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Going snowboarding for first time

Bouncing_SoulBouncing_Soul Registered User regular
edited January 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
As the title suggests, this weekend I'm going snowboarding for the first time. I've been skiing once a while ago, but I've been told that skiing doesn't help you at all anyway.

I'm athletic, in good shape, and take martial arts, but from everything that I've heard there's like nothing that can help you out to not bust your ass aside from practice.

So does anyone have any hints, tips, things I should do/not do?

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Have the person you're going with help you with what to wear. Proper gear is so worth the effort.
    Since you're probably renting, see if you can get step-in bindings. You don't want to spend 15 mins at the top of the slope clicking everything in.

    You will fall, get a helmet.

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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Wrist Guards are important when you are starting.

    Now I know the cool kids might not be doing it some other way, but aren't functioning wrists the coolest thing of all?

    Also don't listen to Improv. Normal bindings are fine, and if you are hiring they are probably what you'll be given.

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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Snowboarding has a pretty shallow learning curve. You can pick the basics up pretty quickly, but you will fall, repeatedly and often.

    Make sure you get a leash for the board. It basically ties the board to your leg, so that if you set it down at the top of a slope it won't escape and take out someone's ankles at 60mph at the bottom. Most ski destinations insist on them.

    japan on
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    Bouncing_SoulBouncing_Soul Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I saw gloves with wrist guards at the store, they were $85 though.

    I've got a jacket, pants, and a barely used board I bought from a friend last year (Burton Custom I think).

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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Also take a lesson. And don't expect to be able to actually do anything in a weekend. It generally takes people about a week to get the basics down.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    DodgeBlan wrote: »

    Also don't listen to Improv. Normal bindings are fine, and if you are hiring they are probably what you'll be given.

    I ski mostly, but for the 6 years that I snowboarded on and off, snow packed bindings caused me the most frustration. When I finally got some step ins, it was great. I wouldn't say DON'T listen to me, but I think if you have the option it is worth it.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I saw gloves with wrist guards at the store, they were $85 though.

    I've got a jacket, pants, and a barely used board I bought from a friend last year (Burton Custom I think).

    Are they ski/snowboard clothing?
    Snowboard gloves are the best. If you do any kind of winter activity, you should own some pretty much regardless.

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    TrippyDKTrippyDK Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Be prepared to fall. Alot. Your knees, wrists, and pretty much the rest of your body will ache. At the end of the day, everything will hurt. Just dont be scared too fall. Shit Ive been doing it for years now, and I always fall a few times.

    TrippyDK on
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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    DodgeBlan wrote: »

    Also don't listen to Improv. Normal bindings are fine, and if you are hiring they are probably what you'll be given.

    I ski mostly, but for the 6 years that I snowboarded on and off, snow packed bindings caused me the most frustration. When I finally got some step ins, it was great. I wouldn't say DON'T listen to me, but I think if you have the option it is worth it.

    I honestly said it because I've never had the opportunity to hire step in bindings.

    Abloo bloo bloo

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I've never heard it called hiring, where are you from?

    Also, he owns his board, so ohwell.

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    Cowboy-BebopCowboy-Bebop Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I second the recommendation of wrist guards. The first time I went I thought I almost broke my wrists just from using my hands to brace my fall. By the end of the day they were in serious pain and it hurt to move them much. The next time I had wrist guards and it absorbed most of the impact and my wrists were fine after.

    Cowboy-Bebop on
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    the wookthe wook Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    expect to fall down. a lot. know that your ass will hurt a lot by the end of the day and accept it beforehand.

    make sure your board is the right way. i.e., if you're right-handed, make sure you're normal foot; if you're left-handed, make sure you're goofy foot (any decent renting agent should explain the difference to you, but nobody did my first time, and I ended up with a goofy footed board as a right hander.)

    when you turn, turn from the top down instead of the bottom up (this will make more sense when you're on the mountain). a good beginner technique is to keep your arms extended to balance yourself, and then to point the direction you want to go. the turn will work its way down your body.

    and no, prior skiing will present you with no benefit.

    the wook on
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    soshi367soshi367 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I second the falling alot thing. I just went snowboarding for my first time over here at Big Bear. I fell alot and i would really stress a helmet and wrist guards because at the end of the day my wrists were on fire and i had a headache from the falling so make sure you have all the gear and learn how to stop and you'll be fine.

    soshi367 on
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    Draco_AuricDraco_Auric Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Whenever I go skiing it seems that snowboarders spend a lot of time sitting in the snow, especially the beginners. I'd bet that someone makes a butt pad that'll keep you warmer and more comfortable.

    Also gloves are for chumps, mitts are so much warmer and more comfortable that it's not even funny. I don't know how your bindings work, but if you can get in and out of them with mitts on, that'd be the way to go.

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    japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    the wook wrote: »
    make sure your board is the right way. i.e., if you're right-handed, make sure you're normal foot; if you're left-handed, make sure you're goofy foot (any decent renting agent should explain the difference to you, but nobody did my first time, and I ended up with a goofy footed board as a right hander.)

    Handedness doesn't really determine which foot you favour. I'm right-handed and ride goofy.

    A better test is to try sliding on a smooth floor in your socks (or a handy patch of ice, or similar). You'll naturally put your lead foot first.

    japan on
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    Bouncing_SoulBouncing_Soul Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.
    I saw gloves with wrist guards at the store, they were $85 though.

    I've got a jacket, pants, and a barely used board I bought from a friend last year (Burton Custom I think).

    Are they ski/snowboard clothing?
    Snowboard gloves are the best. If you do any kind of winter activity, you should own some pretty much regardless.

    The jacket is Convert which I bought like a year or 2 ago, apparently that's Columbia's snowboarding line, I had no idea I just liked the jacket and it was on sale.
    The pants are EMS winter activity (snowboarding) type pants, and were also on sale but I got them last weekend.
    Gloves I bought at Ski Stop so I'm guessing they'll be fine, but I had considered the wrist guard ones before.

    I'm a righty but I know that I'll be riding goofy foot. And while I do have the board I don't have boots or bindings.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    For the boots and bindings you should probably go to a prostore near you and get it done, rather than wait untill you're at the mountain.

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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    so how are you going snowboarding if you don't have bindings or boots? showing up to the mountain without them is just asking to get raped buying gear onsite.

    i third the wrist guards, just get a cheap pair of rollarblading kind that you can wear over your gloves. it will make a huge difference.

    the way i figured out my stance was stand even footed and have someone push you from behind without you knowing when. same dealio as the sliding on the floor thing. don't be afraid to switch the stance if you are having difficulties.

    try and steer with your back foot.

    mts on
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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I've never heard it called hiring, where are you from?

    Also, he owns his board, so ohwell.

    In Australia, you hire instead of rent.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    And you ski in the summer too.
    Crazy man, crazy.

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    Bouncing_SoulBouncing_Soul Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    mts wrote: »
    so how are you going snowboarding if you don't have bindings or boots? showing up to the mountain without them is just asking to get raped buying gear onsite.

    I was under the impression I could rent those separately... Like I said, first time snowboarding.

    I don't know how this shit works.

    re: try and steer with your back foot
    Those are the kind of hints I'm looking for, and maybe what the wook was trying to say.

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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    you typically can't just rent bindings and boots, usually need the whole deal, but if you can find a good shop you might be able to demo something. personally i hated step in bindings, if the snow is any kind of soft it sucks getting in

    best thing you can find is a pair of wrist guards with the hard plastic. you will still fall down a lot but your wrists won't hurt as much tommorrow

    mts on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Definitly find a proshop near you. You can rent bindings and boots from them, plus they'll sharpen your board good as new.

    What do you have in terms of eye protection?

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    Bouncing_SoulBouncing_Soul Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Definitly find a proshop near you. You can rent bindings and boots from them, plus they'll sharpen your board good as new.

    What do you have in terms of eye protection?

    I don't have jack in the way of eye protection, I was actually curious about that as well.

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    TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    And you ski in the summer too.
    Crazy man, crazy.

    Up the mountains, at that.

    TL DR on
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    LodbrokLodbrok Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Knowing how to ski helps a bit, I would think. It will give you an understanding about how things gliding on snow behaves, and with the carving-skies being popular now, the technique is not that different, as long as were are talking about making carving turns.

    About the equipment, I don't know if it is possible to rent the bindings... at least I have never heard about it. Might be possible, at least for step-in bindings, but check before you go. Also, buy your own boots, I feel that this is more important than having your own board. Personally, I have never bothered with protective gear, a helmet is probably a good idea, but wrist-guards is not something I have ever used. If you fall properly, you should not use your hands to break the fall, but of course, this might be easier said than done. If you have been training martial arts, you probably know how to fall without hurting yourself.

    Now, as for how to ride, that is not something that is possible to explain in text. If you can afford it, might want to take at least one lesson, this can teach you the basics in a couple of hours. It is much easier to learn with an experienced person who can explain what you are doing wrong. I have taught several friends to ride in a couple of hours, good enough that they have been able to ride in most conditions. Snowboarding is not that hard really, skiing is much harder, at least as far as learning the basics.

    Practical advice: Keep low and close to the snow. This will make it easier to turn, and you will not fall as hard. Do not start on a to flat slope, you will need some speed to turn in the beginning. If you have ok balance, you should get a feel for the board quickly. Do not try to turn the board by twisting your body, lots of beginners try this and it does not work. Instead, use your heels and toes to put the board on edge, and it will turn itself. Like I said, this is hard to explain in text, but when you get on the snow it should become clear.

    Other than that, try to relax and don't tense up. Snowboarding is great fun, and in a couple of days you should be quite good.

    Lodbrok on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    japan wrote: »
    the wook wrote: »
    make sure your board is the right way. i.e., if you're right-handed, make sure you're normal foot; if you're left-handed, make sure you're goofy foot (any decent renting agent should explain the difference to you, but nobody did my first time, and I ended up with a goofy footed board as a right hander.)

    Handedness doesn't really determine which foot you favour. I'm right-handed and ride goofy.

    A better test is to try sliding on a smooth floor in your socks (or a handy patch of ice, or similar). You'll naturally put your lead foot first.

    The oldschool test is the guy running the rental shop sneaks up behind you and gives you a shove. Which ever foot you put forward to stop yourself falling over is your leading foot.


    If your a good skier be prepared to get pissed the hell off a lot. I never really skied and so the learning curve wasn't an issue to me but my brother had been skiing for a good ten years before trying out snowboarding and he hated it because it was basically like starting from scratch all over again.

    I don't know if protective equipment is as important as people are saying. Unless you're going on a dry slope or if you're going to hit the ramp park then the most you need is a pair of pants with reasonable padding in the ass area, but get them if in doubt. Some pistes and indoor snowdomes demand you use them for insurance purposes, so it's better to go with than without.

    On that note, make sure your snowboard bindings come with a leash - a short strap that wraps around your leg and clips onto the snowboard bindings. If your renting then it'll probably have one anyway as rental companies don't want their boards lost, but most pistes won't let you on without one because runaway snowboards are a serious hazard.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    with Skiing its really easy to get the basics down but mastering it takes longer.

    with boarding the basics are much harder to get down but the whole thing is somewhat easier to master.

    Also- take lessons. I don't know how you will get anywhere without someone teaching you, and its not really something you can explain over a forum.

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Definitly find a proshop near you. You can rent bindings and boots from them, plus they'll sharpen your board good as new.

    What do you have in terms of eye protection?

    I don't have jack in the way of eye protection, I was actually curious about that as well.
    Ski goggles are really usefull. Most people who ski own more than one pair in my experience, so you might want to beg a friend. You can get a pair pretty cheap, but man... cheap goggles suck.

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    vonPoonBurGervonPoonBurGer Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    japan wrote: »
    you will fall, repeatedly and often.
    This is painfully, painfully true. I went snowboarding a couple of times, and in all instances, there were numerous times where the edge of the board would catch, and I'd either faceplant or assplant as a result (whichever side of me was facing down the mountain). I eventually gave up on snowboarding, as I found it was too much pain and not enough fun, but that's probably because my snowboarding trips were too far apart time-wise, so I never got past the painful beginner phase. So that's my bit of advice, don't get discouraged if you're not a whiz after the first day, do it again sometime not too long after so you can get past the beginner stage.

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    TalTal Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    http://www.abc-of-snowboarding.com/learn-snowboarding/


    I've been twice so far this season (first time I've ever gone) and I found this site really helpful for starting out. The first day I went I didn't take a lesson, but as I was taking the lifts I saw group lessons and it looks like a lot of what was covered you could pretty easily read from this site. I'm not completely dismissing the lesson however, I'm just saying this is a good read for preparation.

    It also has a great gear checklist that you should read through.

    As was mentioned, buy wrist guards. Make sure they're snowboarding guards though and not roller blading ones. The roller blading ones I had way back when were extremely stiff and from what I've heard those could cause more damage than prevent. You want guards that have a little give so that you're distributing the impact force rather than just redirecting it all (at least that's how I understood it).

    Buy a helmet. It's not just for you and your falling, it's for the other beginners that can't control their board and may end up smacking you in the head as they fly past. (Fortunately I haven't had that problem or been the cause of that problem).

    Hip pads aren't a bad idea either. I consider myself fairly athletic with a good sense of balance as well, but there's still 2 or 3 falls that I could have done without / or wished I'd been wearing hip pads. A sporting goods store should have all of this stuff.

    When you get goggles, make sure you try them on with the helmet. I don't know if it was just my helmet, or my really small head, but I had to try on about 8 different brands before I found ones that actually fit. Most of the goggles were too large, so they'd press up against the helmet shifting it back, or have the helmet press down on the goggles shifting them down my face. The Oakley (O-frame?) were the only ones that fit me. I think all of the Oakley frames are shaped a little smaller though.

    Goofy / Regular doesn't matter if you're riding a freestyle board. (Freestyle being a symmetrical board with you standing in the middle - Freeride is about the same, but slightly longer on one end) On a freestyle board you should be able to ride both ways. You'll probably favor one over the other (I surfed goofy, but found regular snowboarding more comfortable, go figure) but ultimately you should be able to do both.

    Bindings should be placed so that the distance from you foot to your knee is the distance between the bindings (measured from the center of each). As for the angle of each, 15 on each foot should be alright for starting out. Riding "duck" I think it's called. This way your feet should be comfortably placed for either stance.

    You said you had pants / jacket already, but one thing I learned about the other layers is to check the waterproof level. For Southern California it was recommended that I buy clothing with at least 5,000mm protection (I don't think I found anything less than that) but I'm not sure what it would be for you in New York.

    I'm not sure how just renting bindings would work, but you might be able to. For now I'm going to the local Sports Chalet and renting a board / bindings for $25. I think they rent boots for another 5 or 10. I'd second the recommendation for renting locally if you can rather than waiting in the mountain lines and then paying more. One of my friends here keeps telling me to ask for the demo boards because the rentals are too beat up, but I'm pretty sure I can't tell a difference yet. I tried a 155cm and a 158cm. I felt like I was going faster with less control on the 158 (as would be expected) but I couldn't tell you any of the finer points of a Ride board.

    As far as actually being on the mountain, you'll have a natural tendency to control your speed by leaning backwards to try to slow down. All this does is throw you off balance and make you more likely to fall. As difficult as it may seem, your best bet is to stand as perpendicular to the slope as possible. Learn how to stop by basically riding the board sideways down the slope and you should be able to slow down that way anytime you want. Basically lifting the toes of your rear foot should start to bring the back half of the board around and start to slow you down.

    At least that's how I've figured it out. Again, I've only been twice, but this is what I've learned in the process. Good luck, have fun, and keep at it! The first couple days suck apparently, but once you get past that on the learning curve it suddenly becomes a lot more fun.

    Tal on
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    LodbrokLodbrok Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    About goofy/regular riding riding and the angles your bindings should be mounted at... Unless all you do is hang out in the pipe, you do definitively want to decide which stance you prefer. I have my bindings mounted at 15 and 10 degrees respectively, and they are both angled forward, so to speak. I don't think I've ever met anyone who has bindings angled in opposite directions, as Tal seems to imply. The reason for this is that your turns WILL suffer if you do this. Look at a carving/alpine board some time and you will see what I mean. Yes, you should be able to ride your board in both directions, but save this for later. This "duck" thing

    Lodbrok on
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    LodbrokLodbrok Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    About goofy/regular riding riding and the angles your bindings should be mounted at... Unless all you do is hang out in the pipe, you do definitively want to decide which stance you prefer. I have my bindings mounted at 15 and 10 degrees respectively, and they are both angled forward, so to speak. I don't think I've ever met anyone who has bindings angled in opposite directions, as Tal seems to imply. The reason for this is that your turns WILL suffer if you do this. Look at a carving/alpine board some time and you will see what I mean. Yes, you should be able to ride your board in both directions, but save this for later. This "duck" thing might have its place, but if I remember correctly Terje Hakonsen used 15/10 and he did not have any problems in the pipe....

    Lodbrok on
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    DodgeBlanDodgeBlan PSN: dodgeblanRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Nobody starts on a freestyle board... do they?

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    TalTal Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    From what I've gathered they're more common / easier to learn on. Just because it's a freestyle board doesn't mean we're riding the rails and taking jumps on the beginner trails.

    Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've seen anything *but* freestyle boards so far...

    Tal on
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    SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited January 2008
    Yeah, when I started out in the early nineties if you were renting chances are you'd end up with ski-style hardboots and a downhill board. Sucked. They would probably be fluorescent as well. Now rental shops all rent out soft boots and freeride or all-mountain boards. Rarely actual freestyle boards as they tend to have very tight cornering which can throw a beginner, I should imagine, but general purpose decks.

    Szechuanosaurus on
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    ins0mniacins0mniac Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    As a beginning snowboarder myself who's pretty much got the basics down, I generally taught myself. For the first three times I went, I pretty much stayed on the little bunny hill until I got stopping down. Yeah sure learning how to carve is really cool and all, but when you're flying down the mountain and all of a sudden some little kid eats it in front of you, it would be nice to know how to stop instead of plowing into the kid.

    As for goofy/regular stance, I used to ride regular but it always felt a bit funny. So I went down to the ski shop and had them switch the bindings to goofy and I never looked back. I'm right handed as well, so it really doesn't have anything to do with being left or right handed.

    KEEP YOUR KNEES BENT.

    Seriously, if you lock up you're asking to catch a nasty edge and faceplant right into the snow. Also, when you're trying to turn/carve, look in the direction you want to turn and your body will naturally shift the weight. Even pointing in the direction you so desire can really help. Something I had a big problem with when I was first learning is that naturally you try to face your torso forward down the mountain. This is also asking to faceplant pretty bad.

    Also, I personally HATED step-in bindings. I used to rent but got my own board with regular strap in bindings for Chirstmas this year, and I much prefer those. Step-ins kind of suck because alot of the time snow will get packed in there and it's sometimes a bit frustrating to actually get them to snap in. I guess it's all based on personal preference.

    Goggles are a good investment, as not only do they help with snow glare during the day and/or night vision (you can get lenses specifically for day/night but there are also some designed for both) but they also add that extra layer of protection from the cold for your face. Wear a wicking layer as well. Underarmor and the like.

    Other than that, I don't have much to add as I'm still a beginner myself, but it's a great sport to get into and as they said, you will fall and fall often. Don't be afraid to fall or you'll never get any good. It comes with the territory.

    Also, as for the "butt pads" being described earlier: http://www.abc-of-snowboarding.com/shopitems/impact-protection/crossfirepaddedshort-mens-impact-protect.asp

    ins0mniac on
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    ege02ege02 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited January 2008
    Try riding (easy) trails that aren't too crowded. Perhaps the ones at the back of the mountain or something.

    You'll be less likely to collide with others, and it will hurt less when you fall because there will be more powder.

    ege02 on
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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    My experience skiing in New England is that powder doesn't really exist. On a nice day, the ice has a good cover.

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    RaneadosRaneados police apologist you shouldn't have been there, obviouslyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I'm right footed but I snowboard facing the left

    I was always told the dominant foot should go in back

    goofy stance or whathaveyou

    I say mess around with it and see for yourself which way feels the best

    there will probably be little kids round. Even ones that are AMAZINGLY better than you

    do your best to try not to hit anyone, take an ass-fall if you have to, a snowboard to the back of the ankles/calfs/knees SUCKS

    Raneados on
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