- Sports and Recreation»
- Individual Sports
5 Beginner Snowboarding Tips for Kids
Snowboarding is a very popular winter sport and loved by many! You are never too young to learn how so as long as you have enough balance to be walking on your own! Starting any new sport can be scary at first and oh so difficult, but I have just the right snowboarding tips to get your kids on board!
1. Gauging Interest
First things first, you need to gauge the interest of your child whether they’re 2 or 12! It’s never fair to throw a kid into sports solely for the parent’s enjoyment. Doing so can end up being a huge waste of time and money, and not to mention needless tears and embarrassment for your child!
A few good ways to tell if they are interested in giving it a try:
The clear “I want to try snowboarding!”
Take them to a snowboarding event.
Show them Youtube videos of kids their age snowboarding.
Take them to a mountain to watch various other snowboarders carving around.
If they seem uninterested no matter what you show them of the sport, then chances are, it’s not a good fit for them and your quest for snowboarding tips stops here.
2. Picking Out Gear
In order to start snowboarding, it’s important to have the right gear! Even for beginners, I never, ever recommend getting one of those lousy $25 boards from Walmart as they are nowhere near the look or feel of a real snowboard. If a child gets used to one of those, it can end up being harder to learn on a real board.
Rule of thumb: The right size snowboard should be from your toes to in between your chin and nose.
If your child is young, say age five or younger, Burton makes this wonderful snowboard for littles called After School Special (pictured right). It’s convenient because it comes pre-mounted with bindings that fit any snowboot and it’s easy for little hands to tighten up. It also has a metal edge like full-sized snowboards that help with maintaining balance in the snow.
If you have an older child, then consider first taking them to the ski lodge to try out different rentals to find a good fit for them. The bigger your children are, the more options they will have and it can be difficult to just go pick one without their say!
The good thing about buying an expensive board to start out with is if the youngster loses interest in it and the board is in great shape, you can resell the board and make most of your money back! It pays to invest in quality whether it helps foster talent or goes back into your pocket in the end. If money is an issue, consider buying from outlet stores, or used from people selling on Craigslist.
Also, don’t neglect the warm clothing. They will need appropriate protection:
Snow boots (or snowboarding boots)
- Insulated under layers
3. Balance First
If you have their gear, then they are ready to begin! You will first want to start by practicing balance with them on their board. I highly recommend this being done indoors on carpet at first. Have them practice strapping into those bindings and getting on their feet, oh, and staying on their feet!
Once they feel good about standing up on it, they need to determine which stance they are most comfortable in: Regular (lead by left foot), or goofy (lead by right foot). You can help them figure this out by pulling them around on the carpet to see which feels more natural to them. Bindings may need to be adjusted depending on stance.
Typically, right handed people will favor regular stance, while lefties will favor goofy stance.
Are they feeling okay being pulled across the carpet? Is there snow on the ground? It’s time to move it outside! Do the same thing that you were doing with them on the carpet, except on the snow which is much more slick. If you have any very low hills nearby, I’m talking like 10 degree angles, then go ahead and encourage them to go down it for the first time.
They keep their knees relaxed and bent.
They keep their eye on where they are going
They know how to fall properly (Yes, there’s a right and wrong way for this!)
4. Hitting The Snow (Literally)
If your child is going to be riding, then they’re going to be falling. At first, this is the only way they are going to be able to stop their forward motion!
When trying to stop in the beginning stages, it’s best that they lean heelside and plant their butt in the snow. If a true spill is inevitable and they are unable to shift balance to their hindquarters, the next best way to go about it is to try to shift their fall so that they are falling into the slope rather than down the slope.
Also, have them practice making a fist and punching straight into the snow instead of falling on their hands. Falling on their hands can cause injury to their wrists!
Did you find this article useful?
5. Make It Fun!
Riding is all about fun. Always be encouraging but not pushy. Never push your child to go for longer than they feel like, and if they have friends who ride, take them along, too!
Having a few friends to help teach them some snowboarding tips can be the best form of encouragement to pick up on any new sport and help keep the mood smooth-riding!