Snowboarding is a popular winter sport and recreational activity that involves descending a snow-covered surface (slope) while standing on a single board, known as a snowboard.
The snowboard is attached to the riders feet and unlike traditional skiing, where each foot is on a separate ski, snowboarding relies on the rider’s ability to balance and steer with both feet on a single board. Snowboarders control their movements by shifting their weight and using their body and board to carve turns, initiate jumps and maintain balance.
A snowboard is typically made of wood, fiberglass and other materials, designed for flexibility and durability. Riders secrure their feet to the snowboard using bindings. Snowboard boots are specially designed to provide ankle support and a secure fit within the binding.
Snowboarding has developed various styles, each with its own specialised equipment and technique. The most common styles today are: freeriding, freestyle, alpine or carving, and backcountry. These styles are used for both recreational and professional snowboarding.
Snowboarding emerged in the 1960’s and 1970’s as individuals experimented with board designs for riding on snow. Jake Burton Carpenter’s snowboards played a pivotal role in refining the sport’s equipment and popularizing it. In the 1980’s, snowboarding grew rapidly despite initial resistance from ski resorts.
By the 1990’s, it gained mainstream acceptance and was included in the Winter Olympics in Nagano in 1998 and featured in the Winter Paralympics at Sochi in 2014. Snowboarding has since diversified into various riding styles, developed its own culture and continues to evolve with technological advancements.
Today, it’s a widely enjoyed winter sport with a rich history of innovation and growth.
Snowboarding significantly improves overall flexibility, as it requires you to change directions and pace frequently and suddenly. Snowboarding also requires good balance, so your balance will improve as you grow more proficient at the sport. Snowboarding is an aerobic exercise that offers an intense cardio workout and can burn up to 450 calories per hour, so it’s a great way to increase your endurance. Snowboarding works all the major muscle groups in your body as well as the smaller ones in your feet and ankles. Snowboarding also works the muscles of the arms and shoulders, which are used for balance and to pick yourself up when you fall.
Snowboarding, like any form of exercise, releases endorphins, the neurochemicals responsible for feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Snowboarding also works every muscle in your body, especially your core.
Finally, just being outdoors helps to reduce anxiety and can benefit your mental health. It also helps reduce stress levels because of the social interaction with family and friends.
For a complete beginner, it would be best to take a lesson before hitting the slopes. In addition to providing coaching to help you master the fundamentals, taking a lesson is also a great way to learn your way around the mountain and figure out what sort of runs you are capable of.
Your local ski shop can advise you on a snowboard, boots and other ski clothing you will need – snowboards and boots can be rented so this may be your best option to start with.