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Readers Respond: Learning to Snowboard Doesn't Have to Be Painful!

Responses: 22

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Take lessons if you're older

I learned at 50. I never skiied. I learned in Japan (great place to ride) and took lessons from the base where I live. That shortened the pain process. I went on to teach for a while and now even keep a blog http://snowboardingjapan.blogspot.com/
—bryantpierpont

Against my better judgement

I took my first snowboard lesson in the early 1990s because I was bored with downhill skiing, but after a couple of hard falls backwards, I decided I never wanted to do it again. Fast forward about 15 years when I took my daughter for her first snowboard lesson. When we got to the ski area, she wouldn't take a lesson unless I joined her. I had sworn I would never get on a snowboard again, but here I was trying it again. Surprisingly, I enjoyed it while my daughter quit for the day after the lesson was over. The equipment was so much better than when I first tried snowboarding, but I struggled to link turns for two more visits to the ski area, falling almost every time I tried a heel turn. Finally, I discovered that if I pointed my downhill hand in the direction I wanted to turn, I was almost guaranteed to turn that direction without falling. I was linking turns in no time though I have not yet mastered getting off the lift and have not tried anything harder than easier blue runs.
—Guest ELJones

Old skier takes lesson

At age 55 I took a beginner snowboard lesson, 15 minutes later if my skis had been in my truck I would have quit. One hour later I could go down the hill using the "falling leaf" technique. Now I ride almost all of the time, and only ski if with friends at one of the few "no snowboards allowed" resorts... and that was four years ago :-)
—Guest Annieq

Getting yelled at

Ahahah I had a one minor lesson once and could barely link turns. After than that it was riding with the two older bros. I still remember being 10 or 11 at the time and going with my two brothers. Funny thing is with brothers is if you fall or screw up or want to fail, they just tell you to get your rear end back up and get going. I guess trying to live upto their standards motivated me to keep trying and trying. Just the words of get up and try again and practice hard and push yourself is all it took. It is cliche, but no pain, no gain in learning how to snowboard. And now I have surpassed both of them, and it is them that I thank for it.
—Guest Irv Gotti

1987

It’s the year 1987, I’m seventeen that winter, I placed a Sim’s half pipe on lay away at a hobby store throughout the summer to pay it off. My first day out was rough and on a busy Saturday only myself and one other guy were riding boards, everyone else had on cripple sticks. I still ride today, of course I have shared my love of this sport with my two girls. They both learned on a 90 at the age of 3. Last spring my oldest now 14 says “dad, I don’t know how to ski.” And I said “ yeah you sure are lucky, worst years of my life!.”
—Guest jd

The Modified "Follow Me" Method

A lifelong skier, my boyfriend was a snowboard instructor and intern at Burton Snowboards. He scored some gear for me, dragged me to the top of the bunny slope at Mt. Snow, and said, "I'll see you at the bottom!" Needless to say, I wasn't happy. Incredibly, on my first try I was able to heel-slide all the way down without falling! After that, Jack took my hand and told me to push on my toes, leading me into a toe-side turn. From there, I started linking shaky turns within minutes. It wasn't until I got higher up on the mountain that I finally fell. While it's true that snowboarding is harder than skiing at first, I'm really glad I learned!
—Guest Michelle

I learned by teaching skiing

I'm not a very good snowboarder. I can link turns, hop around, and fall with the best of them. But that's about it. However, I learned those amazing skills by being a ski instructor. One rainy day at Okemo, when the bumps were melting and the cruisers were like glue, I put on a board, hopped on the lift, and fell. For a bit. But I'm a ski instructor. I teach little kids to ski. Learning to snowboard follows the same basic principles (Caveat - I can't snowboard well, if you missed that part): Stay balanced, point yourself where you want to go, don't be afraid to fall, make sure you get back up.
—Guest PJ
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