, and it was really good; but in hindsight, i would have definitely preferred group to begin, then a private to focus on specific techniques/weaknesses...

2cents from a relative beginner.

Good to see you strayed away from the darkside. Master Yoda would be proud.

t21 03-01-2014 12:34 PM

Glad to know that you are enjoying snowboarding. Stick with your plan with switch and park riding and for the boots question, i believe 32 brands cater to wider feet but i'm not sure of that. I have the 32 Focus Boa but my feet are not wide though it fits my feet well. BA(angrysnowboarder) is known as a former bootfitter so he might have some ideas for you. Snowboard will be cheaper by spring sales,but there are some websites that have sales now (Evo.com, backcountry,etc.) but we would need your stats(height,weight, preferred riding style) so we can provides inputs of what board could be good for you.:thumbsup:

neni 03-01-2014 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TooNice (Post 1580921)

The main issue is that I have small but wide feet, so the perfect size on a normal boot is going to be too uncomfortable at the front, yet going half-size up is going to leave enough of a gap that it is no longer a tight fit. I figured that buying my own shoes will ensure a perfect fit.. assuming of course that I buy the right shoes. Could someone familiar with snowboard boots suggest brands that lean towards the wider side of the spectrum, or offers a range for people with wider feet? I've never tried the Boa system, but I am quite keen on giving it a shot.

I'm not sure if it's the same with men's boots, but with women's, the Ride I have are rather narrow and K2 rather wide.
There's a boot faq sticky thread by wrath in the boots subforum you'll find plenty of good info


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