December 25, 2006
The advice about having a headstart based on skateboarding and surfing are true, but not very detailed.
Surfing and skating ALWAYS allow you the option of jumping / bailing off your board. You are strapped into that snowboard until YOU unclip yourself.
For your first time -- I'd recommend traditional bindings. Step ins are often more trouble than they are worth and do not allow for a secure or reactive ride. You want to the board to be very responsive on your first runs -- this will teach you quick lessons about edges and weight disbursement. Also, remember the foot you use to push you skateboard is the foot you will want in the rear of your snowboard... (this is your stance... regular or goofy). That alone is the most crucial lesson to getting a good start in snowboarding.
I've instructed snowboarding for every age (2 years through 74 years old) and starting out with the wrong stance is an easy way to waste an entire day.
Chair lift -- #1 important thing to keep in mind -- when fear and caution cause you to lean backwards and try to keep your body in the chair, remember to keep yourself pitched slightly forward. This will allow you momentum and possibly some added courage to get you off the lift and headed off in the right direction.
As for your time on the mountain.... remember your body and your board are always going to go where you are looking. While learning, it is never a bad idea to put your arm / arms out in front of you in the direction you want to go (literally point yourself where you want to go). Aside from focusing you mentally, this will force your body to balance and shift towards the direction you want to go.
Getting up -- start off attempting to teach yourself to always get up from you butt (almost as if doing a sit up). DO NOT allow yourself to get in the habit of 'flipping over' to raise yourself up from the knees (almost as if doing a push up). This will prevent you from never learning to get up the first way (the sit up way) which is FAR more useful than ALWAYs having to flip yourself over.
Lastly, after this novel i've written, have fun and laugh at your mistakes. Snowboarding is hard to pick up for most but your progression will be quick... as compared with skiing which is easier to pick up but harder to progress. Also remember, EVERYONE was a beginner at some point!!