Snowboarding skills

If you read snowboarding books, magazine, and web sites, you might come across the word “progressive” or “progressive.” But what does it mean?

These days, the word “progressive” can mean a number of things, as suggested by the definition of the in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

It could mean an income tax system in which your tax bill goes from 15 percent to 35 percent. It could mean a theory of education that emphasizes self-expression by the student rather than the dispensing of information by the teacher.

But of course here we’re talking about snowboarding, and not those other things.

So let’s go back to another definition of progressive, which is simply advancing. Moving forward. There are many ways to “be progressive” on a snowboard.

Examples of snowboarding progression

Simply put, every time you do something new on a board, you’re being progressive. Let’s say that you have finished your beginning lessons, and you can link turns on the bunny slope. Your “progression” as a snowboarding may take the following path.

Use your same skills on a different type of snow.
If you’re lucky, your first lessons will occur on groomed slopes with snow that is neither too hard nor too soft for the purpose. But you won’t always have these conditions. You may find that the snow is as hard as ice. If you are going to snowboard in ice, you may have to make some adjustments.

Go snowboarding in flat light.
The more clearly you can see the terrain, and how it undulates and changes as you move across and down the slope, the easier it will be for you to ride. Conversely, if you ride in overcast skies–which brings what we call “flat light,” you’ll have to adjust.

Ride at night.
Some ski areas light portions of their slopes for nighttime activity. The lighting conditions offer a different environment than anything available during the day, whether bluebird or overcast skies.

Go snowboarding on a steeper slope.
This raises the stakes and opens new terrain.

Ride your snowboard on powder.
The earliest snowboards, built without sharp edges, were designed to work primarily in powder, and even today, snowboards beat skis when it comes to riding in untracked snow. But it takes some getting used to.

Ride the bumps.
Can you ride bumps on a snowboard? It’s certainly possible. Amaze your friends on skis!

Ride switch.
Once you’ve gotten familiar with going down the mountain in one direction, try going down it in another. That is, instead of letting the nose or tip be the first part of the board to go downhill, follow the tail. This is called riding switch, and for a while, it will be like starting out all over again. So getting practice riding switch is a way to use easy terrain.

Ride in the trees.
If you like riding in powder, the best place to find it is in the trees, where snow can linger for days after a snowfall. Riding among the trees can also be a beautiful experience. But it also requires the ability to make tight turns and having a sharp eye.

Jumps can be anything from “credit card air”–a few inches off the ground–to jumps that send riders 30 or 60 feet above the ground. Whether you’re flying in the air or more down-to-earth, a few jumps can add a dimension to your riding.

Make a trip through the halfpipe .
Few people can do back-to-back 1080s (multiple spins) in the halfpipe, or should even try. But if you’re looking for something new when everything seems old, you can make a few turns in the halfpipe. You don’t even have to “catch air” to enjoy making turns in the pipe.


Just because you’re an adult snowboarder doesn’t mean that once you learn the basics, you have to keep doing the same thing over and over again. There are many ways in which you can alter your riding. You can do it by changing the terrain, the weather conditions, and how you ride. That’s one of the great things about snowboarding: there’s always room to stretch yourself and try new things. But only if you want to.

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