Winter is approaching and I’m sure many thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies will start looking for cool activities for their holiday vacation! Living in a tropical climate all year round, a cold climate year end holiday destination is a perfect choice for many Singaporeans. I was always curious about how nice it would be to snowboard or ski in the puffy snows! All those stunt jumps and tricks by snowboarders and skiers always look so cool in videos and magazines! To tick this off my bucket list, I finally signed up for a snowboarding class with The Ride Side as part of my New Zealand vacation itinerary in July 2017.
This was my very first time snowboarding and to be honest, I NEVER thought I would successfully learn snowboarding within the trip. I thought I would need a few trips or an entire season to be able to snowboard successfully but to my surprise, I actually DID IT within two lessons! YES, within 2 days I was able to snowboard and do some turns effectively. I even attempted the Blue slopes (Intermediate level) on the second day of my snowboarding lesson. Hooray for me! Here’s my gathered 10 tips on how you can learn snowboarding within two days!
#1 Find A Suitable Gear, Well Fitted & Tight
There must be a reason why this is at tip number 1! It is very important to find a fitting snowboarding gear, from top to bottom. EVERYTHING! Your waterproof snowboard jackets, pants, base layers, waterproof gloves, your snowboard, bindings, and boots must all be tight and fitting. If it is not fitting and tight enough, it will haunt you throughout your snowboarding experience and you will definitely suffer from the ill fitting equipment after effects! You MUST feel comfortable with your gear before attempting the sport.
Snowboard boots are very hard and difficult to wear and take off. Although snowboard boots are stiff, you will thank them at the end of the day, because they help reduce strain of your feet and legs muscles if you wear them tight enough. 🙂
#2 Don’t Be Afraid Of Falling
Some things were easier said than done, but all things were easier done once said! Mind over matter really works for this. At first I couldn’t even balance myself and stand up with the snowboard. Every time I tried to stand up, I would fall again because of my fear of falling, it hindrance my progression. After a few encouragement from my peers, I finally stood up and focused on snowboarding instead of worrying about falling. To my surprise, I got better after that! Once you master the balance. it’s really easy! 🙂
#3 Speed Is Essential
An average snowboarder travels between 40 to 48km per hour. This was considerably fast, especially for a beginner. However, come to think of it, you would definitely need speed for snowboarding as you couldn’t possibly snowboard without speed, else you would be snow walking! haha Don’t be afraid! Once you have control, you would be able to make nice turns and feel the adrenaline rush! Without speed, you will be easily stuck and trapped especially on flat surface. Speed is your friend! 🙂
#4 Wear Protective Gear
To be honest, when I was at the snowboarding shop with my instructors the first thing I asked them was “can I do without a helmet because I wanted to look cool?” They stared at me and shook their heads. haha. Ok I know, safety is more important than looking good. Beginners must always wear all the protective gears because you will be badly injured if you don’t. Trust me on this. No beanies as a replacement helmet ok. haha
These are the basic snowboarding protective gears you need:
- Body Armour,
- Bum guard,
- Knee pads,
I underestimated the number of times I fell while learning to snowboard. I only wore a helmet and goggle on my first day and I learned a painful mistake. Wear them all to ensure a safe and pain (less) free snowboarding experience! 🙂
#5 Look Ahead, Not Down!
For beginners, we have the tendency to keep looking down when we are going down the slope because of the fear of falling, but this is a common mistake as it will cause you to fall even more. Always look up and at the direction you are heading to and let your body movements naturally sway to the direction you want to go. So my advice is to admire the scenery and look at the direction you wish to go.
#6 Don’t Think About Taking Photos Or Videos Until You Master Your Skills
Another common mistake for beginners! The first time I was on the slope, after an hour of training, I can already manage to stand up, balance and heel side down the slope. It was exhilarating when I can start making turns. Beaming with pride from the encouragement of my instructors, I wanted to show off my skills. Conscious about them capturing video of my progress. You can watch the video below to see what I mean. Moral of the story, don’t get too complacent. Be humble and ignore the attention from others! My hundred dollar piece of advice! 🙂
#7 Workout And Prepare For The Adventure & Warm Up Before Your Snowboarding Session
As mentioned before, I really underestimated how physically strenuous it can be for beginners to learn how to snowboard. Thankfully, I kept my fitness level up by working out in the gym and do cardio once a week. That being said, I still cannot avoid the muscles ache. I was sore from top to bottom after the lessons each day, leveraging on every muscles in my body to snowboard. A perfect work out for the entire week! Core muscles, abs, pecs, arms, legs, during balancing and recovering from the numerous falls. haha On the other hand, I was really in great shape after the session! LOL
Snowboarding is a very physically demanding sport. The fact that you will be using almost every muscle group in your body to shift weight, making turns and stop, and of course the hardest, balancing. Remember to do your pre-snowboarding exercises and stretching! Snowboarding is consider as a sport for a reason! It is important to have some level of strength and endurance built up before spending time on the slopes.
#8 Better To Have Support From Family Or Friends
I would recommend beginners to not learn snowboarding alone. As you are unfamiliar with the equipment, terrain and demands of the sport, it will be very taxing on your physical and emotional being. Encouragement from a family member, friend or an instructor to keep an eye on you like a buddy is essential. The love and encouragements can boost your morale, especially falling numerous times may be discouraging and frustrating! 🙂
#9 Take Snowboarding Lessons From The Professionals
I don’t really quite get how someone can learn snowboarding by themselves! Especially, when you need to navigate turns and master some techniques to meander through different terrains. Getting a friend to show you the ropes may not work well in your favour as your friend may not have the proper knowledge to impart you with the right techniques and things to look out for on different terrains. You probably will start off ok, but you wont be able to go far! To have a solid understanding of proper form and technique, as well as to get some decent knowledge of snowboarding. Trust me, you will need the professionals!
I joined the trip organised by The Ride Side, a Singapore ski and snowboard company that organises ski and snowboarding trips annually (mainly to Niseko, Japan and Wanaka, New Zealand) based on a group travel concept! The Ride Side provides a unique group travel concept where I can meet other like minded skiers and snowboarders across various levels. They also provide 24 hours concierge service and arranged my transfers, picked me up and hosted me for a week in their beautiful apartment in the host country.
The best thing about engaging The Ride Side is that they have their own instructors who patiently guided us in our learning and tolerated our ignorance, haha! Most importantly, I have someone to help me record my progress at the slopes! The Ride Side makes me feel that I was being taken care by a group of friends! And I also met many amazing friends who learn snowboarding with me! We learn together, fell together and helped each other to get up together! Indeed, we are all great friends after this trip! 🙂
Planning to learn snowboarding by myself can be a hectic and expensive arrangement. Because of the brilliant group travel concept, it brings down the cost of travelling solo to Japan or New Zealand, finding my own accommodation and the toughest part – finding a good instructor! The Ride Side is not just for beginners but also for experts to share experiences and have fun travelling together too! Suitable for all levels of snowboarding and skiing lovers 🙂
#10 Don’t Be Too Stressed, Get Time Off & Travel A Bit Too
I really like the group travel concept by The Ride Side, besides learning to snowboard, the instructors and the lovely crew constantly checked the weather in the mountains. When the weather was not ideal for snowboarding, they brought us around for sight seeing, also checked out cool places and the off beaten tracks.
We checked out beautiful places like the blue pool. Drove around the beautiful lakes and mountains around Queenstown, and of course, did some trekking and hiking as well in Wanaka. The instructors and crew also brought us to nice restaurants for meals and check out fascinating cafes.
Initially, being a solo traveler, I was kinda skeptical whether it would be fun to travel with a group of strangers. But after this experience, I understand that because a group of like minded strangers came together to travel and learn snowboarding together, people will tend to conform as a group, simply because no one likes to be left behind or ostracize by the group. So, everyone was friendly, nice, considerate and perfect! haha. I went alone,and came back with a group of solid friends. 🙂
Snowboarding is really not that difficult after all. With professional guidance, peer support, and if you follow my advice listed above, you will do well! Just like learning how to ride a bicycle, once you get it, you got it! The rest is about challenging yourself on steeper slopes and enjoying the adrenaline rush from snowboarding down those the beautiful mountains!
The Ride Side will be starting their winter season this December in Hokkaido – Niseko, Japan. It will be another exciting time for snowboarders. Do check out their website and grab the limited slots as soon as possible! Have fun! haha 🙂
|Company||The Ride Side|
|Contact Number||+65 9298 5669|
Life is like snowboarding, you must get up every time you fall. Once you stop falling, you will then begin to enjoy it! 🙂