If you are most people the first time on the snow can be a daunting experience. Mountains can be a cold, hostile environment very different from most people's day-to-day life. Add in multiple, high-speed bodies only creates chaos. No wonder many beginner snowboarders cling to the nursery green slopes or end up retreating to the expensive slopeside restaurants to sip on overpriced hot chocolate. However there is a whole new set of unwritten rules ones you don't hear of until you have broken them and someone let you have it on the slopes. Snowboarding though doesn't have to be this way. There are some short helpful hints to make you more comfortable, safer and secure as you venture out on the slopes for the first time.
The first thing you need to think of in a mountain environment is the cold. What you don't realize until you've experienced a sweaty heap by 10 AM is that wearing two T-shirts and a hoodie under a puffy jacket while doing heavy duty exercise is not a good idea. All you need is a good non-cotton thermal and a lightweight but waterproof jacket. A hoodie can be stashed in your backpack in case the temperature drops. Prefer non-cotton because polyester or Merino doesn't soak up your sweat therefore can't freeze in the cold and make you colder. A big mistake that people make is blowing their budget on a nice-looking jacket and forgetting about gloves and snow pants. When your snowboarding you will be picking yourself up off your rear end a lot. Cheap flimsy gloves get soaked instantly and any pants without waterproofing are not useful. Make sure you don't splurge on a jacket and leave these other two out.
Buying a snowboard is the next logical step but unless you're dedicating a good portion of your life rental gear can be okay for now. Some resort bay shops let you hire out this seasons gear. If you are going to splurge boots should be your first choice. When you do go to rent your snowboard kit the shop people will want to set it up for you. They will ask you if you are a regular goofy footer first. They are asking if you ride with your left right foot forward. Left is regular, right is goofy. How do you know if you've never been snowboarding before? Imagine your putting on a pair of jeans and which foot do you put forward first 99% of the time. That's the foot you'll have mounted at the front of your board. Other good ways to determine which way you ride are rushing a door. Which leading shoulder equals the leading foot or going into a defensive boxing stance see which foot goes forward.
The number one rule to remember is while on the slope anyone downhill has right of way over you. That means if you crash into someone lower down then you it's your fault. Equally you have right away of anyone uphill of you. If you are about to do a sweeping turn across the slope it's worth checking behind you first just as you would if you were pulling across three lanes of traffic on a highway. Once you get into a snow park however the rules become another ballpark of complexity.
Getting on and off a chairlift is a nightmare in itself and one you should probably get help on from a trained professional. The simple rule is goofy riders get on to the left regular footers to the right, and skiers in the middle if they really have to be there at all. This prevents boards from crossing over one another and getting caught. The scariest obstacle in snowboarding is the dreaded button lift. They were designed for skiers. Unstrapped your back foot and line the board parallel with the direction you will be headed when you take off. Once comfortable grab hold of the button as it swings past and in one fluid motion put it between your legs. There will be a jolt as you start moving forward so be prepared. Once you begin going the temptation is to sit on the button like a seat but it actually is more of a leaning stool. Let the left exert pressure on you. As in riding a skateboard you push with your back foot in front while your front foot stays on. There's one key difference to skateboarding. Push with your back foot behind you even though it will seem unnatural. As your front foot is locked in place on the board you push from behind as pushing from in front strands your knee joint. Use your edges to keep you straight in line and leave a flat base and let the left do the work.
The worst thing that could happen to anyone who is learning to snowboard is allowing your snowboard to get out of control as snowboards like to go downhill regardless of whether there's a human attached are not.
One last piece of advice is that speed is your friend. Most accidents happen by catching an edge or slipping out when you're resisting the fall line and fighting gravity. Throw emotions aside and lose yourself to the thrill. Sure you fall and you'll get hurt but it's worth it. Welcome to snowboarding.