Where Should I Start Snowboarding?

The best place to learn snowboarding is the beginner zone. Almost every ski area will have an area dedicated to the beginner experience. If you spot a ski instructor yelling “Pizza!” at a toddler who appears out of control towards a fence, you are in the right place.

An ideal area to get started is a flat area with a little room to yourself. Pro tip: most ski areas offer a discounted pass to beginners who only need to access the learning area. FYI: You still need a ticket to use those carpet lifts where the lessons run.

Snowboard Instructor Leading Student

Which Foot Do I Strap In First?

Snowboards have a nose and a tail. They are designed to ride down the slopes in a direction where the nose leads the tail. When strapping into your snowboard for the first time, you need to decide which foot will be your ‘front’ foot stationed closest to the nose. This is the foot you’ll strap in first – the leg that stays connected to the snowboard when ‘skating’ around flat areas.

For the time being, your other leg is your workhorse. You’ll use it to push you around, balance, rest, and provide whatever support you need. For this reason, people tend to rely on their stronger leg as their back foot on the snowboard.

Pro tip: in board sports, a stance with the left foot in front is called ‘regular’ while a right foot forward stance is called a ‘goofy’ stance. There is no advantage to either stance; the only factor to consider is how it feels. Advanced snowboarders can ride ‘switch’ with their opposite foot forward, having mastered their normal stance direction. As a general rule, directional binding angles and snowboards should be avoided when learning to snowboard.


Snowboard instructor in canada

First Steps For Beginner Snowboarders

How to stand on your board

Find a comfortable position with your front foot attached and your back foot resting on the snow (or on the board against the back binding). Think relaxed but still somewhat athletic. Do a gentle squat to flex your joints to feel ‘ready’ to snowboard. You want to feel as though you’re in ‘neutral’ and can move around if necessary.

Practice sliding the snowboard on flat ground

Resist the urge to ride the lifts! Be patient; that time will come. For now, practice the simple act of gliding the snowboard base on the snow. Become familiar with the sensation so you feel comfortable doing a little ‘skating’ around the flats without fear of falling. Start with your board pointed in the direction you want to go and give a couple of gentle pushes with the back foot. Bonus points if you can step your back foot on the board inside the back binding and glide briefly!

Pro tip: once you’re up and running, check your equipment. Ensure your boots are done up tight, and the ratchets on your bindings secure your boot to the board without wiggle room. For the gear to work as intended, everything in the system, from the body to boot to binding to the board, should fit seamlessly (at least after a short break-in period). You can release that boa a little if you’re cutting off circulation. For more info on buying boots, check out our guide to Boots for an Instructor Course.


How To Side Slip On A Snowboard

Start with your snowboard sideways across the trail on a gentle beginner slope. Adopt your ‘ready’ position and ease into the hill, keeping your board perpendicular to the run or ‘across rather than down’. By doing this, you will control any ‘speed’ that the slope creates. Speed is a relative term – we are talking baby steps on the bunny hill here.

Sideslipping is the fundamental beginner snowboarding manoeuvre – beginners should take their time at this stage. While you’re struggling to figure out what does what, you are calibrating your sense of edge control, which is the essence of snowboarding. Play around flexing and relaxing your ankles, standing tall and squishing small. Try equal weight on both feet vs pushing more on one.

How To Snowboard on the Toe Side

Two snowboarders side by side. One instructor one student learning to stay centered


Last but not least, you should attempt sideslipping on your toe side edge. You guessed it, that’s the part of the snowboard in front of your toes. Unless you’re with an instructor, you instinctively learn to sideslip on your heel side edge so you can see where you’re going. Most learners bypass this vital step and pay for it when it comes time to attempt linking turns. Gaining confidence and familiarity on the toe side early in the game substantially decreases the learning curve when the heel-to-toe edge change arrives later in your progression.

Pro tip: if you’re going to fall while trying to toe side sideslip, you want to fall uphill. Tilt your posture slightly uphill, sink closer to the board by dropping your butt, push your knees forward and ensure your toes and the front parts of your feet are pressuring the snowboard. Do your best to avoid developing the habit of ‘breaking at the waist’. All this combined, should keep the heel side edge out of the snow while you gain comfort and learn to control speed on your toe side.



Interested in learning more?

How many days to get good at snowboarding?

With the right guidance, individuals with basic athletic ability can become proficient snowboarders in a relatively short period. By enrolling in a training program through a provider like the Winter Sports Company, you’re setting yourself up for success in a supportive learning environment. Using effective methods such as CASI’s Quickride system, you can progress from a ‘never-ever’ to making connected turns in just a day. Mastering chairlift-accessed terrain is an attainable goal for most beginners in their first week of snowboarding. ‘Good’ snowboarding is a combination of movements that allow you to control your speed and direction with ease.

How to get better at snowboarding quickly?

The most effective way to enhance your snowboarding skills is to seek professional guidance from an experienced snowboard instructor. A skilled instructor can assess your riding and identify areas for improvement from the moment you start. After observing your technique, professional instructors can provide immediate feedback and suggest strategies or ideas to help you reach your goals. On a Winter Sports Company program, you’re in constant contact with an expert snowboard trainer who will accelerate your progress and make the learning process more enjoyable.

What level do you need to be a snowboard instructor?

You can seek employment with a snow school and start working as an instructor for beginner lessons with the Level 1 Instructor certification. To teach beyond beginners, you must work towards the Level 2 certification. A Level 1 instructor typically teaches the basics in the beginner zone, whereas a Level 2 can teach intermediate riders in the corresponding terrain. Snow schools assign students and lesson types to instructors based on their level of certification. Freestyle certifications are required for teaching in the terrain park.

How do I train to be a snowboard instructor?

Training to become a snowboard instructor involves targeted practice of snowboarding techniques at regular intervals, ideally under the guidance of a professional trainer. Taking a course with a provider like Winter Sports Company ensures your training follows a systematic approach designed to expedite your progress and prepare you for success. These training programs are curated to produce industry-ready professionals who succeed at certification courses and exceed as new employees in their snow school.