Top 5 Common Beginner Snowboarder MistakesTop tips for a beginner snowboarder starting their new passion!

Katie Blundell


6 months ago in News

I can imagine if you have never snowboarded before, the whole snowboard thing can be overwhelming. It would be like me diving head first into the world of Competitive Worm Charming (an actual sport, google it!) = clueless. When you are a beginner snowboarder, its difficult to know what to do and how to do it. Not just snowboarding, but everything that comes with it. Here are my top 5 most common beginner snowboarder mistakes, and how to combat them to make your first experience one to remember and ensure you continue snowboarding for years to come!

Where the right gear

A huge rookie mistake is not knowing what to wear whilst snowboarding. Many beginner snowboarder may think its ok to just wear your usual UK winter jacket that you wear around town, then just layer some jumpers underneath it, job done. Problem is, most of the UK “street” jackets don’t have the technical features, warmth, waterproof and breathability ratings that proper snowboard jackets will have. You will be freeeeezing in the snowy mountain weather….and wet. Make sure you get kitted out with a specific snowboard/ ski jacket, plus pants.

Then think about layering. Layers are great as they trap in warm air plus can easily ditch layers when you get too hot, so can regulate your temperature whilst snowboarding. I normally wear a thermal (top and bottoms), t-shirt, hoody, jacket. On warmer days, ill leave the t-shirt layer out. On really warm days, I’ll leave the hoodie off and just ride in a jacket or thin waterproof jacket instead.

Another common mistake is over-dressing. If you have never been to the snow before, a misconception is that its always really cold. Which it can be! However, there are pretty warm days too when the sun is shining and you are riding in the spring. Also, when learning to snowboard, you can actually get really hot. So don’t truss yourself up like a Christmas turkey, so fat with layers you can barely more. You will melt. Also, it will be difficult to manoeuvre yourself around.

Over-Packing

I ALWAYS have this problem. I always pack so much stuff, then only use maybe a quarter of it! Less is more when packing for a snowboard trip. Guaranteed, even if you have a suitcase of “snowboard chic” items, you will just end up lounging around in your thermals and the same hoody for the trip. So stick to the essentials… helmet, gloves, jacket, pants, thermals, snowboard socks (more than 1 pair!), hats (keep to minimum, not 1 for everyday), goggles, sunglasses and sun cream. Then clothing wise…… couple pairs of trousers, hoody, a couple jumpers and a couple t -shirts. Honestly, you won’t wear more than that in a week. Shoes wise, just one pair of decent mountain/ non-slip shoes will do. Things definitely not to pack…..skirts, heels, prom dress, shirt and tie, crown, snorkel, crop tops, hoover, dressing table, diamond earrings or a kitchen sink. Hmmmm, I need to take some of my own advice.

How to pack for a snowboard trip

Lack Of Snowboard Preparation

Couch to 5k…….couch to mountain extraordinaire??! You don’t have to be a super fit Olympic athlete to be able to snowboard. But it would be good to have some level of fitness before your first snowboard trip. If you currently don’t do any exercise at home, you may struggle. I would advise a little bit of fitness stuff before you head to the mountains. Walking, cycling, gym, yoga, swimming are all good shouts. More snowboard specific workouts if you wanted to step it up a notch. Even better, some pre-snowboard snowboard lessons in a snowdome. Lessons in the UK will save you spending so much time on the nursery slope when you get there. Plus get your muscles “snowboard ready”. Also a good excuse to test out your winter snow outfit!

Running Before You Can Walk

I have definitely come across (and may well have been one of them) beginners who are over-confident (aka cocky?!) and think they will be able to snowboard straight away. Off they go, straight to the top of the mountain for their first run, only to find snowboarding is a little harder than expected. Now they are stuck at the top of the mountain (which all of a sudden seems very steep), with only one way down…DOWN (or back down the gondola hanging your head in shame!). What I’m trying to say, is don’t run before you can walk. Start with basics on the nursery slope and work your way up from there. Everyone progresses at different rates, so go at your own speed and don’t worry about others. Yes, there will be people that can do a black run on their first snowboard holiday. But everyone will get there in their own time, no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself and go too far out of your comfort zone first time.

Underestimating Altitude

As a beginner snowboarder, don’t forget to take the high altitude of the mountain resorts into consideration. Some resorts you will be ok and barely notice the effects of altitude. Others resorts that are higher up, the effects will be more prominent. High altitude can cause headaches, dizziness, sickness, problems sleeping, lack of appetite, shortness of breath, dry mouth/ sore throat, stuffy nose and generally feeling unwell. Altitude sickness can ruin a holiday if you’re not careful , so take measures the lessen the blow. Make sure you drink lots of water, rest when you need to, ease yourself into snowboarding (short days first before full days on the mountain), eat good healthy meals, get enough sleep, and whatever you do……don’t get hammered on the first night. Take it from me, you will have the worst hangover you your life!

Another effect of altitude is sunburn. Sometimes a beginner snowboarder may think that they are going to a wintery place so will not need sun cream. Quite the opposite. You actually need a way higher factor suncream. The high altitude, mixed with the strong sun reflecting off the snow, and wind burn can give you the worst sunburn. So make sure you use a high factor and don’t forget your lips too. Goggle tans are cool in the mountains, but not so cool when you have to go to a family wedding straight after you get home.

If you want to learn to snowboard next winter, sign up to our beginner camp in December 2019 in Meribel and learn with likeminded travellers!