Tips, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Racing and Training
Home>>Tips and Techniques: Beginning Snow Boarder Tips (Part 1)
Determining your lead foot
The following are ways to figure out your lead foot (your downhill foot…the one that will stay strapped/clipped onto the board, with safety leash secured, when you’re on the lift): 1. The foot that stays on the ground while kicking a ball should be the leading foot. 2. Try sliding across a room. Whichever way you slide across should also be the way you stand on a snowboard. 3. If these don't work, have someone gently push you from behind, and whichever foot you put out to brace yourself should be your leading foot. If all of these tests still don’t identify one specific foot, then just put your left foot in front. This is considered a “normal” stance, as opposed to a “goofy” (not that it’s a name-calling thing) stance, in which your lead foot is your right foot. Now to begin your snowboard experience.

Getting onto and off of the Ski Lift
First, make sure you don’t tie your boots too tight (even though that’s kind of hard to do with snowboard boots). Boots that are too tight will impede blood circulation, and make your feet cold.

Next, with your lead foot secured into the binding (don’t tighten your bindings so tight you can see wrinkles in your boot…not comfortable), and your leash attached (some ski areas are very picky about that, and I’ve seen enough loose snowboards careening out-of-control downhill to understand why), use your free foot to push/shuffle yourself to the lift. Some people push with their free foot behind the board, some in front. If I’m on a relatively flat surface, I push with my free leg behind the board. If I’m going straight up a hill, I scoot the board up behind my hopping front leg. With practice (and probably lots of tipping over), you’ll know which mode of locomotion works best.

When approaching the lift, I recommend left-foot-bound snowboarders try to sit on the left side of the lift, and visa versa, so you can toss half of your board over the safety bar (if there’s one available). It lets you relax your leg so when you unload you don’t tumble down the off-ramp in a crumpled heap. If you’ve ever had a heavy board strapped to one dangling leg for 10 minutes, you know what I mean.

If you encounter a situation where there is no bar to rest your board on, cry, mumble to yourself, and then figure out that you can rest the bottom of the free side of the board on top of your free foot, so that the board rests on a sticky part of the toe of your boot. That way the weight is distributed between your bound left foot and your right toes.

So now you have to get off the lift. What I suggest you do is turn yourself sideways in your seat, bound foot forward (after you’ve lifted the bar, of course) and ease your weight from your behind onto your bound foot as it slides along the top of the off-ramp. Also, (and this part requires a little extra coordination and must be done quickly as you are sliding forward onto the ramp), put your free foot on top of the geometrically shaped piece of adhesive rubber that is the stomp pad, which should be between the two bindings and somewhat close to the unoccupied binding, and press the outside of your free foot against the inside of the free binding. This should keep your free foot in place on top of the board until you can clear the off-ramp. Then distribute the weight between your two feet, and attempt to glide down the off-ramp without catching an edge and tumbling into a heap in front of the lift operator (although I’m quite sure they’ve seen it all). If you can follow these instructions, you’re good to go.

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Beginning Snow Boarder Tips (Part 1) | Beginning Snow Boarder Tips (Part 2)