Why Is Snowboarding So Hard? (Explained)

Very few people will intuitively know how to snowboard straight away, it takes time and practice. If you’re a beginner or just curious about snowboarding, you may be wondering why snowboarding is so hard.

Snowboarding is so hard because when you are starting out you will spend a lot of time falling over and getting back up again off the ground. Snowboarding requires balance and co-ordination and although hard at first, for most people it can be picked up reasonably quickly.

Some people will find snowboarding easier to learn than others, we’re all different and learn at our own pace. This post will look at exactly what makes snowboarding hard with some handy tips thrown in along the way.

What Makes Snowboarding Hard?

Spoiler alert, snowboarding isn’t really that hard, and for most people, the basics can be picked up in a few days. However, there are a few factors that will make things harder than they need to be.

Not Giving Yourself Time

Whether or not you have a background in wakeboarding, skateboarding, skiing, or surfing the important thing to remember is to take your time and go at your own pace, you can’t rush learning to snowboard.

Despite similarities and overlaps snowboarding is a unique sport and it will take time to learn the ropes.

Having said that, if you’re willing to give the learning process the time and attention it needs, you’ll reap the rewards. Once you overcome some of the initial hurdles, things will rapidly move in a positive direction, and that’s when the fun really starts.

Being Out of Shape

Make no mistake, snowboarding can be tiring and all-round it’s just a physically demanding sport. Watching people snowboard it looks effortless but the reality is its a combination of resistance and endurance training that gives an invigorating workout.

Snowboarding will utilize a whole range of muscles, primarily focused around the legs and core, these will be your main tools for helping you to keep balance, turn, and stop.

In the early stages when you’re continually picking yourself off the snow, you’ll use a lot of upper body strength to push yourself back up.

It’s good to have at least some level of strength and fitness before heading out on the slopes, this will make better use of your time and make the experience a whole lot more enjoyable.

Inexperience With Similar Sports

There are no hard and fast rules here, but as you might expect, people with good experience in board sports seem to pick up snowboarding faster and have an easier time than others. 

There’s something to be said for having strong body awareness and control, and also for understanding the basic movements of riding any kind of board (skateboard, surfboard, wakeboard, etc).

Don’t be put off thou if you’ve no experience with other board type sports it just means you might not pick it up as quickly.

Worrying About Looking Like a Newbie

It’s very common for new snowboarders to feel self-conscious and worry about looking stupid when starting out, and whilst this is understandable you’ve got to let go of those worries and just enjoy the experience.

Everyone has to start somewhere and only a few freaks of nature will pick up snowboarding from the first moment. Worry and doubt can be mentally draining and is a complete waste of energy. Instead, focus on having fun and giving your best shot.

Falling Incorrectly

Make no mistake, your gonna crash and eat snow on many occasion when starting out. Nothing wrong with a good old wipeout and as your skills improve this’ll become less of an occurrence.

Your natural instincts when falling is to stick out a wrist or arm but this can result in injuries.

Not Having The Right Clothing

When you hit the slopes, dressing for warmth and comfort beats fashion every time, although they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Depending on conditions, you’ll need to decide how many layers you’ll need, if you get too warm you can always shed a layer.

You’ll need a base layer to keep you dry, a mid-layer for warmth, and an outer layer to break the wind and keep out moisture. Not forgetting a warm pair of socks and mittens.

Check the weather forecast before you go so you know what conditions you’ll encounter but it’s always best to be prepared for rain or severe weather anyway.

Not Taking Lessons

Taking lessons with a professional instructor either in a group or privately will save you a lot of time and frustration as well as removing all the guesswork.

Private lessons will get you learning faster however they will be charged at a premium. Consider doing group lessons instead which work out to be about half the cost of private lessons, there may even be the odd occasion where the group only consists of a few other people, and sometimes there’ll be no one else there except you and the instructor.

If you’re strapped for cash the next best option is to ask a friend to show you the basics but this isn’t optimal. Just because someone can snowboard doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a good teacher. It’s important for the person teaching you to have a solid understanding of proper form and technique otherwise you could be picking up bad habits.

Riding Solo

If you’re just starting out than one of the worst things you can do is go out by yourself.

It’s important to have someone nearby (this doesn’t include other people on the slopes) to help you out in case you run into any kind of trouble. This could be your friend, instructor, or your partner.

Chances are you’ll be fine but when you’re just starting out its always best to play it safe.

Getting Frustrated

When you’re getting the hang of the basics one of the most important traits to have is perseverance.

To start with you are going to be eating a lot of snow and you’re going to have to take a few hits – don’t let it get you down, its all part of the fun and remember all the Shaun Whites of this world had to start somewhere.

Having the Wrong Gear

This one element alone can make snowboarding a lot harder than it needs to be.

If you’re a beginner than having a snowboard, bindings, and boots that are designed for novices will make life a lot easier. Its often overlooked but taking time to select the right equipment when starting out can be the difference between a hard and an easy day on the slopes.

Simply put, beginner gear is built in such a way that makes snowboarding easier.

One example of this is if you were to start out with a stiff, directional, fast snowboard – these are going to be hard to control. It will be like learning to drive in a Lamborghini.

If your 100% committed to snowboarding than I’d advise against hiring gear as a lot of the time it isn’t best suited for beginners, why make life hard for yourself when there is specific beginner gear that will get you off to a much smoother start.

Not Sitting Down When Strapping In

Lastly, A common mistake I see a lot of beginners make is attempting to fasten their feet to the board whilst standing up.

It is far easier to sit down whilst doing this and then get yourself back on your feet, grab the middle of your board with one hand and use it to pull yourself up whilst pushing up off the floor with your other hand.