When you are first learning how to snowboard, you are generally going to learn how to do so in just one direction.  However, as you build up your confidence and start to venture deeper and deeper into the terrain park, you will eventually realize that you must learn how to start snowboarding riding switch.  Here is everything that you could ever want to know about how to ride your snowboard switch style.

When You Are Just Starting Out

When it comes to learning how to ride switch, the hardest thing you will need to do is simply go out and get started riding switch.  This means that you will need to start riding switch as much as you possibly can, doing your best to do so on a very regular basis.  So if you find yourself riding down a cat track or even a run that you just find to be boring, that is the perfect time to practice riding switch.  A good rule of thumb when you are just starting to learn how to ride switch, is to try and do at least one complete run out of all the runs you plan on doing that day riding completely switch.

If you are feeling adventurous and would like to give yourself a little challenge, you can always try to ride switch on the chairlift, making sure that your opposite foot is the one that is strapped in.  What this does, is essentially force you to start practicing certain movements that you are in no way comfortable performing.  It is also a great way to get your muscles used to riding switch as well.  It essentially allows your muscles to start developing more evenly on both of your legs and body.  On a side note, the better you get at riding switch, the better rider you will start to become overall, as your confidence will be increased exponentially, as well as your board control.

Practice ‘Boob’ Turns

One of the best entry level techniques that you can practice in order to ride switch better is what is referred to as a ‘boob’ turn.  In order to successfully perform a boob turn, you will need to find a quiet are of a run that has a wide space.  Now keep in mind that you are going to require the use of the full length of the run, so be sure that you wait until there is nobody else around before attempting this beginning switch training exercise.  

To get started with your boob turn:

  • Start by going downhill.
  • Once you get a little bit of speed built up, begin doing a toe side turn.
  • Turn all the way around until you have begun to travel back up the hill.
  • As soon as you come to a complete stop, roll your weight to the heel edge of your board.
  • Continue to go down the hill, repeating the switch heel side turn.

Once you have successfully completed this exercise, you will notice that you have just made a very curved and big ‘UU’ type of shape across the entire width of the run.  This exercise is basically going to be a regular turn that is followed by what is known as a switch turn.

If you would like to start on the other side of that particular run, you will need to start off using your heel edge.  Start going down the hill in order to pick up a little bit of speed, moving yourself into a big heel edge that is shaped like a ‘U’.  This will bring you up hill.  Once you come to a complete stop, roll yourself onto your toe edge and then start to continue going down hill with your toe side turn.  (This is essentially going to be the same process but from the other side of the run).

The main reason that this particular exercise has been nicknamed ‘boob turns’, is because as soon as you are able to do them decently, the path that you leave in the snow is going to look very similar to a very large and round ‘boob’ in the snow.  It is recommended that you repeat this process of practicing your boob turns until you feel as though you have created the perfect pair in the snow.  

What makes this exercise so effective is the fact that it lets you learn how to switch edges while you are moving along at a lower speed, which means lower consequences.

Learning to Ride Switch Downhill

While you are snowboarding in your normal stance, your body learns how to ride downhill with the same exact angle as the slope you are on.  Your body mechanics have simply learned how to lean forwards, most of your bodyweight being on your front foot.  When you try to turn this around and ride switch downhill for the very first time, you will notice that all of your weight continues to stay over that same foot.  This means you will be leaning way too far backwards.  This is going to be the most common problem when it comes to trying to learn how to ride switch.

This is going to be the biggest problem when it comes to trying to ride switch downhill.  In order to successfully ride switch downhill, you will need to make sure that you have the bulk of your weight over your front foot (the new one, not the old one).  In order to become successful at riding switch downhill, you will need to make sure that you train your brain to get used to transferring all of your bodyweight to the foot that is in front while you are riding, no matter if that is switch or your normal style.

Learning to ride switch is not necessarily as hard as you may think.  When you are able to take small steps to learning how to ride switch every single time you are on the slopes, you will have no problem riding switch at all.

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