By: Brad McNally
Although your snowboard may look great on display in its snowboard mount, it was built for going downhill and you are probably hoping to take it out soon. If you’ve never made it off the bunny slopes yet and are looking to head to bigger hills for the first time, these few tips will help make that transition much easier.
- Move up slowly.
It might be tempting to jump straight from the small wedge by the lodge to the biggest hill on the mountain, but there are steps between. You can find trail maps indicate skill level. Often, they have a green dot for the easiest, a blue square for intermediate, a black diamond for difficult (and sometimes the double or combine them). The idea is to move from green to blue, then blue to black.
If you move up too quickly, you don’t develop the skills that are necessary to keep yourself going once you are up the mountain, and some people struggle with just getting on and off the lift for the first time. Moving up slowly will mean that it takes a little longer to get up to the black diamond trails, but it will make the experience worth it.
- Work on developing your skills as you go.
I personally have a bad habit of just “winging it” and seeing how it turns out. Out on the mountain is not the time to do that, though. You may know how to get yourself up off the ground and started, and maybe stopping has gone well, but as you progressively hit bigger slopes, try to work on your carving skills as well. Some snowboarders haven’t learned to use the toe side of their board yet, so they go back and forth on the hill but face the same direction the whole time. To avoid this, work on these skills in the easy area and get comfortable going a little faster and maneuvering a little more.
- Don’t put yourself in danger.
Although this relates to both the first and second tip, it is important to remember. The mountain can be a very safe place for snowboarders, but if you go out beyond your skill level, you risk injuring yourself or even injuring others. Many snowboarders are in it for the thrill they get when out in fresh powder, but if you overreach you may end up off the slopes for a longer time. Stay safe, but don’t be afraid of the bigger hills or more difficult trails; develop a solid base and then move upward.