If you are new to snowboarding, you are advised to take some lessons first. Your instructor will safely guide you down gentle slopes until you are ready to take on longer and more challenging pistes. You must never venture onto slopes that are too steep or difficult for your snowboarding level. This could at the least shatter your confidence, or at the worst, result in grave injury.
Know your snowboarding runs
Skiing and snowboarding pistes are color-coded according to their level of difficulty, and it's highly important that you learn these for snowboarding safety purposes:
Green – these are the easiest runs which are shallow and suitable for beginner snowboarder and skiers.
Blue – these are quite shallow and are suitable for improving and intermediate level snowboarders and skiers.
Red – these pistes are quite steep and can be quite narrow. They are suited to snowboarders and skiers with substantial experience.
Black – these are the steepest and most difficult runs. They should only be attempted by advanced snowboarders and skiers.
Always snowboard with a piste map
The different coloured pistes are indicated on the piste map for the area. One of the most important safety tips we can give you is to have one with you at all times when you are snowboarding. Without a piste map you could easily take a wrong turn and end up struggling on a piste too difficult for your abilities.
Choose your resort carefully
It’s best to choose a resort that suits your ability. If you are in a mixed-ability group, this means selecting a good all-round resort so the snowboarding is safe and fun for all in the group.
Essentially, wherever there are skiers there are now snowboarders and virtually all resorts cater for both. However, although you can board at virtually all ski resorts around the world, some are better for boarders than others. A resort with big wide basins, not many drag lifts and a specialist board park are the best bets when you are starting out in snowboarding.
Know the rules of the snowboarding slopes
The International Ski Federation (ISF) has set up rules for conduct for skiers and snowboarders, the purpose being to improve snowboarding safety standards.
Your snowboarding progress will be built upon the initial basic skills learnt when you first start riding; learning the proper technique from trained instructors at the beginning will give you the foundations to work up.
You could take snowboarding lessons on a dry slope to kick-off, but you are best advised to go for the real thing from the start. In other words, go on a snowboarding holiday.
There are loads of tour operators that offer skiing and snowboarding holidays now and you can do a ‘learn to board’ course, which are perfect for when you're starting out. Course lengths do vary but a five-day beginner course should set you up perfectly.
Naturally, it takes some longer than others to pick up the basic techniques, but by the end of a five-day course you will probably be turning confidently down blue runs and get yourself on and off lifts without too much bother. No matter what you achieve in your first week, we believe you will be hooked and gagging for your next boarding holiday…