The first key to snowboarding: Try it

What’s the most important part of learning how to ride a snowboard? Actually trying it for a while.

That’s an obvious statement, of course, but it’s what comes to mind as I read an article by an acquaintance of mine who has done a lot of writing about skiing. He says that he tried snowboarding, though only “two seconds,” and was filled with fear the whole time.

I suspect that he minimized his experience for effect. But how much time should you spend with a board before you say that you’ve tried it?

I’ve taught the basics of snowboarding to perhaps 50 people, usually in one-time lessons that were about 90 minutes long. Some people ended up linking turns on an easy slope while others left the time unable to do that. Almost all of them had some success, such as being able to turn in one direction though not another.

A lot of factors are in play  in determining whether or how long it takes to learn how to ride: native physical ability, the quality of the instructor, and the mental state of the learner are three. If you think you’re not going to learn, you won’t. In my own case of learning, maniacal determination to succeed was required.

You may need 90 minutes to make your first linked turns. You may need an entire season. Either way, you’ll need a determination to stick it out long enough to give it an honest effort. Whatever “long enough” means is up to you, though I’m inclined to think that an hour is the bare minimum (not to learn, but to say you’ve tried.) I hope you’ll have the commitment, and then succeed.

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