Tips for Taking Snowboarding Lessons in Colorado

For my 30th birthday, I went on a trip with Escape Camper Vans USA and took my own person camper van to some of my favorite places in Colorado.

Being that I am Coloradoan, I find it utterly ridiculous that I have never gone snowboarding. It has been 25 years since I hit the slopes last, and that time, I went skiing. All I remember is I had mastered the pie wedge and used a lot of chapstick.

Many are incredibly intimidated by the idea of snowboarding because most of your friends are going to tell you that you’ll spend a lot of time on your ass and face, trying to learn how to glide down some fresh powder. This may or may not be true and it really depends on how quickly you catch on.

I took my first snowboarding lesson at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area just a little ways from Breckenridge and Keystone. Be aware that TripAdvisor and other review sites will say this is not the best place to learn how to snowboard if you are a beginner. I found it to be a good place especially if you are really in no rush to learn.

I highly suggest that you take a lesson prior to getting down the slopes on your own. There are so many basics you’ll learn and there are designated areas for beginning snowboarders who are not looking to go to hard too fast.

After this 2.5 hour lesson at Arapahoe Basin, I did not learn toeside. If you don’t have time to learn toeside, don’t be afraid to pick up another lesson after your first half day.

So after my first day of a few days, below are some things you should consider before you take your first snowboarding lesson.

The Right Snowboard Gear

I recommend getting your gear from a friend or at the very least renting it. Snowboarding isn’t for everyone. You might find yourself thrilled at the idea of snowboarding but then come to find out you aren’t as into it as you thought. Instead of buying hundreds of dollars worth of gear, see if you can borrow or rent and save yourself a buttload of cash.

Please also make sure to have the right waterproof gloves (in the case you really are sitting on the slopes a lot), a warm snowboard jacket (I love Columbia), good snow pants, goggles, and DEFINITELY a helmet.

Bring a Small Backpack

This didn’t occur to me until I saw someone else learning how to snowboard. I like this idea for one very important reason – you can bring 1-2 bottles of water with you. You don’t realize how dry and thirsty you get once you were on the mountain and being that there is no place in the immediate vicinity that could provide you with water, this may be a good idea. It keeps you from cutting into your lesson.

Decathlon Backpack for Snowboarding Lessons

If you were to choose anything, I would purchase a small one from like Decathlon. They have incredibly small and compact backpacks that are perfect for packing small items like wallet, keys, sunscreen, water, etc.

Take It Slow

Guys, there is legit no rush. I watched a young girl try and go too fast too soon and she busted her ass every time. There is no shame in taking your time because you have no one to impress. Unless you have a hot instructor, but that’s beside the point. Taking a lesson will help you manage your speed. If you need the extra guidance, you will get that help from an instructor.

Do A Half Day

I honestly don’t know how people do a full day of snowboarding when they are first learning how to get the hang of things. It can be a super tiring experience simply because you’re using muscles you don’t use on a regular basis. Half day lessons or solo rides are a good option so you don’t tire yourself out or feel too sore. If you can do that for a few days, it’s likely you’ll get the hang of things after a few half day sessions.

Do What Makes You Comfortable

Kelly Snowboarding Lessons at Arapahoe Basin

Everyone’s body is different, which means how our body responds to activity is different. Some people may catch on super quickly, and others may take a while to get the hang of things. If you feel like this isn’t right for you, don’t be afraid to voice that. Pay attention to your body! If you need a break, then by all means, please take a break. You’ll thank yourself later! Plus, knowing when to go slow could save you from an unnecessary injury.

Feel The Burn

If you are going heelside and toeside and your legs are on fire, then you’re probably doing it right. The more heel the slower you go and the more burn – same thing with toeside (or so I’ve heard, I haven’t done it yet).

Use Toe Warmers

Hot Hands Toe Warmers for Snowboarding Lessons

Nothing kills your mood when you’re in the snowboarding zone like cold feet. A friend of mine heeded this advice very strongly – “keep your toes warm.” What I would suggest is getting a pair of the toe warmers. They are made by the same people who make hot hands.

Snowboarding is such a fun activity. Many say it’s hard to learn but easy to master. So if you’re really willing to take the time to learn, then, by all means, go for it. With persistence, you will eventually grow from novice status. With that being said, good luck and have fun out there!

What was your first snowboarding experience like? Leave your stories in the comments below! If you enjoyed this post, check out my most recent post on Colorado winter items that are a must have this season.