Tips for getting your child into snowboarding, from WinSport & BurtonFeb 8, 2021
Winter isn’t over Alberta. Far from it. There’s still plenty of time to learn a new sport or get your kids active outside. More than ever, the importance of fresh air and time outside is likely obvious to any parent who has been sheltered indoors in recent months with a child of any age. Sunshine, fresh air and physical activity are reason enough to love snowboarding and pursue it as a lifelong sport. In fact, it’s one of the things that feels the most normal right now – carving turns on a snowy slope with your family. Sure, we’ve all had to modify our use of indoor areas and lodges for eating and warming up, but the snow remains the same.
Sometimes parents feel the need to start their children in skiing or have them perfect their turns on two feet before trying a board sport. Nothing beats sharing your passions with your loved ones and for any adults who have tried snowboarding, it is possible to get your kids comfortable on a board in order to gear up for those memorable days in the mountains with your family. Here are some of WinSport’s favourite tips from a highly reputable source in the world of snowboarding, our sponsor Burton:
Take your snowboarding indoors to begin
For most beginners, balancing on a board while your feet face the same direction is the first part of what makes snowboarding unique. Burton has developed Riglet Snowboarding, which is a fun and engaging environment for kids 12 and under to find success in snowboarding. Using foam boards, pool noodles, tow ropes and any low-friction surface, you can create an indoor Riglet play space where kids learn balance and stance. It’s something parents can enjoy with their kids. Riglet products can be used for children as young as two and given all the time we’re spending indoors right now, you can get creative and build a successful indoor Riglet park to shred. Start by pulling stuffed animals or siblings around. What they practice indoors or in the backyard will translate to the hill on your next trip and help them acclimate to the idea of snowboarding.
The conditions and the gear
Having proper fitting equipment is a necessity of any skier or snowboarder and the same goes with young riders. If your child has moved beyond the foam board and is now in a real board, boot and binding set up, you can still use a Burton reel or Burton handlebar set up to practice balance and practice riding sideways. Helmets should always be a mandatory piece of equipment for kids as well.
“Burton believes in making snowboarding accessible to everyone,” says Jonathan Sparkes, Marketing Manager at Burton Canada. “Riglet tools can help establish the early framework of snowboarding basics and help reduce some of the barriers to learning to snowboard, such as fear and a lack of confidence. Like learning anything new, it’s about progression and taking one step at a time.”
When first learning, the right conditions can help to build confidence and fun around the sport. Try avoiding super cold and icy days and get out on fresh powder or slushy days. Kids learn faster, have more fun and a fall doesn’t end the day. Things like hand and toe warmers are a great trick to add to mitts and boots on cold days and keeping treats and snacks in your pocket for the chairlift or magic carpet will keep energy levels high
between runs. Bringing extra face coverings is a good idea right now so you can change them out when they get wet or freeze. Going as often as you can also provides opportunities for practice and progression of their skills.
We all have fond memories of the bunny hill. Introducing your child to terrain that appropriately matches their skill level is key to building a solid skill foundation and building confidence in using their equipment. “Starting out at a resort or hill with many options as far as beginner terrain will allow for paced progression that gives the child the opportunity to find success before moving on to more challenging features or terrain,” says Andrew Lunt, Senior Manager Sport Development at WinSport. “At WinSport for example, we have four magic carpets with progressively steeper terrain to master before a child even gets on the chairlift.” Celebrate all the wins and cheer on all progression to make your child feel proud of their accomplishments.
No wrong way
Fostering a love of sport means learning to get back up after you fall – because that’s an inevitable part of learning something new. Remove the anxiety around falls by letting them fall from a standing position. In powdery conditions, this is especially fun. A trip to the hill should be fun, no matter what, so adjust your expectations and take breaks as often as they need to. Ride the chairlift over the park to give your kid a sense of what people can do on a board. Let your child pick the trail and carry their own equipment to have them feel independent and most importantly, let them progress at their own pace.
By Kristen Wynne
Marketing Specialist, WinSport