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We went to La Clusaz especially for you to meet Viktoria Codron, alias "Vik", snowboarding instructor at the French Ski School and winner of the "instructors' challenge" (big skiing and snowboarding competition for all certified instructors that takes place every two years, like a French championship) in snowboardcross in 2006. She gave us her best advice and pro tips to start snowboarding easy and smooth.
1. Wed’ze : Do You Think There is an Ideal Age to Start Snowboarding?
8 years is the minimum age recommended, because the joints are well formed by then. After that, there is no limit of age! I even had a starting trainee of 60 years not so long ago...
2. Wed’ze : Do You Need Skiing Basis to Start Snowboarding?
Not necessarily. Even if knowing how to ski can help the snowboarding beginner (especially regarding edge grip), you can totally begin snwoaboarding even if you have never practiced any snow sports before.
3. Wed’ze : Regarding the Equipment, What are Your Recommendations?
For starters, don't bother with the clothes. Best to focus on protections: you think helmet, but you often forget wrist protections (whilst this is the most common injury among snowbaord beginners!). Ideally, get a back protection too, to shield yourself from the skiers that arrive from above on the slopes; because yes, you will find yourself sitting a lot when learning the basics!
As for the board, go for something smooth and not too long (it should not get higher than your chin). For a good setting, your stance (the distance between your feet) must at least be equal to the length of your forearm (from the tip of your fingers to your elbow).
If you adjust you bindings yourself, the angle should be between -2 to -4° at the back, and +10 to 15° at the front. One last thing that people often forget about: remember to tighten your boots and your bindings properly...
4. Wed’ze : What Kind of Exercise Do You Recommend to Begin Snowboarding?
To begin, I advise you go on a "descending false flat", a very very smooth slope, with a natural stop. Get only the front foot in your binding to go down on this smooth slope, so you can start acquiring your balance.
Once you've done that first step, you can go to a beginners' slope (green sign), to train for skidding and do the "dead leaf" (going from left to right like a dead leaf falling from its tree). From then on, you should try to get familiar with the ski lift, as it will help you work on your balance and how to keep your board flat on the slope.
Then (in a day or two at the most, depending on your ability to face the slope) you will be able to start turns pushing on your heels (backside turn) and on your toes (frontside turn).
5. Wed’ze : Thanks Vik for These Precious Tips!
With Vik, as you gathered, snowboarding is all about fun and everyone can enjoy it, provided they have the motivation.
Now that you know all about how to begin snowboarding, are you ready to take the plunge? Solo, with family or friends, just do it!