teaching little kids to snowboard: tip number one -prep

I’m not an amazing snowboarder by any stretch of the imagination. My big claims to fame are that I made it down cornice one time without eating shit, love black powder bowls, and carve through trees although an old man with a walker could probably lap me.

No horizontal snow, no (real) crashing, no chair lifts. Nice and easy.

With both of my kids, my youngest being 3, I try to keep them acclimated to their gear. There are a lot of spooky things going on when you get on a ski slope:

  • Who-the-hell-knows-what kind of winter conditions. Horizontal snow knocking down visibility is a real problem.
  • Gloves that make everything hard.
  • A slippery surface.
  • Parents who know they’ve spent good money to be there that day, understandably a little short on nerves and wanting things to go well.
  • Scary chair lifts.
  • “Cool guys” ripping through the lift lines because they’re too-in-the-zone to slow down.

Anything you can do to familiarize your kids in advance will help. We’re using a Burton Ringlet and just pulling around in the grass. Is it the same as being on snow? Hell no. But do the balance skills, gear feeling, and stance feeling transfer over? You betcha.

Trying the stuff on in the living room is a good start. The worst of all is just grabbing gear from the rental shop and going for it. The more you can do to acclimate your kids to their sport the more you’ll be able to focus on the whole “riding” thing when you’re actually on the slippery white stuff with chairlifts buzzing about.