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How to Turn on a Snowboard

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How to Turn on a Snowboard
Snowboarder cranks turn on mountain slope
Ascent Xmedia/The Image Bank/Getty Images

You've got all your gear , have learned to skate on the flats, and have taken the chairlift to the top of the hill. Now you have to get to the bottom and, unless you plan to ride down on your butt, you're going to have to do some turns.

Turning on a snowboard is done by executing a fairly simple set of movements. It's actually very easy to learn with the proper instruction. Trying to figure out how to do it without proper instruction, however, is very difficult and usually ends in failure and frustration.

For this reason, it's strongly recommended that you have a qualified instructor teach you learn how to turn. If you don't have an instructor, then the next best thing you can do is bring your smartphone to the hill, review this article, watch a good instructional video, and have an experienced friend guide you through the process.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 30 minutes to several hours

Here's How:

Frontside Turn

  1. Stand on a gentle slope with your knees bent, both feet strapped into your snowboard, and your weight equally distributed across both feet. Make sure that your snowboard is perpendicular to the fall line (i.e. pointed across the slope). Standing this way, your back edge should be digging into the hill to prevent you from moving.

  2. Flatten your board on the snow so that your back edge is no longer holding you in place and you start slipping down the hill while still standing perpendicular to the fall line. Apply pressure to your back edge again to stop yourself from slipping.

  3. Repeat this a few times to get a feel for side slipping and how your edge interacts with the snow to control your speed.

  4. Once you feel comfortable with that, the next step is to gradually flatten your board on the hill while shifting your weight to your front foot. As you do this your board will turn and point downhill. Now you're halfway through the turn. This is where things can get a little scary. Once your board is pointing downhill you'll start to pick up speed quickly. Your instinct will be to lean toward the tail of your board (i.e. away from the direction you're moving) or to fall down to stop yourself. It's important that you keep your cool to finish the turn.

  5. Keeping your weight on your front foot turn your head and upper body so that you're looking back up toward the top of the hill. You're doing this because that's the direction in which you want the board to rotate. Since your weight is on your front foot, the board will pivot in relation to it. As you twist your upper body toward the top of the hill your body will naturally pull your rear leg around, rotating the board until it's once again sideways on the hill.

  6. Once your board is sideways on the hill, apply pressure to the front edge of the board to slow and stop yourself.

Congratulations. You've just completed a frontside turn. Now let's try a backside turn.

Backside Turn

  1. Once again, you're going to stand with your knees bent and weight equally distributed to both feet. This time your front edge will be digging into the hill to prevent you from moving.

  2. Again, you will want to practice sideslipping by gradually flattening the board on the snow to start sliding and then applying pressure to the front edge of the board to slow and stop yourself.

  3. When you're ready to turn, once again flatten your board on the snow and shift your weight to your front foot. Remember not to freak out or lean back when you start picking up speed.

  4. Turn your head and upper body as if you are trying to look behind yourself by looking over your downhill shoulder. Again, this will twist your body in the direction that you want the board to rotate, and will cause you to naturally pull it around so that it's once again sideways on the hill.

  5. Once the board is sideways on the hill, apply pressure to the back edge to slow and stop yourself.

Congratulations! You've just completed both frontside and backside turns. You're well on your way to snowboarding like a champ. Now, all you need to do is continue practicing them to make them smoother and more fluid.

Tip:

  • No matter how closely you study this article, you're probably going to forget everything you just read when you're on the hill. Either print out this article or save it to your smartphone so that you can review it when you run into difficulties.

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