To the uninitiated, snowboarding could look like a pointless activity. You go out in sub-zero temperatures and get dragged up a mountain just to slide back down again. So what’s the point of snowboarding? If you’ve never tried snowboarding, there’s far more to it than you may think.
Snowboarding is one of the most fun things you can do. The first few days are frustrating and painful, but it’s worth sticking with, so you can do something awesome in some of the most beautiful places in the world. There’s a whole lifestyle attached to it, full of characters to create stories with.
There are many reasons why people love snowboarding, and some of them can be challenging to describe. But, in this post, I’ll attempt to find enough adjectives to do it justice to tempt you onto a snowboard or strike a chord with those already in the know.
You’ll not be riding near-vertical Alaskan faces in your first week. In fact, there’s a good chance you won’t ride anything more challenging than a blue run, but this is just the start.
Even in the early days of learning to link turns, you’ll get some kind of adrenaline rush. This, combined with a great sense of satisfaction and a little bit of fear, is how you get the snowboarding bug.
But the feeling never gets boring when you progress to riding faster, carving, hitting jumps, and riding powder.
I’ve been snowboarding for 27 years, and I still love the feeling of charging hard, riding steep and deep terrain, and jumping off everything around the resort.
Whether in the Rockies, French Alps, or the Pyrenees, you cannot get away from the incredible views.
Some purpose-built ski resorts can be a bit of an eye-sore, but the surrounding landscapes are always impressive. You can see frozen lakes, waterfalls, towering peaks, and wildlife.
One of my favorite things is riding untouched powder through forests and in the backcountry. Of course, snowboarding is fun, but doing it in such awe-inspiring landscapes makes it even more incredible.
No matter your skill level, there’s always something new to learn or perfect. As a beginner, your challenge is to stop falling over and getting down the slopes under control.
But the learning never stops, as there’s an infinite number of tricks to learn and many other techniques to dial in. Even the most experienced snowboarders take lessons from time to time.
They often want to learn about freestyle tricks, perfect their carving, or avalanche awareness. I still take an avalanche rescue refresher course at the beginning of every winter.
Mountain ranges are vast, and there’s always new terrain to discover. Whether it be a new route through the trees, a new slope, or a hidden backcountry gem accessible on foot.
I have lived in one of the largest skiable areas in the world for 8 years and have yet to scratch the surface of what’s available.
There’s an off-piste route my friends and I do pretty much every time we get a good dump of snow. Each winter, we manage to add on extra sections as we discover them, all accessible from the lifts.
It’s also good to visit different ski resorts; each has its own atmosphere and unique terrain.
It’s often worth driving for a couple of hours for a new experience, even though I can walk to my nearest ski lift in under 10 minutes.
I prefer riding in a group of snowboarders or skiers, as it’s more fun.
However, riding on your own means you can cover more ground quickly or spend time focussing on a specific trick or technique you want to perfect.
You can’t always practice things when riding in a group, so it’s nice to have some “me time” occasionally. However, I never stray from the groomed slopes on my own.
Nobody should ever head into the backcountry alone; the consequences if something goes wrong are far too severe.
Any kind of movement is good for burning calories. When you’re snowboarding, your body is always doing something which is excellent for your health and fitness.
You work harder as a beginner snowboarder as you’re still developing the correct techniques and necessary muscles. You also have to pick yourself up off the snow a lot, which requires effort.
Snowboarding gets much easier as your skills and muscles develop. You can ride for much longer before you feel tired, so if you want to use snowboarding for fitness, you need to push yourself more.
A great way to use snowboarding for fitness is to skip the lifts and hike or splitboard to the top of the mountain. Doing this also gives you access to new terrain away from the crowds.
Many people think hiking up a mountain for several hours for a 2-minute run is madness. But we had to adopt a different style of snowboarding when all the resorts were closed during the covid lockdown.
It was a fantastic experience that helped us with our fitness and backcountry riding skills. Snowboarding is also good for mental health.
Those views, physical activity, fresh air, and a dose of adrenaline create one of the best stress busters ever.
When you see a video of a snowboarder doing something extraordinary, you may think it looks scary, and you’d be correct, as they are doing death-defying things in deadly terrain.
You don’t have to ride like that; you can stick to the blue runs, but the risk element makes snowboarding fun. People thrive on excitement, which often comes from fear of being outside their comfort zone.
But this is when extraordinary things can happen. Overcoming these fears is incredibly rewarding, and it’s also addictive, making us want to persevere by pushing beyond our limits and building character.
Sometimes, snowboarding can put you into a flow state. This may sound a bit hairy-fairy to some, but it can be an almost spiritual experience.
You won’t get this riding around a green run during the school holidays. But it’s possible if you find a long, wide-open slope or powder run.
These “being in the zone” moments are priceless, as you’re in total bliss, immersed in what you’re doing with nothing to distract you.
You’re entirely connected with snowboarding with an empty mind and a smile on your face.
The people you meet in the mountains are a big part of snowboarding. At the very least, you have a mutual interest, but this is often just a conversation starter helping you to make lifelong friends.
Ski resorts are small places; everyone knows everyone, creating a fun community and a sense of camaraderie.
You’ll always bump into someone you know in the bars, on the mountain, and even miles deep into the backcountry.
Hopefully, you’ll now realize why people love snowboarding. But these are only words. The best thing to do is try it yourself so you can experience these benefits and life-changing experiences for yourself.