Whether you’ve been on a Snowboarding hiatus of 10+ years or have just taken a short break, you may be wondering how easily you’ll be able to pick it back up. This was my concern after having to take a couple of seasons off, and I did wonder if snowboarding was like riding a bike and how easy it would be to return to my favorite snow sport.
Snowboarding is like riding a bike, through repetition it becomes second nature. If you have not been Snowboarding for some time it will be easy to pick the skill back up again quickly and easily, unlike learning as a complete beginner, this is due to muscle memory.
Let’s dive into the factors that affect the speed and ease of getting back into snowboarding. I’ve also got a few useful tips lined up to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Returning to Snowboarding: Important Factors
Snowboarding is like riding a bike in the sense that if you’ve learned the basic skills and are accustomed to being on the snow, getting back into snowboarding will be a breeze. There are a couple of important factors that will play a role in how easily you’ll be able to pick it back up.
Amount of Time Away From Snowboarding
The amount of time you have been away from snowboarding will impact how easily you are able to regain your previous level of ability.
If you have been away from snowboarding for a long time, for example, 10+ years, then generally speaking it will take you a little bit longer to get back into the groove of things. However, you will be very surprised at how quickly you’ll be able to pick it back up.
If it’s only been a few years since you last went snowboarding, then this really won’t be much of an issue at all. Within a day to half a days riding you’ll be feeling very confident again in your abilities. Whilst recovering from injury, I was away from snowboarding for 2 years and honestly, I had no problem picking it back up.
If it’s only been a year since you last got on a snowboard then you have absolutely nothing to worry about and in fact, this length of time off is very common. Snowboarding is seasonal and a lot of people only get the chance to go snowboarding 1 week per year.
As a general rule of thumb, the more experience you had previously, and the higher your level of skill, the easier you will find it to get back into snowboarding.
If you hadn’t mastered the foundational skills the last time you went snowboarding then unfortunately you’ll be picking back up again from where you left off. Don’t let that put you off thou, getting good and practicing is all part of the fun. If you’re not falling, you’re not learning.
On the flip side, if you previously had vast amounts of experience, the length of time away becomes less of an issue and you really won’t have anything to worry about. The first hour or so, sure you’ll be a bit rusty, and understandably so. But by the end of the day, it’ll feel as thou you never left.
Everyone Is Different
Keeping the previous factors in mind, it’s important to remember that everyone is different. Some people can take 10 years off snowboarding and get back on the slopes like they never left, whilst another person may only have been away half the time and are in need of a lesson or 2 to get them feeling confident again.
Regardless of how long it takes you to acquire your old skills, don’t sweat it, there’s no rush. The important thing is to just get out there and enjoy yourself. And remember, if you’re having a hard time getting back up to speed, a bad day on the slopes beats a good day at work.
Tips For Getting Back Into Snowboarding
For those of you who have taken a break from snowboarding for whatever reason, lets now look at some of the ways to make getting back into things as easy as possible.
Do The Easy Runs First
Start small and work your way up. Do the easier runs first until you start to regain your old form. There’s absolutely no need to head straight for the steep runs. Take your time and gradually work your way up.
Watch Some Snowboarding Videos
Sit back, relax, and just go over some snowboarding tutorials on YouTube. There’s so much good content online right now, just covering some of the basics again will help to refresh your memory and you may even learn something new.
YouTube channels SnowboardProCamp and SnowboardAddiction have some awesome content. If nothing else the videos will leave you feeling inspired and itching to get back out there.
Check Your Snowboarding Gear
If you’ve been away from snowboarding for a while, then before getting back out on the slopes be sure to check your gear. Make sure everything fits properly and is in good working order.
Depending on how long its been since you last went snowboarding, it may be worth investing in some brand new gear. Snowboarding gear and equipment has evolved and evolved fast.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend using old equipment, if its well and truly outdated it’s better to replace it. New equipment is generally safer to use and better all round. If you’re on a tight budget then consider renting equipment to keep costs down.
Consider Taking A Lesson
There’s absolutely no shame in taking a lesson if in any way you feel unsure or are lacking in confidence. Lessons are widely available and you can get lessons relatively cheap.
This will also help you to relearn the proper techniques, refresh your memory, and can even help iron out some old bad habits.
Lessons are widely available and are usually not too expansive.
Now this one might sound a bit woo-woo but bare with me here.
Its no secret visualizations and mental rehearsal are widely used in sports by professional athletes and they are in fact incredibly powerful.
Close your eyes and spend 10 minutes a day for a week just envisioning yourself back out on the slopes.
See yourself well balanced, riding effortlessly, and turning on the snowboard. Try to be as detailed as possible, the more detailed you can be, the better. For example imagine how the snow feels beneath your board, how the fresh mountain air feels and the excitement as you descend down the slope.
Go With Friends
Rather than going solo, if you’re feeling a bit uncertain then go with friends for some moral support. Having someone who can help to refresh your memory and give some words of encouragement can help make things that little bit easier.
On the other hand, don’t feel pressured into going for steeper runs too soon. Take your time and go at your own pace.
If your body isn’t used to the workout that a days worth of snowboarding can give you then there are going to be parts of your body that will ache the next day.
Just as you should always stretch out after going for a run or doing a gym session, so you should do a proper cool down after a day of snowboarding.
This is a great way to help your body recover properly after snowboarding and will help reduce muscle soreness the next day.
Conversely, if you have the facilities where you are staying, consider warming up before hitting the slopes by jumping in the hot tub, sauna or shower. Warm muscles are much less likely to be damaged during exercise.