Your child asked to learn to Snowboard and you're a little hesitant. I get it. Snowboarding and skiing are two very different things to learn. Skiing is generally much easier to get going as most are comfortably making it up the lift after the first hour or so. Snowboarding is not like that and takes time to get comfortable sliding sideways, and learning all the parts to the basic “C” turn. As a parent, it can be scary investing all this money into a sport they may not even like. Don’t worry; once they learn the basics, progression comes pretty quickly. Before we dive into getting your grom into snowboard lessons, take a look from a mom's perspective on raising a skier vs. snowboarder.
In Utah, we have countless snowboard schools that can get your child up and running in a few half day lessons. Here are some tips to help them over that first hump while learning the basics, including some excellent programs here in Utah that will get your little one up and ripping!
1. Get your child into a lesson that is at least a half day. A lesson only lasting a few hours won't do much good when they're just starting out.
2. Make sure to get them into the smallest group possible. Snowboarding at first needs to be very hands-on with the instructor. The larger the ratio of students to a teacher the more time they will spend sitting while other students take a turn. They also will get cold if they are not moving which can end a day. Lessons taught with smaller groups tend to have more fun and the students learn much faster.
3. Dress them for success. At first, when you start riding you're not moving around a lot. You are learning parts of what we call a “c” turn. The biggest killer in a lesson is if your child gets cold and cannot pay attention or has to warm up and misses part of the lesson. So that means face masks, hand warmers, toe warmers, goggles and proper layering.
What does proper layering look like?
Base layer: Thermal shirt and pants that are designed to move moisture away from the skin. Never wear cotton or tuck your pants into your boots! Two of the most common mistakes that can lead to a cold uncomfortable day!
Mid layer: Puffy or fleece jacket that keeps heat trapped close to the body
Outer layer: This may have the mid-layer built in, but protects you from wind, rain and hopefully snow
Socks: Thick socks are recommended. Unlike ski boots, snowboard boots do not require thin socks. The warmest socks are made from Merino wool as they wick moisture away from the skin and are the warmest material when wet!
Brighton Young Shredders Program: 5 weeks on either full day Saturday (includes lunch) or Sunday half-day your child can go from beginner to shredder. This is great because they have the same instructor, its affordable and Brighton has some of Utah’s best beginner terrain to get started on.
Snowbasin Resort: The Raptors Program is a full day lesson which includes lunch plus a rental snowboard and boots. This day-long lesson package is a great way to see if this is something your child will really like.
Brian Head: For ages, 5-6 Brian Head has one of the best programs to keep their attention while teaching fundamentals with the riglet program. These boards are really cool because they use a reel the instructor can tow them around on and get them comfortable sliding sideways using their edges, and even sliding on boxes. Brian Head offers 1st time full or half day lesson packages daily.
There are many great ski and snowboard schools to learn to ski or ride in Utah. It takes only a few short lessons before your child is up and running on a snowboard. Just remember to motivate them to get over the hump of learning the basics! After that, it's a skill that will bring them joy for the rest of their lives.
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