I often hear people say that it is better to teach your kid to ski before letting them snowboard. They often talk about how skiing is more natural than snowboarding because you face forward. In reality my two daughters learnt to do the perfect squat that is essential for snowboarding at a young age. It was completely natural. When we took out our 3 year old snowboarding she immediately moved into a perfect snowboarding squat stance with no instruction necessary. It started to become clear that it really does not matter which one you pick because kids usually pick up skills quite fast. We had so much fun taking her out snowboarding and want to share our top tips for getting started when teaching a toddler to snowboard.
Teaching a Toddler to Snowboard
1. Pull Them
Whether you have the riglet pull cord or you attach your own rope to the snowboard try pulling them around on flat ground first. They will have lots of fun and it will teach them how to balance on the board.
New skills are all about feel so have your toddler jump with the board on. This will help them get a feel of the board on their feet and teach different ways the board can move.
3. Start Small
Start on a small hill or on the magic carpet portion of a mountain and let them go down straight by themselves. Do this as long as they are having a good time by following step 4.
4. Don’t Give Instructions
In the beginning, let them feel the movements and change their body how they feel they need to. One of the best ways to let young kids learn is for them to explore by themselves. By giving no instructions my daughter learnt to adjust her body to keep balance on the board, crouch for more stability and carve on her backside. (Video is of our toddler snowboarding for the first time. Also I would recommend that your toddler should wear helmet).
5. Board Slide : Two ways to each them
a. Use a snowboarding harness like the Little Ripper Gripper
- We found that by keeping her within arms reach on the harness she was easily able to board slide. I could also keep her from falling on her face or on her back by catching her with the harness.
- Once she was able to board slide we were able to extend the harness completely. By giving an occasional light tug on the harness we were able to help her boardslide back and forth. She was able to slide back and forth really well down the bunny hill.
- We only managed to snowboard a few times this year. Next year we are going to progress and attach the harness so that she can learn to carve. Then hopefully we will have her follow us on the snowboard.
b. Hold their hands. (This method became tiring after taking them to the hill a few times)
a. Hold your toddlers hands while they are on their backside
b. Tell them they are going to slide down the hill
c. Tell them to lift their toes
d. Let go of their hands and remind them to lift their toes. Catch them if they fall forward but don’t be afraid to let them fall on their butt so they can get used to the motion!
6. Have Fun
This is really the most important lesson that you want your toddler to learn. Make sure to have fun and if they only want to try for 5 minutes that is ok! End on a high note so that they are begging to get back on the hill and shred again!
Additional Snowboard Support:
Check out this great post from my friends at Tales of a Mountain Mama “How to Teach Kids to Snowboard”