Snowboarding and Keeping Weight on the Front Leg
As a new snowboarder, you will undoubtedly put too much pressure on your back leg at first, which can result in some pretty painful falls. New riders tend to want to control the board with their dominant foot, which is also the back foot. Keeping your weight balanced over your front leg is a critical part of snowboarding, and turns are completed by shifting weight between the heel side and toe side. Practicing J-turns will help you learn to apply the proper amount of weight to your front foot while riding.
Practice putting weight on your front foot in your house before you go to the mountain. Stand barefoot on a hard floor with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Pretend you're on your snowboard and shift your weight to apply more pressure to your front foot. Balance your weight over your front leg and hold this position until it no longer feels uncomfortable or awkward.
Take the lift or hike to the top of the bunny hill or a gradual slope and strap into your board. Get in an athletic stance and balance your weight over your front foot, like you practiced at home, to prevent yourself from sitting back too far on the board. This comfortable and balanced posture, with your center of balance over your front foot, will be used for all of your snowboard turns and maneuvers.
Start riding with the nose of your board facing downhill. Focus on keeping your weight balanced over your front foot the entire time. When beginners gain speed, they lean back on the board to slow themselves down, but leaning back compromises your control of the board.
Keep your weight forward and apply slight pressure on the toes of your front foot to start your toe-side turn. Gradually increase the pressure on the toe-side of your front foot to make the turn sharper, and rotate your front knee slightly inward.
Switch the pressure from the toes of your front foot to the heels of your front foot to perform a heel-side turn. Rotate your front knee slightly outward, away from your body, as you start to make the turn. Keep your weight balanced over your front foot.
Make sure you have mastered the beginner basics of stopping, skating and gliding before you start worrying about the proper weight balance on your board.
Try J-turns a few times on a small slope at the bottom of the hill before you advance to the top.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.