Do you want to discover the feeling of gliding? Try snowboarding. It’s an extremely playful sport that’s open to everyone, regardless of their level.
Think it’s too complicated for you? Don’t be intimidated! To prove that this sport is beginner-friendly, we visited La Clusaz in the French Alps and collected advice from Victoria Codron, better known under the name “Vik.” Codron is an instructor at French skiing school ESF and winner of the school’s 2006 snowboarding instructor challenge in boardercross. Here, she shares her tips for starting this discipline well.
Wed’ze: Do you think there’s an ideal age to start snowboarding?
Vik: 8 is the minimum recommended age because cartilage is pretty well set at that point. Beyond that, there’s no age limit! I’ve even accompanied a 60-year-old beginning student.
Wed’ze: Do you need to know skiing basics to start snowboard?
Vik: No, not necessarily. Even though skiing basics help snowboarding beginners (especially edging), you can definitely start snowboarding without having practiced any “gliding” sport.
Wed’ze: What are your recommendations in terms of equipment?
Vik: Don’t worry about your outfit the first time you go out. It’s better to concentrate on safety: we usually think about the helmet, but many people disregard wrist guards (even though beginners suffer most from wrist injuries!). In terms of a board, choose one that’s flexible and “not too long” (it should come up to just below your chin when vertical). In terms of adjustments, the spacing between your feet should be at least the length of your forearm (including your hand). If you adjust your bindings yourself, the angle should be 2 to 4 degrees toward the back and +10 to 15 degrees toward the front. Also remember to tighten the bindings and boots; forgetting this is a common error.
Wed’ze: What exercises do you recommend starting with?
To start, I advise beginning on a bunny slope with a natural stop. Strap in only the front foot to gain balance. After passing through that first level, you can go on to a gentle slope to practice skids and “falling leaf.” At that stage, I recommend familiarizing yourself with the ski lift, as it lets you work on balance and navigation of flat snow. Then, (maximum in one day or two, sometimes in several hours, depending on your capacity with the slope), you can take curves with your heels (heelside) and your toes (toeside).
Wed’ze: Thank you for these fantastic tips, Vik!
With Vik’s advice, you now know that snowboarding is 100% fun and accessible to every motivated person. Now that you know more about snowboarding, are you ready to go on an adventure? By yourself, with friends or with family … let’s go!