Becoming the next Shaun White simply isn’t going to happen overnight. However, with some time spent on the slopes and a good attitude, you could be shredding in no time.
Learning how to snowboard can often come naturally to some people, while others may find it a little more difficult to get going. Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself taking a little longer than others to learn.
When I first started snowboarding, I was terrible, I could barely stand up. It’s normal!
Let’s take a look at how long learning to snowboard can take, as well as some other commonly asked beginner questions.
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How long does it take to learn how to snowboard?
Although learning to snowboard is often times based on the individual and how much effort they put into it, we are able to calculate generally how long it takes people to go from a beginner level snowboarder to an intermediate level snowboarder.
On average, it will take you 25 days of on mountain time to properly learn the fundamentals of snowboarding and advance from beginner green runs to more challenging blue runs.
The number of days spent on a mountain learning to snowboard can vary based off a number of factors, including:
If you have a background in sports that require similar balance like skateboarding, surfing, or water skiing, you are more likely to already have the pre-built in balance it takes to stand up comfortably on a snowboard, meaning you will learn faster than someone without that same experience.
Like most things in life, the people that put in the time and effort will always learn a new skill faster than those who take a nonchalant approach. If you are serious about learning how to snowboard and want to do it quickly, it’s best practice to show commitment and get out on the mountain as often as possible.
Although learning to snowboard overnight would be convenient for everyone, it’s not realistic. Learning to snowboard is a skill that requires much patience. You are going to fall, and you are going to have a hard time at first, if you have patience and don’t give up after a few failures, you will be cruisin’ in no time.
What are the skill levels of snowboarding?
Snowboarding has four skill levels; beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert. Each skill level requires the complete understanding of different skills, styles and techniques.
As you progress through each skill level it will require more and more time to progress through the next level, for example, you could progress from a beginner skill level to intermediate skill level in one season. Whereas, advancing from an intermediate skill level to an advanced skill level can take multiple seasons to achieve.
If you are unsure what level you are currently at, take a look at these riding standards videos from CASI-ACMS to get a better idea of where you stand.
Can you learn to snowboard in a day?
Learning the basics of snowboarding in a single day is very rare, but possible for some. Usually, people with a background in sports that require the same balance, like skateboarding, can pick up the basics of snowboarding and conquer blue runs in their first day.
For most of us, our first day snowboarding should be with an instructor that will take you through the basics, things like:
- Finding your stance & getting comfortable standing up
- Practicing gliding and J-turns
- Connecting your turns
All four of these steps will take you some time to get comfortable with. So, don’t expect to be tackling the slopes on your own in the first day.
Can you teach yourself how to snowboard?
Becoming a “self-taught’ snowboarder is not impossible, however the majority of people will be better off learning from an instructor.
If you attempt to teach yourself how to snowboard, you will likely learn things at a slower pace than you would if you learned from an instructor and develop bad habits.
Snowboarding at the beginning CAN be dangerous, especially if you don’t have someone there to show you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. This is why it’s highly recommended you take some form of snowboarding lessons, as it can drastically reduce the potential risk of injury.
How hard is it to learn how to snowboard?
Chances are, when you first hop onto a snowboard, you are going to fall. When I first tried snowboarding, I spent the entire first day on the mountain either on my knees or my butt. I went back to my hotel and wanted to give up, I’m glad I didn’t as my second day was much easier, and I had a lot more fun.
Learning to snowboard is hard at first. The major factor you will have to overcome when learning how to snowboard is balance. Unlike skiing, you do not have two poles or two skis to help keep you upright. Once you figure out how to properly balance on your snowboard, it’s fairly easy to progress with time and effort.
I’ve found snowboarding can be harder to learn than skiing. But once you learn the basics, progressing in snowboarding becomes much easier than progressing in skiing.
Is it too late to start snowboarding?
I see this questions far too often online. People wanting to get started snowboarding but are wondering if it’s too late to do so.
It’s never too late to start snowboarding. What tricks you are able to perform on a snowboard may change as you get older, and your body slows down, but generally if you just enjoy cruising down the slopes it is never too late to start.
When I first learned to snowboard, I took group lessons and in my group was a couple that looked to be in their early 50s, and they were killing it! Never think it’s too late to start, there is no better time to start snowboarding than now.
Need proof? Check out Donald, an absolute legend who learned to snowboard at age 73!
Can you forget how to snowboard?
Fundamentally, snowboarding is like riding a bike in that you don’t really ever forget how to do it. You may not be as sharp as you once were, and it may take time for everything to come back to you, but the fundamentals you learned will remain, and you’ll be able to hit the ground running.
On my last snowboarding trip, I was bringing along a buddy that hadn’t snowboarded in years. He was worried that he wouldn’t remember how to snowboard, and he would make a fool of himself.
I’ll admit, I thought he was going to have a hard time, too. However, once we got to the top of the mountain it seemed to all come back to him, he wasn’t shredding like crazy, but he wasn’t falling all over the place either. By the time our trip had come to an end, he said he felt like he never stopped.
Everyone wants to start carving it up as soon as possible, but learning to snowboard properly can take some time. Enjoy your time learning and soak up everything that you can from your instructors, you’ll be cruising down a fresh sheet of powder in no time.