First steps to becoming a slopestyle snowboarder

February 7, 2014 No Comments »
First steps to becoming a slopestyle snowboarder

So your kids watched slopestyle snowboarding and now they want to fly!  Awesome, but first they must learn how to snowboard. Whether your child learns to ski before snowboarding or goes straight to snowboarding is up to you, but our experts suggest that your child learns to ski first.

There are four basic rules of learning to ski or snowboard:

  • Take a lesson from a certified instructor. Your best friend’s other friend may know how to snowboard, but it’s a sport best learned from a professional teacher.
  • Rent or purchase boots that fit properly. Like running shoes, the better the fit, the better control a person will have. Oversized mittens, jackets, pants, or goggles are fine, but oversized boots and helmet are not.
  • Choose a soft snow day. Falling on a hard icy slope is never fun.
  • Choose a sunny day to learn! Things are always fun when its sunny, even if we’re falling a lot.

The Canadian Snowboard Federation has designed a long-term athlete development plan – also available as a PDF – to help young snowboarders learn the right things at the right stage of development.

The skills they’ll need

Slopestyle snowboarders need a variety of physical skills, starting with fundamental movement skills:

  • Running: Quick feet and legs are very important when sliding down a steep hill.
  • Jumping: What goes up, must come down, so any sport that has an acrobatic aspect helps.
  • Throwing: It’s not of dire importance to snowboarders, but it does help with balance and weight transfer.
  • Catching: Hand, arm, and shoulder dexterity is useful for balance and for the various movements snowboarders make.
  • Gliding: Skating and running on ice help a child feel comfortable when sliding on snow.
  • Kicking: Foot and leg control, precision, and dexterity are fundamental to snowboarding.
  • Sliding: Helps children learn to be comfortable on snow.

As kids get older, they can start working on some basic sport skills with a good mix of ambidextrous and asymmetrical board sports. Canadian Olympic team member Spencer O’Brien talked with us about her multi-sport experience when she was younger:

  • Skateboarding, wake boarding, wake surfing, sliding, kiteboarding, and windsurfing develop good front foot and back foot stability.
  • Skating, luge, cycling, and rollerblading help children learn to move quickly, usually over varied terrain.
  • Skiing, athletics, gymnastics, hockey, and diving help children to develop good agility, balance, coordination, and speed.
  • Gymnastics, trampoline, and athletics teach the fundamentals of landing.

Learning to jump

Once a snowboarder can turn, it’s time to learn how to jump, be comfortable in the air, and land safely. Getting “big air” comes with practice.

Learning to style in the air

Once jumping is mastered, it’s time to learn how to flip and spin. Again, a good coach can make the process a lot better. Doing gymnastics can help, too.

Learn how to compete

Find an event within your province and sign up! The rest will come once the competitive flame is ignited.

Activities your child can do now

Here are some simple and fun activities your younger child can do now.

Image © Canada Snowboard

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