learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult

The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult

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So, you are learning to snowboard as an adult? The atmosphere, the soft snowflakes falling, the cozy cabins, the skis and snowboards, and the après ski activities. There is something so magical about hitting a good day on the slopes.

However, you might be asking yourself, “what if I don’t want to ski? What if I want to do something a little different…?”

After that, I bet you thought to yourself that snowboarding looks like a ton of fun!

And I am here to tell you that in my humble opinion…it absolutely is! Here is everything that I know from learning to snowboard as an adult!

But Who am I?

It’s important to preface here that I am not a snowboard company that is trying to sell you gear or classes. I am not an early-20s male who came out of the womb snowboarding and can do a triple cork 1440. I am just an average person who decided on a random Tuesday that she was going to learn how to snowboard.

While learning, I noticed that there were a ton of companies giving you advice, but not a lot of personal accounts telling you about how it actually is…

In this post, I’m going to be talking about my own personal experiences with learning how to snowboard as an adult. My hope is that you can take my snowboarding journey and mistakes and apply them to your own experience to eventually become a badass adult snowboarder.

And to sweeten the pot, I’m gonna add an epic FAQ at the end to answer your most asked questions. These are not answers from professional snowboarders, but by locals who just enjoy the sport and learned later in life.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Night boarding at Keystone, Colorado.

My Bucket List Review of Learning to Snowboarding as an Adult

CategoryWinter Sports
Who Should Add This to Their Bucket List?Stubborn people who can take a hit.
Best Time to GoDepends on your location.
Colorado: December-March
Traveling DifficultyEasy
Physical DifficultyDifficult
Popularity Rating8/10
Group Tour RequiredNo, but lessons recommended.
Wheelchair AccessibleNo
Favorite Place to StayThe Sebastian (Vail)
Find Snowboarding Packages/ToursGo to Viator
Traveler’s Insurance (if you are traveling to snowboard,
this is non-negotiable!!!)
Get Quote with VisitorsCoverage

If you need more information about the categories of this table, please check out the Bucket List Reviews guide.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Basking in the amazing views when snowboarding in Colorado.

The Basics of Snowboarding

Contrary to popular belief, when you first start snowboarding, you are not going to point your board downhill and scream at the top of your lungs. Let’s talk about some basics for snowboarding.

Note: this is not meant to be a “how-to” guide and I am not a snowboard instructor. There are more qualified snowboarders that you can go to for the details of this sport if that interests you.

This is just so you get some terminology down and know what the heck I’m talking about in this entire article. It is also to give you some perspective of what you might learn and what it takes to learn the basics of snowboarding.

Heel side

You are most likely going to start with your body facing down the mountain and your board perpendicular to the slope. Here, you are on your heel side. I personally always said “heel edge” but I think the correct term is “heel side”. Slowly, you will lift your toes and start to move down the mountain, side to side, across the slope. This is commonly known as the “falling leaf”.

Toe side

Once you have mastered that, you will do the same thing but backwards on your toes (I can hear the panic when you read that). Meaning, you will be facing uphill and you will slowly bring your heels to the ground to move from side to side down the slope in that same “falling leaf” fashion.

Linking Turns

Once you feel comfortable with your toe edge and your heel edge, you will slowly start connecting them and pointing your board downhill in between.

Let me paint a picture. You are on your heels. You will slowly start to point the board down the hill and then transition into your toe side. Then, point your board back down the hill and transition into your heels. Rinse and repeat.

Eventually, this becomes so smooth that you move down the mountain in the stereotypical snowboard fashion. When you just tip into the edge and cut across the snow without skidding, you are carving.

My Experience of Learning to Snowboard as an Adult

Before we get into the nitty-gritty aspects of snowboarding, let me tell you about my experience of learning how to snowboard as an adult.

Before Learning to Snowboard

If you do not know me, I am a Colorado native. And if you don’t know anything about Colorado, I can tell you that snow sports are a BIG deal. My father and my uncle both were on the slopes religiously as I was growing up. Was I? Absolutely not

I have had plenty of opportunities to go, but I just never got around to it. Maybe I was too busy studying because let’s face it—I was a nerd. I actually never got onto the slopes until I was 16. But me, that bunny hill, and some skis absolutely slayed

I cross-country skied a few times in Norway during university and loved it! However, that love was still not enough to get me to go up to the mountain on a constant basis. 

Soon after I got back from college, my uncle decided to teach my cousins how to snowboard. I decided to go on a whim (cause why not?). 

Bonus Tip: If you are looking to go, I would recommend trying to board in the Rocky Mountains, Japan, France, or other locations in Europe.

Learning how to Snowboard

I soon learned a very very hard lesson that would come at the cost of my poor head and tailbone.

Now a quick disclaimer: I was a 21-year-old 5’7” girl who did yoga. I was strong, but my body was not used to more aggressive physicalities and I am a bit awkward. I surfed and rode a longboard once.

Aka—I was not prepared for this at all. I have noticed that highly athletic individuals who have done activities like these pick up snowboarding a lot quicker! Or some people just have a natural feeling and talent for it. Hint: I was not one of these people. 

Getting Angry with Snowboarding

Anyway, back to the story. When I was learning how to snowboard, I landed on my butt, I landed on my face, I landed on my wrists.

At one point, I fell forward so hard that my back curved and my board hit my helmet. I would learn that this is called ‘catching a front edge’. More on that later…

I then would hit a ‘back edge’ and get the wind completely knocked out of me. I would end up just kinda laying there and contemplating my existence. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that dramatic, but it did feel like that sometimes!

And because I wasn’t naturally gifted, my trips up to the mountain consisted of this for a while. The entire experience was extremely frustrating for me. 

So, you might ask: why did I go back? If I’m being honest with myself, it was because it made me angry. Every time I fell, it made me angry. It made me want to get back up and do it until I conquered it

This anger really did push me through the learning phase until I became a true beginner. Then, whenever my calves stopped screaming from constantly being on my heels, I found that I was actually having fun.

Then once I started linking my toe and heel edge, I was absolutely hooked

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Teaching my best friend how to snowboard in the Rocky Mountains, USA.


Who should try snowboarding and who would like it?

People who enjoy a challenge

I am going to be honest, if you think that snowboarding is just a quick and easy hobby to pick up then I would say that you are either Shawn White or you are in denial.

If you are closer to the rest of us mere mortals then please believe me that this is HARD work! Learning to snowboard consists of a lot of falling and getting back up…even when your body and mind don’t want to.

For some, it is more difficult than others. However, I think that every snowboarder can remember those bumps and bruises that they got from the first few times they put their boots into their snowboard bindings.

Stubborn people who hate it when things get the best of them

I have also found that learning to snowboard can also be motivated by ultra-stubborn people. This would probably be my category.

I remember my soul lighting on fire when I would fall. Even though my body went through a lot, my stubbornness just wouldn’t let it win and would not allow me to give up.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Me on my very first day of snowboarding!

People who can take a hit and get straight back up

If you are the type of person who takes a bad fall and doesn’t want to do it again, that is OKAY (aka my mother)! It is natural to not want to feel that level of pain and there are a lot of other ways that you can enjoy a ski resort without breaking your body over and over again.

Hell, just enjoy the après ski minus the ski! You do you! It’s a lot of money to do one run and then sit in the lodge and drink hot chocolate.

However, if you are the type of person who can fall and be mentally strong enough to get back up and the entire thing exhilarates you, then learning how to snowboard is definitely for you!

I do think that some people are lucky in this department. For example, my 7-year-old cousin would fall and then pop back up again like it was nothing because he was simply closer to the ground. My tall body, however, had quite a long way to fall and a more energy-consuming way to get back up.

To add to it, getting up becomes increasingly harder when the preceding fall hurt like hell!

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Chillin’ on the mountain with our snowboards.

What to Bring & Gear You Need When Learning How to Snowboard

Essential Gear to Rent

At the bare minimum, you will need to rent (or buy):

  • A Snowboard with Bindings (duh!) – Ask for one made for a beginner. If they truly have no clue what to give you, I would tell them to give you a directional twin rocker or hybrid rocker with a soft to medium flex*.
  • Snowboard Boots – Make sure to get ones that fits your foot with a thicker sock. There is nothing worse than having a snowboard boot that is too small.
  • Helmet – Please. Please. PLEASE wear a helmet. Don’t die. Please. Ask for one with MIPS.

I would make sure to tell the company you are renting from that you are learning so they can make sure that all of the gear is perfect for you and a beginner.

*Note: you don’t need to know what all the board styles are, but the basic two are rocker and camber. I actually learned on a stiff camber and ate more snow than my own lunch because it is easier to catch edges on a camber board.

You can, of course, transition to a camber if that better fits your riding style. My dad loves riding camber boards! Me? Not so much.

Snow Gear

I have personally never rented snow gear, but I have heard that it is possible.

  • Thermal Shirt – I have worn long sleeves and sweatshirts before, but the thermal shirts are amazing. You can get them at any sporting goods store.
  • Thermal Leggings – I haven’t noticed as much of a difference with these and have worn leggings or sweats. I personally prefer it to be a big baggy to avoid feeling constricted.
  • Winter Sport Socks – This is a must-have! These socks are made for snowboarding, provide adequate compression, and give extra support in all the right places. Some of my foot pain went away just with proper socks!
  • Winter Sport Jacket – This isn’t just a heavy coat. This is a coat that is specifically designed for winter sports and keeping you warm all day in the cold while falling in the snow!
  • Snow Pants/Bib – This is probably the most important since you are going to be falling on your butt and sitting in the snow for the majority of the day! I prefer bibs (vs pants) so the snow doesn’t go up my shirt when I fall.

I would focus mostly on a hefty pair of snow pants and jacket because you will be spending a lot of time in the snow from falls. A nice pair of sweats and a sweater isn’t going to cut it. Sorry…

Other Useful Things to Bring

  • Water – Want to be extra prepared? Bring a camelback!
  • Sunscreen – Ever heard of a goggle burn? Look it up. Don’t let it be you.
  • Chapstick – This is surprisingly more useful than you would think.
  • Snacks – Keep your body running optimally! I always bring fruit cups or pre-packaged smoothies.
  • Wallet – To treat yourself to a drink or snack after all of your hard work! You deserve it!

Tips for Learning How to Snowboard as an Adult

do some strength training before learning to snowboard

Although I had pretty strong legs from yoga, I was surprised at how many muscles were destroyed from learning how to snowboard as an adult. 

If I could wind back the clock, I would do some strength training before my first day, particularly hitting legs (calves and quads) and core

I think that by strengthening those muscles, it would have put me in a better position to learn how to snowboard more enjoyable—not to mention less risk of injury.

Training During the Off-Season

Another amazing piece of advice that I received was that once the season is over keep training! Work to strengthen all of those muscles so that once the next snowboard season hits, you will be ready to shred.

This is especially important if you are no longer a spring chicken! Working to strengthen your body as an older adult will help to reduce your risk of injury while you are snowboarding and increase the amount of time you will get to spend on the slopes!

Try a Snowboard session at an indoor facility

When I first started learning to snowboard, I did my first 30 minutes at an indoor training facility. In Denver, I went to a company called Snöbahn.

This was my first time on a snowboard and we worked on going down the artificial mountain on my heels.

For those of you who just said, “Uhhh…how?”. It is basically a carpet that replicates snow on a conveyor belt so that it can simulate the feeling of snowboarding down the mountain. 

This experience was so helpful, and I wish I would have invested more time with a certified instructor in a controlled environment before venturing out into the snowy wilderness! 

What if this isn’t an option?

If this isn’t available to you, I would suggest putting your boots and board on in your living room and simply practicing distributing your weight on your heels and your toes.

This could get you more comfortable when you do end up heading up the hill and give you the practice of getting in and out of your bindings. 

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
My first tears shed on my first day on a snowboard. It is okay to laugh…I think it is hilarious!

Learn in a Safe Environment

So I did my first snowboard day at Loveland: the hidden local gem of Colorado.

There are two areas: the valley and the pass. The valley is more for beginners and had a magic carpet (a moving conveyer belt) and a traditional lift.

However, since it was early in the season, the Valley was closed. 

Therefore, my first experience putting on a board was just at the bottom of the hill by the lifts. And let me tell you that was STRESSFUL.

There were people everywhere, I caused a skier to fall, and the snow was very uneven. We didn’t really have a choice but if I were to do it again, I would have found an actual learner’s area to rip off that bandaid.

It is very important to learn in a stress-free and safe environment. Pick a place with a lot of open space to fall and where a child skier isn’t going to cut right in front of you.

Consider starting on Your toes first when learning to snowboard

I am sure that there is a reason that everyone starts learning on their heels, but one of the most frustrating parts for me was getting up from my butt

Please note that if you prefer getting up from your backside, then skip this one!

Yeah sure that is great, but keep in mind that I am a bit taller with long legs..so this took a lot of energy. And if you are falling every 10-20 feet and constantly needed to get up, that energy can add up quickly and make you exhausted.

And guess what happens when you are exhausted? You get injured

After learning to get up on My toes first

After I learned my toe side, I realized that it was substantially easier to go on my knees and push my body up with my arms. Ever since I learned this, I rarely get up from my heel side. 

I am in no way shape or form a snowboard instructor and I know that it is most common to start learning on your heels.

However, if I could go back and learn all over again, I would learn how to get up on my toes and then transition to my heels right away to save myself some of that energy and exhaustion.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Going snowboarding at sunset!

Be Prepared for Catching Edges

If I had to pick the most common and dreaded thing about snowboarding, it would no doubt be catching an edge. In fact, just writing it out caused me to gag a little bit. But what exactly does this mean?

Front Edges

When you catch a front edge, it means that you are on your heels and you’ve dipped your toes down a little too far. This causes your toes to catch on the snow and you to fly forward to land on your face. Not fun…at all.

Front edges are one of the most common reason for wrist injuries since it is basic instinct to try to catch yourself when you are flying forward.

The best advice I’ve received for handling front edges: try to brace your fall with your forearms instead of your wrists. This will increase the surface area and avoid wrist injuries.

Back Edges

Back edges are reversed. You are on your toe side and you dip your heels down too far to catch on the snow. Then, you crash on your butt or your back (and maybe your head!) down the mountain. This is even more intense than you are used to because you are at an angle on the slope. Again, not fun…not even a little bit.

The best advice I’ve received for handling back edges: try to sit down as fast as possible and land on your butt. This will avoid you landing on your back and getting the wind knocked out of you. I’ve been there and it’s not a great time. Trust me.

For me, edges and getting off of the lift were the worst parts about learning how to snowboard. Once, I caught a back edge so bad that I couldn’t sit properly for a week.

I don’t care how good they are, every snowboarder has eaten the snow or been slammed on their back at one point or another. Just say “catch an edge” to a snowboarder and watch their left eye twitch.

They are a part of learning how to snowboard, just like falling when riding a bike. It is a rite of passage when learning. So, accept that they suck, get over it, dust off your ego, and keep snowboarding!

focus more on the correct technical aspects of where to place Your weight than just doing what “feels correct”

Looking back, most of my learning experience was just figuring out what I thought was correct and not falling.

I would literally get up and tell myself internally over and over again, “Don’t fall. Don’t fall. Don’t fall.”

Although I am doing okay now, I realize that this strategy cost me a lot of time and pain. 

If I had to go back, I would have hired an instructor or at the very least looked up some videos on YouTube on the proper technique regarding where to distribute your weight and what to do with your feet.

I think that if I would have taken the time to practice good technique, I would have progressed faster than figuring it out for myself. As the old saying goes: practice does not make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
My first day learning to snowboard with my family!

Find Simple Instructions that work for You

When I took a snowboard lesson or was being taught by my uncle, it sometimes seems as if they were speaking another language.

Once I started accumulating simple tricks to help me become a better snowboarder, I started improving. Here are the best ones that I have heard over the years (including instructors) that made sense to my brain:

  • Look forward and focus on where you want to go.
  • Stop looking at your feet–they aren’t going anywhere.
  • Leaning into your back foot isn’t going to make you go slower; don’t be afraid to lean forward into the slope.
  • Bend your knees to have more control over the snowboard.
  • Bring your arms out to a “T” and reach in the direction you want to go.
  • When on your toes, reach and look over your shoulder gently in the direction you want to go.
  • Be patient and don’t rush the journey!

*Please note that none of these are here to substitute a snowboard instructor or be instructional advice. Please take a lesson from a qualified teacher to ensure the best experience. These were just tips that stuck in my brain and helped me learn.

Try to Go on a Powder Day for your first day

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are going to fall hard on your first day. Maybe even your first few days! And this is okay!

If you manage not to fall at all during the initial learning phase, then you deserve an award!

This means that fresh snow has fallen and when you do fall, it won’t be on hard compacted snow or (even worse) ice. Your tailbone and head will thank you later.

tell Yourself that learning to snowboard is going to suck for at least 3 days but then it gets better

I don’t know if I was expecting it to be as easy as learning how to ski. But, if I could go back in time, I think that I would warn myself.

I have heard the saying that skiing is easy to learn and hard to master, and snowboarding is hard to learn and easy to master. I am not a master at skiing (maybe one of my readers can confirm this for me), but I agree with the learning part of that statement. 

I think that if I had a more realistic outlook on how brutal it was and how much work it would actually take to learn, I think I would have been a little less hard on myself.

Buy a Stomp Pad

You want to know my second biggest anxiety that comes with snowboarding besides catching edges? Getting off of the lift!

How do you get off the lift as a snowboarder?

When riding the lift, you will have one foot strapped in and another foot loose. This causes the board to dangle by one foot when you are riding the lift.

Once you approach the end, you will put your food on the inside of your back binding and ride on out.

Seems simple? It’s actually super difficult. The times that I have gotten injured have all been getting off the lift…

Therefore, it is a common practice to put what is known as a “stomp pad” on the area inside of your back foot. This increases traction with your boot and makes it easier to get off lifts.

Mine is currently a cute little snowflake and I love it! You will find this on the majority of snowboards-even pros. If you are a beginner, this is a non-negotiable. Unless you want to fall all over the place and have the lift staff running out asking if you are okay.

This is one area where the skiers definitely win!

How to get better at getting of lifts with a snowboard?

The honest answer? You don’t. All you can do is practice and try not to fall.. Even after 4 years of snowboarding, the lift still gives me anxiety and I still fall every once and a while.

It’s a necessary evil of the sport. Oh, well.

get snowboard boots that are well-fitted for your feet.

This is easily the thing that I most regret when looking back. Now to put it in perspective: I bought all of my gear out of someone’s garage in Denver.

All of it was used and it was very cheap (compared to the monster price tag that comes with buying new gear). Although it was good for my wallet, there was definitely some gear that I would invest in if I were to go back in time.

One of those is BOOTS. I had old boots with laces that had been worn by multiple users. In addition, I could not keep the laces from coming undone. This caused my ankle to progressively get looser as I went down the run.

I found that my ankles and the souls of my feet were absolutely destroyed after a day of boarding. After my first season, I invested in some boots that were recommended to me by a professional. These had the BOA system instead of laces.

Boots with the boa System when learning how to snowboard

I know that some people don’t love BOA, but I honestly can’t image my life without it. You essentially just turn a dial and it tightens the boot and stays in place.  

Some newer boots even come with two sets of BOA dials to get a perfect snug fit on your foot.

If this isn’t an option, I would make sure that the boot that you bought fits your foot and is comfortable. There are places that you can heat stretch the boots to mold them better to your feet. Or I would check out how to DIY heat stretching.

After riding with those boots, I was actually so mad that I didn’t just invest in them from day one and went that entire season with terrible foot and ankle pain. Just make sure that if you do invest in new boots to get a professional opinion and make sure they are comfortable and broken in before you go.

Pro Tip: if new sparkly gear isn’t in the budget, consider looking on neighborhood selling platforms like NextDoor, Facebook marketplace, or Craigslist. I found incredible deals on there for great gear, and then you can heat stretch them to fit your foot if needed.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Snowboarding during a blizzard during my first season in Colorado.

rent a Learn to Ride “LTR” snowboard

Although I didn’t notice a huge difference from the board, if I had the necessary funds, I probably would have rented an LTR (learn to ride) board for the first 3 days or so. And then used the board that I bought out of some dude’s garage. 

These boards are designed to combat the main problems beginners face (like catching edges and contemplating their existence). 

They have edge beveling, an aggressive sidecut (gives you more flexibility), and a soft flex (this is more forgiving during turns).

After my first season, I ended up actually buying a retired Burton LTR from my neighbor. I didn’t realize how much better it was for progressing and working on technique. 

I don’t think you that need to necessarily buy one as I did. However, I think it would have been nice to have one during those first few days when I was catching edges left and right.

buy a helmet with MIPS before You hit the mountain (and wear it!!!)

I know we all love that guy who flies down the mountain at an ungodly speed only wearing a beanie and goggles.

He may seem cool but please don’t be him. There are more times than I can count when I have been grateful that my helmet is there! 

In my third season, I invested in a helmet with MIPS in it. For those of you who didn’t know, MIPs is a slip-plane system that moves inside the helmet.

How Mips Works And Why You need It when learning to snowboard as an adult

In theory, it replicates the brain’s own protection system. The layer inside rotates inside the helmet in an effort to slow or reduce the impact/energy to the head. 

I decided to buy this because I learned about it in my motorcycle program. Ever since I’ve found that it gives me a nice peace of mind and protects the noggin. 

When I look back at the cracked, used helmet that I bought for $20 out of a garage and how hard I fell when I was learning, it is a marvel that I have any brain left (or maybe that would explain some things…haha!).

Long story short, your head needs to be protected at all costs. I would have invested in a good helmet before I even hit the slopes.

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult
Finally getting more confident after I learned how to snowboard and transitioning to a bigger mountain.

buy a camelback to stay hydrated

This is more for comfort than practicality or safety but nonetheless deserves to be talked about. 

Since this is a sport, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Unfortunately, it is harder than you think to keep drinking water.

There is something incredibly annoying about stopping, sitting down, taking off your gloves in the freezing cold, taking off your backpack, and unscrewing a normal water bottle. After a while, I just stopped drinking water. Hint: that was not a good idea. 

I then found the magic of a camelback. Ooooo aaaaaa. I have the straw right there and it is no hassle at all. 

Just an extra little tip, just make sure to get the insulator tube and cap. This is so it does not freeze the water inside of the straw.

Learning How to Snowboard FAQ

Adult Learning How to Snowboard as an adult
All of Your Questions Answered

Absolutely! It is never to late to shred the mountain! The only difference is how you approach it. Injuries are easier, recovery is longer, and falls hurt more. You might not have the luxury of learning how to snowboard the “hard way”. But do not let that stop you!

Find your wrist guards, bring your butt pad, and find a little bit of courage. Just go for it! It is never too late! I have snowboarded with people in their 50s and I have a hard time keeping up with them!

I am going to be completely honest with you. When I first decided to snowboard, I looked up “how hard is it to snowboard” and got a lot of answers from professional snowboarders saying that it was easy.

But I’m not a professional snowboarder. I’m just an average lady with average athletic abilities. And I don’t want to sugar coat anything only to have you blind-sided later.

It is hard. You fall. You cry. You wonder why you are doing this to yourself and spent so much money on a lift ticket. But I promise that it is worth it! You just have to get over that 3 day hump and make it through the first season! And if you are taking professional lessons this process will go even faster!

Honestly, once I felt comfortable on my heels with the “falling leaf” or riding across the slope, I felt like I could handle most things and get out of the learning area. Once I started linking my turns, I was HOOKED and was having the time of my life.

This is going to be vastly dependent on the person. Several factors such as athletic ability, natural talent, and even how hard you push yourself are going to determine how long it takes for you to learn how to snowboard.

With my personal journey, I had my heel edge down by the end of my first season. By the end of the second season, I was comfortable on my toes. After my third season, I was linking the two together. Now, I snowboard without even thinking about it. I do have to say that I am a very relaxed snowboarder. I am there to have fun, not to push myself. So I think that if you push yourself, this timeline would be accelerated.

As for all of my snowboarding companions, they have done it for about 3 seasons (years) and are comfortably linking their turns and having a blast. My cousins, on the other hand, started at the same time that I did and are shredding and jumping off of everything (ahhh to be athletically-inclined and fearless teenage boys…)

Don’t panic! I’m going to give you a list. Fortunately, most of these things can be avoided or minimized with proper instruction and common sense. Nevertheless, here is the list of snowboard doom:

  • Fatigue
  • Injury
  • Getting off of lifts
  • Catching edges
  • Getting cold
  • Not having the right gear/not being used to the gear
  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration
  • Peer pressure
  • Pushing yourself too hard
  • Taking on too much at once

Just go at your own pace, preferably with an instructor, and you will be just fine! Always listen to your body and take care of yourself, especially when learning as an adult. If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t feel right, just call it a day and live to snowboard tomorrow.

If you consider linking turns to be the ending point for learning how to snowboard then I have some bad news for you. I honestly don’t know if this could be accomplished in a day by a true beginner.

If you do this, please contact me so that I can pick up my jaw from the snow in front of you.

On my first day, I was absolutely exhausted after just two hours of snowboarding, and I fell about 25 times on my rear and face.

The fastest I saw someone pick snowboarding up was my friend from the UK (ironically). He blew my mind with how naturally talented he was at the sport. Yet, he still didn’t make it down the mountain on his first day.

However, I do have to say that with extreme hard work, proper lessons, and acceptance that you won’t feel your tailbone in the morning, it is possible to learn all of the basics of snowboarding in a day.

The short answer is yes. Although, I would not recommend it. I would, at the very least, watch some free instructional YouTube videos before you hit the slopes.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that anything compares to a proper lesson.

Keep this in mind: I tried to teach myself how to snowboard. I got pretty good at my heel edge, too! But it wasn’t until I just sucked it up and invested in a lesson that snowboarding actually started to make sense to me. I was sick of falling, not knowing what I was doing, and always being the last one down the mountain.

I think that if you are okay with going at a relaxed pace and you have a buddy supporting you, you should be fine with teaching yourself.

If you want to take the sport seriously, keep up with all of your skiing friends, and maybe save yourself from some gnarly falls, then invest in a lesson.

What does this feel like? It. Feels. Terrible. These are the moments that I talked about where you just contemplate your life choices.

When I would catch a front edge, I would kinda just lay there with my face in the snow and try not to cry. I have also stopped to ask a few snowboarders if they were okay when they were in this position. Pick yourself up and keep going. We’ve all been there.

I think I actually dread back edges more, because there is more of a chance that you are going to get the wind knocked out of you. Again, just accept that it is part of the learning process and every snowboarder has gone through it.

This is a tricky one. I would realize that catching an edge is a part of learning how to snowboard and it is unavoidable in most cases. It is a snowboarding rite of passage.

As we chatted about before, learning how to “fall” correctly can make a huge difference. Falling on your butt and forearms can help absorb the shock better than your wrists and back/head.

And know that it does get better! I used to catch edges all the time when learning but now it is a lot less frequent.

I certainly think that there are some aspects of skiing that can be transferred over to snowboarding and it can’t hurt to have that experience.

However, don’t be fooled. It is a completely different feeling and those stuck in their skier ways might struggle a bit.

I personally thought that learning how to ski was leaps and bounds easier. At least I didn’t cry my first day of skiing. At the end of my first day, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp at the basics. My second time cross country skiing, I did a 10K in Norway.

After my first day of snowboarding, I sat in a corner and frantically tried to return my season pass and my gear. HOWEVER, please note that I don’t ski anymore. My lessons weren’t enough to capture my attention with skiing.

So, even though I joke about it, learning how to snowboard is worth it! I stuck with snowboarding and I cannot tell you how incredible it is when you don’t let it beat you. I truly feel free when I am carving the mountain and wouldn’t give it up for the world!

Are you looking to learn snowboarding and reading this article? Don’t forget to follow and tag me on social media so that I can see how it went! I would love to hear about your experience of checking this off of your bucket list and to cheer you on from the sidelines (and wincing when you catch an edge).

Just remember—we’ve all been there and it is worth it in the end!

Adventure Bucket List Resources

I am here to help your travel adventures go as smoothly as possible! That way you can check off that bucket list with minimal complications and spending!

AIRFARE – It is no surprise that like many travelers, I have found that Hopper is one of the best resources to use when finding cheap flights. 

ACCOMMODATION – My two favorites are Booking.Com for hotels and VRBO for rentals. 

GUIDED TOURS –  If you are looking for quick and easy tours, check out GetYourGuide and Viator

MULTI-DAY TOURS –  For more in-depth tours that span several days, TourHub has many great options with reputable travel companies. Use my code (ALEXANDRA1GURU) for up to 5% off your next bucket list adventure. 

TRANSPORTATION –  You can either rent a car yourself with Discover Cars or do a guided bus tours like Big Bus Tours

CREDIT CARD –  I always use my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all of my purchases. There is no annual fee and you get 1.5% cash back and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel. 

SIM CARDS –  Avoid expensive roaming charges with an eSim card with Airalo.

TRAVELER’S INSURANCE –  Check out VisitorsCoverage for affordable insurance plans.

More Colorado Adventures for your BUcket LIst

learning to snowboard, The Harsh Truth about Learning to Snowboard as an Adult

US: Colorado Bucket List

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Everything in Colorado that you need to add to your bucket list – and I’m extra biased because I’m a native!

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