How long does it take to learn how to snowboard?
This is a questions many snowboarders have fielded from friends, family, randos looking to get in on the fun.
And it is a valid question. After all, as we age we have less patience and interest in hanging out in the beginner stage of things. We want to skip right to the good stuff.
Not to mention, most people, if they’re interested in snowboarding, have heard about the pain of those first few days. Whether it is experienced riders reliving old glories or other friends who tried snowboarding for a day and gave up, the tales of a rough few days getting started have probably entered into their minds.
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So, how long does it take to learn how to snowboard?
As someone who has gotten plenty of people started in snowboarding over the years – from young and middle-aged adults to now my own kids – I can tell you that there is a definite timeline to learning how to snowboard. This timeline seems to run true regardless of whether you get lessons or not, have skied before or not, whatever.
Everyone pays the same price to play.
There’s a saying that snowboarding is hard to learn but easy to master, while skiing is easy to learn but hard to master.
I would generally agree with this for one reason.
It only takes three days to learn how to snowboard, but they are going to hurt. Especially as you get older, these three days that it takes to learn how to snowboard will probably be the most painful you’ve had in a while.
Three days? That’s all? No problem.
Everyone who has taught someone to snowboard has heard that. Yet many who try will quit before they have a chance to experience the glory of day three.
Learning to Snowboard – Day 1
Pain, pain, and more pain. It’s hard to watch, and often an older learner will turn inward and ask to just be left alone to struggle through. This is the person that really wants it and is digging deep.
For my kids, I held their hands on the bunny slope and made sure that this day didn’t keep them from ever wanting to strap a board on again. But good luck finding someone who cares as much as a dad.
Generally speaking, you’ll get some tips then you’re on your own.
This is because, when it comes to finding that delicate balance of the edges, there’s no way to explain it. You just have to get the feel.
Learning to Snowboard – Day 2
The sooner you get Day 2 after Day 1 the better off you are. Like most things, that learning process is best without a large gap here.
Sure, your tailbone is busted, your knees are bruised, and hopefully you didn’t break your wrist on day one.
But this is the day, arguably the most important day, to get back on the horse.
Day 2 is 1000% better than day one. You’ll just have to trust me. The balance and awkwardness of having your feet strapped to the board will start to improve.
It’s just less weird overall.
Many will quit, not trusting the encouragement that it will be SO MUCH BETTER than Day 1. But you will not quit.
You want this. You believe.
Learning to Snowboard – Day 3
You’re linking a couple of turns and resting on your knees softly.
You’re sitting down to rest without collapse.
It’s coming together. You’ve made it.
At this point it is just a matter of repetition. But you have the idea.
Dare I say you’ve even had a little fun?
When I say you learn to snowboard in three days, am I saying that you’ll be pulling 360s in the park? No, of course not.
But you’re riding, turning, and importantly not falling so hard.
If you can link these three important days together in one go you’ll be well on your way. If you spread these three days over three years, you’re stuck in Day 1 hell.
So get out there, find the time to commit to three days of snowboarding. Resist the urge to say, ‘you know, I’ll just ski for a couple of days and come back to this’.