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Snowboarding With No Experience? Tips From an Instructor

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Yes you can learn to snowboard without experience. Have a great day and thanks for reading.

Perhaps we should explore this in a little more detail. Every snowboarder, professional, weekend warrior or park rat has started, at some point with no experience. You can not gain experience without jumping in and giving it a go.

You can teach yourself snowboarding with the help of friends or self coaching. However, it is strongly recommended to take a few lessons from professionals to learn the fundamentals. This will allow you to progress faster and prevent you from learning the wrong techniques.

The only difference between a beginner and a professional is, the professional has failed more times than the beginner has tried. We have all started with no experience and can all relate to the person sitting on the nursery slope trying to figure out the basics, don’t be self conscious.

Get involved, you will be amazed at how many people are happy to help a beginner. People enjoy passing on their knowledge of the sport they are passionate about, and are also eager to get the beginner as hooked as they are on snowboarding.

Although the thought of learning might be a little daunting, everyone was at one point a beginner with no experience. The only way to learn is to start. Enjoy the process of learning, you will only be a beginner for a short period of time.

snowboarder being dragged through snow by drag lift

Teaching Yourself to Snowboard

30 years ago we hardly knew how to snowboard, nowadays a quick google will ping up many, many video tutorials clearly explaining how to snowboard with demonstrations so you can see how to do so. Even with zero experience and knowledge you can get a very good idea of how you should snowboard and what the best way to learn it is.

We now live in a world where information is abundant, now more than ever is the best time to start with no experience. Many people will wish they started younger, however NOW is always the best time to start.

Here are a couple of ways to approach snowboarding with no experience and what NOT to do.

Learn Snowboarding by Friends coaching

If you have no experience going with a friend who can show you the ropes is likely the most appealing. It is definitely advisable to go with someone with more knowledge than you, however please be aware most competent snowboarders have very little knowledge of how to snowboard (most will just do, without realizing how they are doing it) and will have even less knowledge on how to teach someone the necessary skills.

If you’re a skateboarder with years of shredding experience, for sure tag along with a buddy and you’ll be able to figure it out with a few pointers. If you have no board sport experience this method is probably not going to work so well for you.

I would advise mixing some self coaching with friends coaching, have a look online. Get an idea of what it is you need to master and how you will do it before heading out with your buddy. If a friend is teaching you, it can be very common for them to teach you their bad habit. While it’s certainly possible to teach someone to snowboard without being an instructor chances are you go doing your first few hundred hours with this wrong technique.

So be cautious of who you’re taking your snowboard tips from and maybe double check online before basing the foundation of your snowboarding on their sketchy advice.

Learn Snowboarding by Self coaching

If you have never been on a snowboard before, now more than ever is the easiest time to teach yourself. Instructors and federations have been refining how to teach snowboarding for many years now, with many of these people taking to YouTube or their companies websites to film tutorials.

You can easily learn all of the steps and techniques from tutorials. This is going to be a little harder than taking a lesson as you need to research the steps to take, and you are not able to get feedback on what you are doing. However it is possible to get all of the information required to take you from zero experience to intermediate snowboarder.

There are also now several companies that can coach you online, where you can send in videos of yourself and they can give you feedback on what you are doing.

Self Coaching can be a great way to learn, however it requires a certain person, it will require a lot of research. You will need to watch a lot of tutorials and create your own plan of how you will learn. I would advise bookmarking key points so when you’re out trying, you can re-watch the video and double check how you are getting on versus how it should be done.

It will also be easier if you learn with someone, someone else trying the same techniques is always going to help push you. It is beneficial to have someone else you can discuss with, someone you can fail with, and relish in your achievements together.

If you have a buddy with you, filming what you are doing can be a huge assist. It is highly beneficial to be able to see your snowboarding, and to be able to compare it to the demonstrations you have online.

Do Not Just Strap in and Send it

The last, and most definitely the worst way to learn how to snowboard is to just strap in and send it. This is regularly seen on the slopes. The problem with learning to snowboard is, standing up going straight down the hill is actually very easy.

Controlling that, slowing down or changing direction is what is difficult. So you will often see people picking up a lot of speed hurtling down the slope. They bend down and get lower and lower to the ground as they start to panic and realize they can not control this.

The only way to slow down in this situation is to sit down, to try to stop sliding. Or you keep balancing going straight down the hill till something goes very wrong, like catching an edge, or flying off the slope into the safety net.

I would highly advise not to do this, even if you are a pro skater who spends his summer wakeboarding, check out how you should do the basics and start on appropriate terrain. Check out what you need to know when snowboarding for the first time to prevent you from hurting yourself.

The Best Way To Learn Snowboarding is to Take a Few Lessons

If you have no prior experience of snowboarding the best way to learn, will always be to take a lesson. Going from beginner to intermediate, or beyond, will take a lot of knowledge and a lot of practice.

If you take a lesson your instructor is going to have an in depth knowledge of not only what you need to learn but they will know the steps to take, to get there, they will know how to teach it, how to give you exercises and drills to improve certain aspect of your snowboarding. They will have the answers to any questions you will have regarding your snowboarding.

snowboarders attending a lesson with instructors

While many will be cautious to pay so much money for lessons I would highly advise you to take the plunge for your first time to ensure you learn the fundamentals properly. If you are sporty with lots of experience in other board sports you are likely to pick it up quickly, however taking the lesson and learning how to do the fundamentals properly will hugely pay off further down the line.

If you are not so sporty, lessons are definitely the best place to start. Being part of a group of beginners all in the same situation can also help with your progression. You will not only learn from your instructor but from the people you’re learning with, watching someone else learning excel can give you the push to take a couple of extra runs to dial in the skill you are working on.

Can you learn to snowboard without lessons?

I would advise you to take a lesson to ensure your learning the basics correct, it is of course very possible to learn to snowboard without lessons. It is likely it will take a lot longer, and likely you will learn some things a little wrong, resulting in bad habits as you become more experienced. Bad habits and wrong muscle memory can be very difficult to fix, if that is the way you have been snowboarding for many years.


We have established there are several ways to start snowboarding with no experience, what is the best way for you? There is no right or wrong answer to this (apart from just sending it, this is definitely the wrong way), everyone is different, only you will know the best way for you to approach the start of your snowboard journey.

I would advise using a combination of the advice above. Most people will be eager to learn from a friend, if you are doing this be sure to have a look online first. It will massively help if you have an idea of what you are going to be learning before going up the mountain. It is also a good idea to check what your friend is teaching you versus what a professional instructor says online.

Similarly if you are eager to go down the route of taking lessons you will not gain all of your experience within a lesson. Learn the basics, get a grasp of it then go explore the mountain with your friends. This way your friend is not the one explaining all of the methods, you can take comfort knowing you have been taught the correct techniques and you can work on them while enjoying the mountain with your friends.

If you take one thing from this article however, please do not be that person that takes the chair lift up with no experience. Straps their board on at the top of the slope with zero idea what they are doing and sets off in a straight line, picking up speed, balancing on a flat base until something goes very, very wrong.

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