We won’t sugar coat it, the first day of learning to snowboard can be a bit rough. A snowboard lesson is key to making the day a bit easier, but there are some things we can only learn by falling and getting back up. Kids make it seem easy, but most of us have to go to work or school then next day and need to be able to function. Fortunately, there is plenty of gear available to take the potential pain out of that glorious first day on the mountain. With a couple key items, you can learn to snowboard safely without wondering whether you’ll be able to sit down the next day.
Helmets: We will cover this first because it’s truly the most important piece of equipment for first time snowboarders, and for riders of any skill level. Beyond the obvious use of protecting your head from encounters with the ground, more importantly is protecting you from the other guy. It doesn’t matter how good of a rider or skier you are, sometimes you just can’t see the other guy coming. Collisions happen and wearing a helmet is the only way to ensure that even if you are caught off guard, you’ll still be safe. Worried about style? Riders in helmets these days are the majority, and with many different brands, styles and colors to choose from, you can bet you will be able to find a helmet that matches your riding style and personality.
Wrist Guards: A wrist injury is the most common injury in snowboarding, and in fact was one of the first things I got as a beginner rider! When you’re learning you’ll catch your edges occasionally. It’s how you learn to use them, and quite frankly there’s no way around it. Of course, when you catch your edge, the first thing most people do is catch themselves by extending their arms and landing on their hands with their wrists locked, which causes wrist injuries. So can you wear any old wrist guard, right? You could, but they probably wouldn’t fit well under your glove. Snow specific wrist guards are made to fit snow gloves and keep sweat from building up and making your hands cold. There are even gloves that have wrist guards built right into them, which can usually be removed down the road as you get more comfortable.
Butt Pads: You might laugh, but any snowboarder can tell you that their first couple days would have went a lot easier if they were wearing butt pads. Often just a padded pair of shorts to be worn under snow pants you can’t even tell if someone is wearing them. Are they only for beginners? You tell me if you’d rather learn to ride rails or hit jumps with or without a little extra padding for those not so perfect performances.
Knee pads and other pads also exist for those who want to stay as safe and comfortable as possible and are a great option if you have your reservations about giving it a try. These along with the above items can definitely provide you with more of a safe learning experience.
Our point overall isn’t to scare you away from trying to learn to snowboard, and as said before taking a lesson is the first step to making your progression as smooth as possible. These items are just great safety tools that make learning a bit easier and definitely less taxing on your body, so that trying to perfect your skills is the only thing you have to worry about.