What Every Beginning Snowboarder Needs to Know. Q&A with Burton.

February 24, 2021
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In addition to figuring out if your body is physically ready to hit the slopes, how do you know if you have the right equipment for optimal performance as a beginner snowboarder? I visited the Burton store here in the Rino District of downtown Denver to answer some of the most commonly asked questions that beginner snowboarders need answered. I was able to chat with the Burton store’s Assistant Manager and avid snowboarder, Tom Ritter. 

What is the best gear for beginners?

Tom walked me through several of their best selling snowboards. As a beginner, the Instigator is a great option to start with. It works well for all mountain terrain, and is both soft and flexible for stability and control. Some of Tom’s other recommendations include the Hideaway, the Yeasayer, and the Daytrader for style and terrain variability options. 

A great option the store offers is taking one of their demo sets up for a day on the mountain before you decide to purchase a particular board. I love this idea since the setup is a big investment and you can make sure you find the right one for you. 

Burton has a revolutionary new binding system called ‘Step On.’ It’s an easy to use system that allows you to step in without sitting down, messing with straps, or worrying about falling off the lift. If you learned using the ‘step-in’ bindings of the early 2000’s like I did, you will be very impressed with this new technology. With three secure locking points, these bindings improve the control, connection, and responsiveness of your board. It is great for all skill levels as it helps beginners start with confidence and allows the more seasoned riders to continue riding for longer. 

How do I fall correctly? 

Falling off the lift, falling down the mountain, or just being unable to get up is a likely situation in your first days snowboarding. As a former snowboarding instructor myself, I get asked this question a lot. While the answer is hard for the unavoidable wipe-outs, here is the best advice for a fall you know is about to happen. If you are falling forward, try to land on your forearms and not your outstretched arms. Falling on an outstretched hand, or FOOSH as we PTs like to call it, can result in wrist and arm sprains, strains or broken bones. If you are falling backwards, try to land on your butt. You may end up with a sore spot, but it is better than hitting your head. You can get gloves that have wrist guards inserted into them to protect your wrists. It is also crucial to make sure you are wearing a helmet while you are skiing or snowboarding. 

How do I know if I am ‘goofy’ or ‘regular’?

‘Goofy’ or ‘regular’ refers to which is your leading foot on a snowboard. Goofy is riding with your right foot forward, while regular is riding with your left foot forward. I asked Tom how they help people determine their stance. He said they will either give someone a gentle push backward from standing and see which foot they catch themselves with, or they will ask, “If you were to kick a soccer ball, which foot would you plant with?” 

As with most new skills or sports, it is advised to take lessons from a qualified instructor so you can learn how to stand up, how to slow down, and how to stop. The beginning days are hard when learning to snowboard, but if you stick with it and take care of your body accordingly, you will enjoy every day on the mountain.

To learn more, check out my previous blog titled How Should I Recover After a Day on the Mountain? Guidance From Two Massage Therapists.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Alyssa Wagner

Physical Therapist / Doctor of Physical Therapy
Alyssa Wagner is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in sports and general orthopedics with a specific passion for ACL prevention and non-operative management of ACL injuries. She works at Activcore in Denver, Colorado, located just a mile from the popular Cherry Creek Shopping District. Alyssa’s background and education make her uniquely qualified to handle more complex sports injuries, chronic pain, and post-operative care.
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