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Snowboarding

The Basics



Snowboarding is a relatively new sport starting in the late 1960s. Snowboarders fall into three general categories of riders:
  • Freeriding - Most beginners will start off in the freeriding category spending most of their time on groomed ski trails.
  • Freestyling - A freestyler is the trickster, always looking for a cool jump sight.
  • Big Mountain or Back Country - These are the off-trail and powder snowboarders.

First Day Out

Rent equipment and take a lesson. Most mountains offer package deals with rentals, instruction and a lift ticket. Lessons will give you the basic techniques you need. If you take a group lesson, you will have others to console you and laugh with while you are learning. Learning should be fun. As in skiing, keep your weight low and forward. It will seem impossible to begin with. But once you get it, it's more natural and fluid than skiing. Be determined and stick with it! Plan on boarding for a couple of days, so you can solidify what you learned.

Footing, Bindings, and Gear
The first thing you'll need to determine is whether you're "goofy footed" or "regular footed". (these are the same terms used for surfing.) Which foot do you want forward on the board? You need to determine your "footing" by answering a simple little question. Which foot do you put forward first to stop yourself from falling? If it's your left foot, you're "regular". If it's you're right foot, you're "goofy"...

The next equipment issue is whether you'll use a soft or step-in/plate binding. Soft bindings use soft boots and plate bindings use hard boots that are similar to ski boots. Because the soft boots are more comfortable they are generally recommended and the most common for rental equipment. To plate or soft bind, this is the question! Plate bindings appear to be more like ski bindings; therefore they may seem easier. Some people swear by them. On the other hand some won't leave the comfort of soft bindings and soft boots. Both are worth a test ride.

Please write and let SheGear know what your preference is and why. Send your comments to gearadvice@shegear.com.

The first day you will be on your behind and knees a lot! It's really important that your pants are waterproof and rugged. Proper snowboarding pants are a must, please don't be frugal here. Wrist guards are a very good idea. Wrist guards for roller-blading will work just fine. If the snow is hard packed you may also want to think about kneepads.

Hitting the Slopes

Once you've learned the basic skills, you will be able to move it to the slopes and continue your progress. Finding the right equipment to match your style of boarding will be part of this progress.

Choosing a Snowboard
It's time to choose and invest in a board. Finding the right snowboard requires taking them for a spin or test drive. Weight is a key factor in the board you choose. Boards should be marked with recommended weight ranges. Basically, most women's boards are designed for smaller frames. However, some manufacturers have put more thought into designing. For more information, check out our page.

Ready to Fly

You make it look fluid, graceful and oh so fun! Some of the best women snowboarders talk about the camaraderie they have found in this sport. It is still seen as a male-dominated sport. Too tough for girls! You can help to change this...

Don't's

  • Keep the lower edge or downhill edge of the board up off the snow. If you catch your lower edge on the slope, it will flip you. Hard!
  • Don't give up! Determination is always the name of the game in learning a new sport! Once you've decided to learn, commit to mastering it. Everybody was a beginner once, and not that long ago.

Tricks

  • Tie everything down. You'll fall often and when you do glasses, goggles, watches, hats, etc. will fly off.
  • Get accustomed to the feel of the board first on a flat area. Push and slide the board around on the flat area with your back foot out of the binding and then try pivoting the board with both feet secured in the binding. Once you get a basic feeling, you'll be better prepared for a slight slope.

Safety

  • More and more boarders are wearing helmets. Head injuries are always serious, so don't take the chance.
  • As in any winter sport, be aware of hypothermia. Hypothermia is when the body's temperature falls below normal. Mild hypothermia occurs when your body temperature drops only one degree. Stay warm. The proper apparel and gear are so important! Give yourself the best you can.


Please send your suggestions and comments to gearadvice@shegear.com.

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