Teaching Kids to Snowboard-Start Young

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Welcome to ThinkVail – we hope you find this article about teaching kids to snowboard helpful.

Teaching kids how to snowboard can be fun and rewarding but it will also be frustrating, and call for painstaking patience. Many kids, will take to snowboarding like a duck to water but most will need a little more guidance to get comfortable on a snowboard. Check out these tips and kid’s snowboard suggestions to make your lessons a success!


See also: 10 Gifts to Keep Kids Active in Winter


Teaching Kids to Snowboard


The best way to teach your kiddos how to snowboard is to put them in a lesson but if your child is not old enough, or ski resort lesson prices are just too expensive and you can’t wait to introduce them to knuckle-dragging, then here are some tips to help your kids get started.

First off, make sure your child is warm and comfortable so they can have fun while they are learning. So dress them warmly and remember they can always take items off if they get too warm but they will be miserable if it gets colder or starts snowing and they don’t have the right gear.

What You Need:

  • Waterproof Jacket
  • Snow Pants
  • Neck Gator
  • Waterproof Mittens
  • Wool-Blend Socks
  • Warm, Well-Fitting Boots
  • Helmet and Goggles
  • Kids Snowboard: A soft, all-mountain board that reaches chest height, tail to tip. See below for kid’s snowboard board suggestions.
  • Lots of Kleenexes and Snacks

Other Useful Accessories:

  • Wrist Guards and Butt Pad
  • Snowboard Harness/ Ringlet Reel

You may not need all these items if it is a beautiful, warm sunny day in your backyard but if you are up on a mountain or at a ski resort, bring it all, as conditions change quickly.

Safety is so important when you are starting your kids off on a snowboard. Educated them about what to do in certain emergency situation, like to fall down on their butt if they start going too fast. Make sure you kiddo wears a helmet. The nature of the sport is that riders fall, protect their melon, and get them in the habit of wearing a helmet when snowboarding

Getting Started-Keep it FUN!

Keep in mind that snowboarding is NOT the easiest thing for most kids to pick up, most kids have trouble standing sideways going downhill before the age of 5. And most three and four-year-olds carry their center of gravity in their heads rather than in their core, making boarding a very wobbly endeavor indeed. However, kids with a background in skateboarding, scooter/bike riding or gymnastics usually pick it up a little quicker.

But remember, this will be hard work for them. So keep the first few lessons short and keep it FUN!

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The First Step

The first step is getting them familiar with the board and use to the feeling of gliding on snow. You can do this on any gentle slope or even on a flat spot. Have your child stand on the board while you pull them around so they get the feeling of being balanced (and unbalanced) on the board.

Use a snowboard harness or Ringlet Reel. The Ringlet Reel allows parents to tow kids as young as two and three around on a snowboard. It attaches to the nose of your child’s compatible snowboard. This could be an hours-long activity of fun depending on how good of shape you are in. But they will laugh, have fun and begin to love snowboarding.

Once they are feeling balanced and comfortable ask them to jump up with their board while on flat ground. This will help them get a feel of the different ways the board can move. They will fall down… A LOT but they will begin to understand how the board reacts.

Now you can move up to a small hill or the magic carpet area of your local ski resort. Let them go down the hill by themselves or use the ski Harness to help them keep their balance and not lose them if they go to fast. Keep making laps for as long as your kids are having fun.

Do not instruct them, or tell them what to do yet. Just have fun, let them enjoy the feeling of snowboarding. They will learn a ton just by doing, only give instructions if they ask about something in particular. Let them learn by having fun for the first few visits to the hill, there will be plenty of time to tell them what to do later.

Backside Board Slide

Once they have the basics down you can introduce some instruction. First thing beginners need to learn, is how to do a Backside Board Slide.

A great way to teach the backside board slide is with a snowboard harness. The snowboard harness can keep them close enough, so new beginners don’t fall down (because you are holding them up) and as they get better, the harness can be extended as they get their balance and understand the mechanics of turning and then they may only need an occasional light tug to slide back and forth down the hill. These harnesses can be used to help teach young snowboarders how to carve turns as well, once they have the board slide down.

Keep in mind the snowboard harness is just an instructional tool so you don’t want to use the harness all day, just for a few runs, because your new beginner needs to be able to do it on their own as well. Also, this is not recommended to use if you are not a strong snowboarder.

You can also teach the Backside Board Slide by holding your kiddo’s hands as they go down the mountain. This way works but it is exhausting for the parent. Hold your toddlers hands while they are on their backside edge. Tell them they are going to slide down the slope. Now have them to lift their toes. Help your child move back and forth across the slope on their backside edge.

Keep in mind, they will fall, catch them if the fall forward but let them fall on their butt if they fall backwards to get use to the feeling.

TIP:

Snowboard harnesses are a great way to pick kids up and help them get on the chairlift, so the harness alone can be a great addition to any day, and reduce stress.

Learning to Get Up

This can be a hard one for kids, as it takes a lot of core strength, which means, it is a lot of work. Usually smaller kids just will not have the core strength for this but as your kiddos get older they should be able to master it. Here’s how to do it:

Lift legs up and roll onto tummy with their legs pointing downhill. Next, tell them to put their hands down in front of them on the snow. Now have them walk their hands all the way to their feet/snowboard. Now they have to push up to a kneeling position and then stand up.

Take a Lesson

Ski School lessons are the fastest way for your kids to learn snowboard skills and safety. There are a lot of “tricks” with snowboarding, from strapping on bindings to being aware of other on the mountain. In addition, kids usually listen better to an instructor than a parent. Most resorts offer beginner package deals that include multiple lift tickets, lessons and gear rentals.

This is all offered to give your child the best shot at success. Lessons are set up to allow kids to learn with other kids of similar abilities. It is also scheduled so parents can return in the afternoon to ski with their children, letting kids show off what they’ve learned that morning.

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Great Video with Tips for Beginner Snowboarders.  Make each tip into a game you play with your kids!


Beginner Kids Snowboards:


Echos Kids Snowboard

A great beginner board for kids that are 50 lbs and around 7 years old. This board will grow with your child as they become an intermediate as this board is also perfect for riders who like cuts, jumps and racing down the snow.

  • Twin tip freestyle snowboard means kids can ride it forwards or backwards (switch riding)
  • Sharp cut edges makes for easy steering and control but sharp edges may not be appropriate for very small kids or never-ever snowboarders.
  • Large slip-in, adjustable bindings, means no special boots are required so you can use your kids’ normal snow boots.
  • Super-cool graphics!
  • Great for ages 5 years and older and weighing up to 100 lbs.

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Northern Ridge “Snow Much Fun” Kids Snowboard

Perfect if you are looking for a sturdy, fun board to play on local hills and in the backyard. This is not a board for real ski slopes as it has no edges but is good to get young riders comfortable with snowboarding safely.

  • Durable plastic construction with no metal edges means its safer for never-evers and cautious riders
  • 110cm snowboard
  • Adjustable, Cinch Bindings makes putting on the snowboard very easy
  • Bindings come pre-mounted and can be reversed for switch riders
  • Recommended for ages 9 and up
  • Not intended for mountain or resort use

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Kwik Tek AIRHEAD SNOW RIDER Snowboard

This is the entry-level board is perfect to start ’em young on. Kids as young as 3 can start on this board that has no metal edges, so they can safely get the feel of the mechanics of riding a board.

  • Entry Level Snowboards for Fun
  • Durable hardwood construction
  • EZ Adjust Velcro Bindings means easy on and off even with little hands.
  • No metal Edge means safety for your little one but not for resort use
  • 90 cm is perfect for smaller, younger kids

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Toy Slider Snowboard

This is a very inexpensive snowboard that is perfect for new riders to get the feel of snowboarding down a hill. This will not be the most durable board on the list but it is a great way to introduce your child safely without sharp edges or a hard top surface. For backyard/sledding hill use only.Entry-level, beginner snowboard

  • Pre-mounted kids snowboard binding straps and adjustable Velcro straps fit with a wide range of boot sizes
  • Constructed of dense polyethylene foam land a super-slick hard plastic snowboard bottom. No metal edges to cut kids
  • Binding straps can be positioned to lead with left or right foot (goofy foot)
  • 110 cm snowboard is great for kids that are 50 lbs and up

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Burton After School Special Snowboard with Bindings

First of all, it’s from Burton, a trusted snowboard innovator whose has been a pioneer in the industry. This board is great for entry-level beginners but has metal edges so it can also be taken to the local ski resort to help them improve and practice. This board is more expensive but it will be very durable and if you start your kiddos young, can be used for 2-4 years.

  • Super soft, parent-friendly bindings
  • Saucer-like snowboard design teaches balance and board control
  • Fully adjustable, pre-mounted bindings.
  • Beginner-friendly stance
  • 3 different sizes means there is a board for kids from 25-55 lbs
  • Compatible with the Burton Ringlet Board Reel to help teach kids balance.

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Burton Ringlet Reel

The Burton Reel only works with Burton-compatible snowboards but it is an awesome way to easily pull your lil’ one around until they get used to standing sideways on their board, on their own.  A flat ground teaching tool to get your young kids standing sideways.

  • Retractable Reel with 130cm of High-Strength Nylon
  • Adjustable Length Handle Design
  • Compatible with youth Chopper, Chicklet, Ringlet, and After School Special snowboards.
  • 1 year warranty

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MDXONE Kids Snowboard Harness

A great trainer for younger kids. Perfect for instilling confidence in young riders while keeping them a safe distance to you and helping them to improve their balance.The only kids trainer harness that is specifically designed to work for both skis and snowboards

  • Retractable leash allows you to control distance with simple push of a button.
  • Comfortable backpack design with two storage areas and two reinforced handles to lift your child from the snow with ease. Perfect for assistance on the chairlift.
  • 3 settings to allows rider to progress from beginner to advanced.

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Have fun and be patient while teaching your kids to snowboard and use these introductory snowboards and accessories to make it even easier.

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See Also: Best Skates for Kids


Comments

Did we answer all of your questions about teaching kids to snowboard? Please leave a comment about any questions you may have and/or your experiences with teaching your kids how to snowboard, we would love to hear your stories!

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  • Thanks for the great article about teaching kids to snowboard. I love your tip that the snowboard harness will be handy in helping them get onto the chairlift. Would you say that snowboarding is easier thank skiing for kids to pick up or is it about the same level of difficulty to learn?

    • Hi Fiona, Yes the snowboard harness is so handy helping both little skiers and little rippers onto the chairlift, it makes it soooo much easier.  Your next question is a good one, and hard to answer. Some kis can easily adapt to both sports at the same time and have fun learning both.  My kiddo started on skis and it took him a long time to gain confidence and now that he has it down, he doesn't want to go all the way back to step one and relearn how to snowboard.  But I do take him out myself and just play on the board in our backyard (using these tips) so he gains confidence and he likes doing that, as he thinks it's just playing.  So keep in mind that whatever you start them out on might be what they stick with for a little while but you can keep reminding them how much fun the other sport by getting out and playing to gain practice and skills.

  • Thank you for the tips I have been very nervous to teach my child how to snowboard.  He has had some ski lessons but I get nervous that he will get going to fast and ski into somebody or something.  I really liked your your idea of the ski harness.   That way I could slow him down if he started going to fast. and that would put my mind at ease and make it easier.  Thanks so much for the tips and the snowboard reviews, very helpful.

  • Thank you for the information on teaching kids how to snowboard. A group of us with many young kids are planning a snowboarding trip this winter. We will be spending 7 days at the ski resort, we plan to put the kids in ski school for three days and then free ride the rest of the days we are there.  These tips will come in useful and I feel more confident teaching them after they have had a few days of professional teaching under their belt.  I think it will be fun teaching the kids how to snowboard especially with a lot of parents around so we can take turns..

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    • Hi Christine,
      Thank you for your great comment! What you are doing is PERFECT. Give the kiddos some professional coaching and then go out and have fun with the teaching tips provided. Also you may want to give the kids a full day off from snowboarding during the week just to give them a rest and let everything they have learned sink in and solidify in their brains. Taking a day to snowshoe, shop, ice skate or just relax is really helpful in retaining the new skills they have just learned. Don't forget to take lots of breaks, bring lots of snacks and kleenex and HAVE FUN!

  • Loved this article about teaching kids to snowboard. My husband and I are big snowboarders and we are super excited to introduce or 4-year old to the sport this year. I am definitely a little nervous as I have never tried to teach someone to snowboard before let alone a young child. However, I really like your tips and you are giving me some great ideas on how to get started. I think I might invest in the training harness you wrote about, I think it might put my mind at ease if I knew my daughter wasn't going to slide down the hill at any moment without me. This is a great resource thanks so much for sharing it

    • Hi Sarah, I am so happy you found this article about how to teach kids to snowboard helpful. I know how daunting it can be to teach your kiddo but it is so rewarding to see them, when it finally clicks and you see they are having fun! Remember lots of patience and snacks are the key! Have fun and remember you can always take a lesson from a local ski resort to help reinforce/compliment what you are teaching your daughter. Outside instruction can really be helpful too. Have fun and I can't wait till you and your daughter are boarding down the mountain together!

    • Hi Michael,

      Thank you for your comment and I think the idea of getting your son a snowboard for Christmas is a marvelous idea.  The Burton Board is a great board and will last a few years before he outgrows it.  It is durable and Burton is a name we all know and trust.  The only hesitation I would have is that this board has a metal edge and if he has never ever been on a board you may want to go with a plastic edge instead.  Unfortunately plastic-edged snowboards are not very durable and will only last a season or so but it is a very safe way to get your child started on a snowboard, and they are fun.

      If however, your child is well coordinated, already skateboards, ice skates or is involved in other highly skilled activities he will probably have no problem on the Burton After School Snowboard but just be aware of the edges when you are teaching him.

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