Snowboarding is a type of winter sport that many of us would probably never dare to take part in or only choose to watch on TV, but if you’re a traveler, have been exposed to winter’s precious snow, a lover of nature and the great outdoors, then this recreational activity is something you would want to try (or have probably tried).
As for us, we’re the type of travelers that love many kinds of adventures—we enjoy being surrounded by tall buildings and feeling the hustle and bustle of the city, we love a good surf sesh and simply hearing the waves crashing while sun tanning at the beach, and when it’s winter time, you name it—skiing? Snowboarding? We’re there.
Trivia: winter may be officially over, but that doesn’t mean it ain’t a good time to go snowboarding. In the western parts of the world (and Japan), winter sports season is from late November to May, while you can enjoy recreational activities that involve snow in South America and New Zealand from late June to September.
Now we’ve had our fair share of ups and (falling) downs over the years when it comes to snowboarding, and we’re here to deliver some tips and tricks for all you men who are about to begin your snowboarding journey, especially if you’re currently planning your very first winter trip in the mountains and snow this year. Buckle up, my friends, here’s 10 tips that may come in handy for first-time snowboarders:
1. Buy protective gear
Even if they don’t necessarily look cool, body pads and wrist braces will be very handy for first-time snowboarders. Some part of the snow could freeze rock solid overnight so you ~can~ potentially break some bones. We personally recommend wearing compression suits to prevent muscle aches and injuries after, and help prolong your ride.
2. Bring a simple first-aid kit
When going on adventure travels, especially with activities such as snowboarding, always bring a first-aid kit with you to make sure you recover from sore muscles, because you definitely will hurt from all the bumps and bruises the first few times. But that’s part of the fun right? (If you’re scared of pain, then this isn’t for you.)
Things to include:
- Vitamin C booster
- Methyl Salicylate
- Ice Pack
3. You’ll need a proper pair of goggles
Although most ski resorts will provide most of the gear you need, your goggles (and gloves) are crucial to maintain good hygiene and we recommend that you get your own. They don’t have to be super expensive, but quality does matter. Trust us. You will enjoy your ride more with clear lens.
Things to look out for:
- Double lens – to prevent fogging
- MFI technology – to clip your mask to the goggles seamlessly
- Proper fit – not too tight or loose, and so you don’t get moisture that could cause fogging
- Lens with UV protection – as the sun reflects dangerous amounts of UV rays on the snow (some brands come with an extra set of lens for different weather situations)
A few warnings:
- Don’t take off your goggles as much as possible, unless you’re indoors.
- Never wipe the inside lens as it will scratch and remove the anti-fogging layer that comes with it.
- Store them properly so they last longer.
- NEVER put them on your forehead unless you’re wearing a helmet to prevent fogging from body heat. Your head causes the most heat.
4. Don’t overdress
We know it’s cold and you probably wanna look sports chic with layers, but your body heat from the activity will suffice and prevent goggles from fogging, sweating too much and being uncomfortable with the new movements. Go with just thermal undergarments underneath the snowboarding suit you’re renting unless of course, you’re the type that gets cold fast.
5. Stretch before anything else
This will pay off the next day and also prevent cramping.
6. Start with simple basic movements and slopes
Master them before gradually adding more variations. Know your limits. Use bodyweight and your upper body more than your ankles. Remember to bend your knees for better balance, speed, and braking. It’s also important to learn how to glide with one foot strapped in and the other just on top of the board especially when entering and exiting lifts. Whatever happens, don’t EVER get pressured into going up Black Diamond or the harder courses only to chicken out and embarrassingly come down in the same gondola you arrived in or worse, die a slow cold death in case you take the plunge.
7. Focus on the movements, not on the moments
Although you wanna capture all your important milestones, make sure to master the board and the slopes first before snapping and using your GoPros to prevent injuring both yourself and others.
8. Be wary of your surroundings and other skiers and boarders
Proper snowboarding etiquette will prevent you from having enemies on the slope who will wanna kill you.
9. Plan for emergencies
Bring a phone. Not for selfies but for emergencies. Know the number to call before you start. Work on a buddy system ‘til you’re good enough to ride on your own. Make sure you have pre-set agreements like where to meet and what to do in case you get lost. The snow may look harmless but it can be deadly as well.
10. Finally, relax and enjoy the ride
Feel the force, Luke. If you’re too tense, the board will feel it and the more you will fall. Once you master it, the adrenaline rush will be incomparable and this is probably gonna be one of the best things you’ll ever check off your bucket list.
There you have it, folks. Make sure you bookmark this entry and check back for when you’re starting to plan your trip!