10 Things Every Snowboarder Should Know

There's no right way to snowboard, but there are things every snowboarder should know! Expert Aniah Warne lays out that must-have knowledge.

Photo by Yann Allegre
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In the world of snowboarding, there are a lot of do’s and don’ts. There is no right way to snowboard, and everyone rides just a little bit differently, but there is some knowledge that every snowboarder should keep in their back pocket!

So here are some skills and basic mountain knowledge every snowboarder should know before going to the mountain!

1. How to Ride the Wave of the Mountain

Snowboarding is an incredibly dynamic sport. You are always moving in some way or another, and your body position is continuously changing due to terrain. “Riding the wave” of the mountain is a term pretty much saying to ride with the shape of the mountain.

This is a skill that takes time to learn, but it's really necessary, especially for riders who spend a lot of time off-trail and in the backcountry. If you can learn how to dynamically ride with the shape of the mountain, you will find a great flow in your riding and increase your riding versatility.

A snowboarder kicks up powder as they turn
Photo by Joshua Reddekopp

2. How to Fall Properly

Falling properly is a super important skill, especially when it comes to avoiding injury. Falling may seem pretty simple, but if you don’t do it correctly, you could hurt your wrists.

When falling on your front side, you want to try to fall to your knees, then catch your fall with your forearms rather than putting out your hands to try and catch yourself. When falling on your back, try to bend down and almost roll into it. The biggest thing to remember is that don’t catch your fall with your wrists!

Obviously we can't have control over our falls all the time, but when able to it can save you from a potential injury.

3. The Early Birds Get the Powder

Let's be honest, powder is probably the most fun condition. When it comes to actually being able to ride those fresh powder lines, it can definitely be a bit of a competition.

So get to the mountain early to catch the powder! This doesn't mean an hour after opening—it means being some of the first in line on the lift and on the mountain before they even open!

If you want to catch the next big dump on the mountain, it's a great idea to check the weather before going, as well as pre-plan how you are going to get to the mountain and when you are going to leave. This will help you with timing and getting to the mountain as early as possible in order to catch some of those fresh lines.

Two snowboarders ride a chairlift and look out at snowy mountains
Photo by Jason Blackeye

4. How to Install Bindings on a Board

Installing bindings on a board can for sure be done at a shop, but knowing how to do it yourself will make life so much easier.

First, you are going to want to make sure you are placing them at the right width, about shoulder length apart. Then, figure out which angle you are going to ride at, the most common is for people to ride with both feet set at 15 degrees.

Not every binding goes on the exact same way, but most are pretty similar for the most part. If you are confused, having the instructions for the specific binding you are planning to use will take you through the entire process.

5. Be Comfortable on Both Edges

This may seem really obvious, but being really comfortable on both edges is a skill many riders just don’t have. A lot of snowboarders tend to get more comfortable riding on one edge than the other, and more often than not that is the heel edge.

Getting comfortable on both edges takes time and practice, just like any skill in snowboarding. For many people it takes them a lot longer to be as comfortable on their toe edge as they are on their heel edge. If you are in this position, try your best to ride your toe edge as much as possible in an effort to be comfortable with it.

If you are wanting to advance your riding, being extremely comfortable riding both toe and heel edge is essential. Who knows what situation you will get into in which you will need to make a quick edge change!

6. Always Ride an Edge

Catching an edge in snowboarding sucks, to say the least. No matter which edge gets caught, it usually never ends up being too fun. A skill that can really help with avoiding edge catches is to always be riding one.

Basically, if you are always riding an edge, it's going to be way harder for the other edge to catch. If your body weight is distributed in the middle of the foot, there is nothing holding your board on edge, and it's really likely for one of them to catch. If you are consistently riding an edge, you are going to set yourself up way better to avoid catching one!

A snowboarder leans back on their heel edge while executing a turn
Photo by Federico Enni

7. Terrain Park Etiquette

Everybody loves to get their occasional park laps in, and some people even love to spend the whole day in the park. While the skills and equipment is fun to use, when in the park you also have to be respectful of both the equipment and other riders. There are some basic rules of the park, the acronym that many resorts use is called SMART. SMART stands for Start small, Make a plan, Always look before dropping, Respect others and the features, and Take it easy. This is the basis of what you should know before going into the park.

Something that everyone should do before dropping into the park run they are planning on doing is actually calling out the word “drop” before dropping in. This will let others know what you are doing and that you are about to take a lap. Always make sure to observe where you

are going and to make sure your path is clear. For the safety of both you and those around you, never stand below a feature in the park.

8. The Difference Between Skidded and Carved Turns

There is a pretty drastic difference between carving turns and skidding turns. The biggest way that you can define this difference is by the tracks made in the snow by your board. If it’s a skidded turn, the tracks will be wide. If you are carving, the track will be a skinny line just from the edge of your board.

Carving is what helps you pick up speed and is when you are riding straight on your edge. Skidded turns help with speed control and are the style of riding many people will use for the first few years on their boards.

9. Mountain Responsibility Code

This isn't just for snowboarders—everyone going to the mountain should understand at least the basics of the mountain responsibility code. Even if you don’t know the entire code, the biggest rules of simple respect on the mountain are that the person ahead has the right of way and to observe all signs and postings on the mountain. The whole responsibility code is made up of seven different rules:

  1. Always stay in control.
  2. The people ahead have the right of way.
  3. You must stop on the side of trails and not obstruct others' way.
  4. When merging trails, look uphill and yield to others.
  5. Use devices to secure equipment.
  6. Make sure to observe every posted sign and warning on the mountain.
  7. Before using a lift, make sure you know how to both unload and load the lift safely.
A snowboarder executes a jump
Photo by David Schultz

10. How to Let Loose and Have Fun on the Mountain!

There are a lot of rules on the mountain, but they are in place so that everyone can have as safe and fun a time as possible. The reason why we all love snowboarding so much is that it's so fun, and we can thank the mountains for making that possible.

When you're on the mountain, the only thing you have to think about is your next run and what exciting feature lies around the next corner. The mountain is a place to let your guard down and simply focus on the mountain.

As snowboarders, we are all seeking our next adventure on the mountain. Snowboarders are thrill-seekers and know how to have fun on the mountain!

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Written By
Hello! My name is Aniah Warne and I am from Boise, Idaho. I was thrown into the ski and snowboarding world when I was 2 years old. My nana was a ski instructor and both of my parents snowboarded so it was inevitable that I would get into the sport, but little did I know it would become a huge passio...

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