Want to be a better snowboarder but have limited time in the mountains? Then check out my tips to improve your snowboarding without actually snowboarding more.
Be a better snowboarder
Obviously spending more time snowboarding is the best way to become a better snowboarder. While taking lessons and riding with snowboarders that are better than you will speed up the improvement.
But for many of us time on the slopes is restricted by cost and geography so we are stuck with one or two trips per year. So without snowboarding more how can you improving your riding?
Tips to improve your snowboarding
Over the years I have tried many things to improve my riding. Some have helped, others have not. So below are my tips to help you become a better snowboarder that go beyond snowboarding more.
These tips to improve your snowboarding fall into two categories. The first is things you can do at home long before you go on your snowboarding holiday. The second is things you can do while in resort but not actually on the slopes.
Improve your snowboarding at home
These tips are all things you can do in the weeks and months leading up to a snowboard trip. In fact some are full on lifestyle changes that you can do year round.
Have you ever noticed that once you’re tired style and ability goes out the window? The fitter you are the longer you will be able to snowboard before you need a break or have to call it a day.
What we are talking about is cardiovascular fitness. So doing sports such as running, cycling, football, etc. Anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you fitter will make you a better snowboarder.
Overall fitness is important, but snowboarding is intense in short bursts. So doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) emulates the on off nature of snowboarding.
HIIT is basically working at near your maximum effort for a short period followed be a lower intensity recovery period. Repeat this multiple times.
There are many different HIIT training regimes out there. I use an exercise bike for this, but sprinting then walking or doing star jumps followed by side steps also works. Do it often enough and you’ll find yourself less likely to get out of breath during intense snowboarding.
Snowboard specific exercises
Snowboarding is all about core and leg strength so one of the best tips to improve your snowboarding is to target those areas. I do a range of different sit ups and stomach exercises etc to strengthen the core.
Next I get squatting! Practice holding a low squat for as long as you can. Do plenty of up down squats, adding a weight helps build the muscles (I used to do this halding my son when he wouldn’t go to sleep – who says guys can’t multitask!).
For you balance practice standing on one leg while doing movements that put you off balance. Single leg squats also improve your balance and stability while building muscles used when snowboarding.
Take up yoga
Yoga is great for flexibility and core strength which both come in very handy on the slopes. You don’t have to become a full on yogi but doing a basic yoga routine once or twice a week makes a huge difference. And if it helps Travis Rice and Hannah Teter it could help you too!
Check out Snowboard Addiction
Snowboard Addiction is a range of products that emulate snowboarding so you can improve your skills away from the slopes. They sell a jib board and rail that you can use to practice skills and improve balance in the home.
During last summer I reviewed the Snowboard Addiction Tramp Board. This is a soft board you can use on a trampoline to practice aerial skills. I found it helped with my spins, grabs and shifties whilst also improving my overall snowboarding fitness.
Watch instructional videos
Watching any snowboarding video helps increase the level of stoke and gets your motivation going. But watch instructional videos to find out how to do things. Then visualise yourself doing it over and over again.
If you want to learn a new trick or improve a certain aspect of your riding then watch videos about it. There are loads on youtube, but I found the Snowboard Addiction tutorials to be particularly good.
That extra tibre you are carrying is adding additional stress throughout your body when you snowboard. It makes everything tougher and the only benefit is it keeps you warm. So lose the weight and wear an extra layer!
What you can do in resort to be a better snowboarder
Here are some tips to improve your snowboarding once you are in the mountains.
I suffer with knee pain when hiking, running or snowboarding. My doctor said it is from inflammation bought on by the repetitive use of the joints during these sports. His solution was to take Ibuprofen before the activity that causes it.
So when in resort I usually pop a couple of ‘Vitamin I’ after breakfast and then again after lunch. Knee pain is avoided as the inflammation is stopped before it has begun. It means I can snowboard all day without pain which would affect my riding.
Ibuprofen also relieves the symptoms of other aches and pains that you pick up snowboarding. So even if you don’t suffer with any repetitive inflammation issues it’s worth having some in your pocket for on the go pain relief.
Pick some up at your local supermarket or online at The Independent Pharmacy and don’t miss out on time on the mountain.
Dynamic warm up before snowboarding
Probably the best tip to improve your snowboarding once in resort is to properly warm up. A few cursory stretches is better than nothing but what you really need is a dynamic warm up.
Dynamic stretching is active movement that takes your body through a range of motions that prepare you for snowboarding. So it isn’t about holding a stretch but about getting your pulse going, body moving and your muscles working.
I combine a series of yoga moves with dynamic stretches, jogging on the spot and squats. It only takes five to ten minutes. There are plenty of videos on YouTube offering dynamic warm ups for snowboarding. Watch a few and develop your own warm up that targets your weaknesses.
If you warm up you’ll start the day ready to snowboard and less likely to injure yourself. Rather than being tense and rigid it makes you a better snowboarder on the first run of the day. So start the day well and go from strength to strength.
Stretch after snowboarding
We’ve all ached so much the next day that we can barely get our boots on let alone snowboard. So rather than stretching for a beer stretch out your achy muscles. The next day you’ll be snowboarding better due to fewer aches.
A static stretch is fine, and even a cursory stretch makes a difference. It is best to do this straight off the slopes, but if you find yourself stretching your bank balance in the apres instead, then fit in a few minutes later on.
Get a massage
I am lucky as my wife is a massage therapist so I know the benefits of having a proper massage. It acts like turbocharged stretching, aiding recovery and dealing with any minor injuries. It works for professional athletes and will work for you too.
If you stay hydrated you’ll be able to keep snowboarding for longer and you will recover quicker. So drink plenty of liquid that isn’t beer. Water is best and sports drinks are obviously good too. Soft drinks, tea, coffee and alcohol don’t really help.
Don’t get hammered!
There is never a more deserved pint than the one you have after snowboarding all day. But if one pint turns into ten, plus Jaeger Bombs, chilli shots and toffee vodkas then the next day you will not be snowboarding at your best.
I ignore this tip at least once per trip and end up snowboarding with a hangover. My energy levels are lower, I am less inclined to do anything difficult, I make silly mistakes and end up with less time on the slopes.
On the flip side nothing gets rid of a hangover better than snowboarding. So my final tip to improve your snowboarding is to never miss a day on the slopes due to a hangover. So either don’t get hammered in the first place or drag yourself out of bed and up the mountain no matter what.
We hope you found these tips to improve your snowboarding useful. Do you have any tips that have helped you be a better snowboarder? Let us know in the comments.