As a snowboard instructor, I make no effort to hide my belief that taking a lesson, especially when starting out, is the best way to learn to snowboard. A recent study out of Gifu University in Japan has, not surprisingly (to me, at least), come to the same conclusion. After studying over 2,000 injuries, the researchers concluded that "snowboarders lacking licensed instruction accounted for 9 out of 10 injuries." Awkward Japanese-t0-English translation aside (we refer to qualified instructors in the U.S. as being Certified, not licensed), the study proves what many have always suspected. The "follow me, buddy!" method of learning to snowboard is not only ineffective, it can also be downright dangerous!
Of the 2,000 injuries studied, nearly half were to the wrist. Wrist injuries are common in snowboarding, especially for beginners, as the urge to "shoot" out a hand when falling is strong. Proper training (it's generally recommended riders either don't put out a hand to break their fall, or if they do, to curl their hands into fists), higher speeds, and more experience tend to diminish the risk as snowboarders become more proficient.
To read the whole study, please visit Yahoo! Health.