Although it may seem challenging at first, most riders say that snowboarding has a faster learning curve than skiing. When it first became popular in the 1990s, snowboarding was almost the exclusive domain of guys under age 21. However, in the last five years, its not unusual to see people in their 50s learning to snowboard. Some people claim that it is easier on the knees than alpine skiing. Although just about any mountain resort
will have a Learn to Ride program, before you go, you should get a general idea about snowboard techniques.
Goofy or Regular
Before you learn to ride, the gear shop tech will want to determine whether your riding style is goofy or regular. Riders who have their right foot forward are goofy, whereas riders who have their left foot forward are regular. It's interesting to note that a goofy or regular snowboard stance has little to do with whether you are right-handed or left-handed. Although there are a number of ways to determine whether you have a goofy or regular stance, the easiest is to observe which foot you use first when climbing stairs and taking a step forward.
In snowboarding, free-riding is also referred to as all-mountain riding. This technique does not involve any jumps or other types of tricks. Instead, it uses smooth carving movements, which can be performed anywhere on the mountain.
Although the words free-riding and freestyle or often used interchangeably, they are quite different. In general, free-riders spend most of their time in the terrain park. They enjoy performing snowboard tricks, such as spins or aerials.
Alpine snowboarding uses carving movements that bear a slight resemblance to those used in alpine skiing. Carvers like to put their boards on edge, and move at high speeds.
Lisa Marie Mercer is the author of "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness," "101 Fitness Tips for Women," "Breckenridge: A Guide to the Sights and Slopes of Summit County" and a novel, "Reflections in the Snow." She's been a fitness professional since the '70s, and has lived in New York City, Boston and Italy.