Southerner Takes the Slopes: 6 Beginner Tips

Image: Anders Ax

Author: Lindsey

Published Date: 02/04/2020

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Being from north Texas, Lindsey never got to experience real snow. Now she's documenting her experience learning to snowboard through the Mountain School program.

Being from north Texas, I never got to experience real snow growing up. Even half an inch of “snow” (it’s really just ice) causes widespread panic and chaos. While I’m used to a subtropical climate with an average snowfall of a measly 1” a year, I packed up and headed west in search of picturesque, snow-covered mountains.

Learning to Snowboard on Chickadee at Snowbird

After settling in Utah, I was eager to hit the slopes to experience The Greatest Snow on Earth™. I chatted with some locals who proclaimed that if you learn at The Bird, then you can ski/ride anywhere. Not going to lie, it is very intimidating to start at a location known for steep & deep terrain that boasts over 500” of snowfall a year (only 499” more than I’m used to).

Lindsey and Mountain School Ski Lesson Instructor

But I decided to take on the challenge and signed up for a weekly snowboard lesson with the Mountain School at Snowbird, starting with the Adult Beginner Special. January in particular is a great time to start because it’s National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month. Throughout January and with the purpose of spreading the love of winter, Snowbird offers discounts to novice enthusiasts like myself.

Riding the Chickadee Chairlift

One convenient thing about the Adult Beginner Special is that rentals are included. No need to buy expensive gear for a sport you haven’t even tried yet! Snowbird’s Mountain School even has their own rental shop specifically for people taking lessons. The rental technicians know what size board to get you and how to make sure your boots fit just right. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the boot fit or how to tie or buckle them; they are there to help you.

Adult Beginner Snowboard Lessons in Utah

Based on my first snowboard lesson, here are some tips to know before you go:

  1. Have the Right Gear

    Wear waterproof gear! Don’t be the person who takes a lesson in jeans – trust me.

  2. Bring Sunscreen

    Yes, I know it’s cold out, but the sun reflects off the snow which means the sun’s rays are hitting your skin from two directions. At higher altitudes, it is easier to get sunburned because the atmosphere is thinner causing less filtration of UV rays.

  3. Be Prepared to Fall

    Snowboarding can be a challenge at first, and falling is part of the learning process. But, your instructor will help you learn how to stand back up and keep riding. 

  4. Your Body will be Sore

    Snowboarding uses muscles that you may not use on a regular basis. After my first lesson, I needed a relaxing break at The Cliff Spa before hitting the slopes again. If you are feeling unprepared, do some squats or wall sits at home to help strengthen your muscles.

  5. Keep your Pockets Zipped Up

    I pulled a total rookie move by leaving my pockets unzipped. After the end of the lesson, my pockets were full of snow.

  6. Take Lessons on Weekdays

    Weekends and holidays are busy. To get the most out of your lesson, a weekday time slot will give you more 1-on-1 time with the instructor and more space on the slope to practice. 


About the Author

Once an aspiring prima ballerina, Lindsey Steed retired her pointe shoes to pursue a "normal" lifestyle including shredding the Bird. She now utilizes her creativity and discipline as a marketing professional, freelance writer and proofreader extraordinaire. You can often find her at a hot yoga studio, baking sourdough bread or cuddling her dog Johnny Cash.

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