There is no right way to snowboard. Snowboarding can be a mechanical physiological formula or a free-flowing form of personal expression. Learning to board is relatively easy. So, why take a lesson? Any semi-athletic person can get the hang of it in season or even a few weeks. How quickly they learn good, efficient, effective skills, how painful it is to learn them, and how many bad habits are picked up along he way, however, is where a lesson with a professionally trained instructor will make a difference.

It is a fact that the human body is designed to function in certain ways. An instructor has extensive experience and training in how the body and the board can function easily together. In a beginner lesson the instructor can share this information in a way that is fun and safe and will save a life time of trial and error. Through learning basic skills such as edging, how to apply appropriate pressure to the board and steering skills a solid foundation can be developed.

Taking up a new sport can be a quite liberating experience or a humbling journey through new thresholds of frustration. A trial and error process can not only be a slow road to ripping it up; it can be a painful one. A lack of understanding of how the edges of a snowboard work can result in some pretty hard slams from catching the downhill edge. Good instructors can practically give a slam free guarantee. That means faster results and less time before having the ability to ride the entire mountain.

The human mind and body is a master of adaptability. This can be a benefit in learning a new sport. It can also inhibit the learning process. There are many sports that are similar to snowboarding but only snowboarding is in fact snowboarding. Knowing which movements directly crossover from sport to sport is important in success. When threatened or in a new environment the body is also very practiced at making things up as it goes along. Reinforcing tricks created for survival on the slope out of lack of commitment or fear can become a pattern. Crossover movement patterns and survival moves can develop into bad habits. Lessons can ensure the development of positive, appropriate and efficient movements.

Working with an instructor is not just for beginners. A regular check in with lessons or workshops can speed your progress and ensure your skills are solid. Most resorts offer all day and half day class lessons for all levels and abilities. Privates and specialty workshops are also available if you want more intense individual feedback or to specialize in one aspect of the sport. To find out more about programs offered by resorts contact the ski school. To work with an experienced professional instructor request one that is PSIA certified.

Jane Mauser is a professional snowboard instructor at Snowbird, Utah. She is a member of the demo team of the Far West Professional Ski Instructors of America and is a all-around hard charging snowboarder.