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I just went on my 8th snowboard trip on Monday. it was the first time in 2 years and before that it was a 3 year gap. So a brief history: went 5 tmies between 98-2003, twice in 2008, and last monday.

Before this last trip, I got slammed big time when i attempted to go toe side and link some turns. I ended up facing uphill and my heelside edge digging into the snow. YARD SALE!

Anyways, my wife went also and it was her very first time. She was doing well and even though she went down hard a few times, she loved it.

My question is: I seem to always to the heel side falling leaf down the hill and get nervous about switching to a toe side because of the slams. I feel like an idiot always staying heelside and want to break the habit. Any tips?
 

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Assuming its a fairly even slope like in the beginner areas...try this.

Imagine a ball placed on the hill. It rolls down in a direction (this is called the FALL LINE}.

Now gradually weight the fore foot and reduce the heeling angle until your nose points directly down the FALL LINE. At this point, you should have reduced the heeling angle all the way such that the base is FLUSH with the snow.

Now you can safely toe (or heel again) in a gradual fashion without catching the wrong edge.

The moral to the story is: When your nose points down the FALL LINE, you are free to lean on any edge.

Technically, it's actually the nose pointing in the direction of travel. But at beginner speeds, the direction of travel should be pretty much down the FALL LINE.
 

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since you've already done 8 trips, you are more experienced than I am (like 10hrs on a board), so I assume you know how to turn toeside.
I had similar problems as you and was too nervous to switch from the rear edge to the toeside one, and in the end it boils down to one thing: you must overcome that fear and just try it. I had a complete list of checkpoints in my head that perfectly described how to toeside turn, but that's all useless if you don't get to the point where you actually try them because you're afraid of falling.
Make the heelside turn, let the board come to flat again, relax, then just go for it without hesitation: put some weight on your front foot, bend knees, push the edge into the snow with that same foot's toes and the rest follows.
 
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