Every snowboarder has to start somewhere. The basic skills and maneuvers are essential for all riders to master before moving on to more complicated tasks. While tricks might seem complex, some are easy enough for beginners to work on.
I’m a certified snowboarding instructor with over a decade of experience teaching people of all ability levels. Many of my students want to learn tricks, and I’ve helped them accomplish this goal.
In this post, I’ll list some easy snowboard tricks for beginners. All of the tricks you’ll find here can be completed with basic level skills that all snowboarders need to possess. The goal is to give you new things to practice to keep your excitement level high.
Let’s strap in and get after it.
The ollie is one of the most basic (and most essential) tricks for every snowboarder to learn. It involves jumping on the snow with your board strapped on and is a foundational part of many more complex maneuvers.
The ollie gets its name from skateboarding, where the trick originated, and is pretty much the same thing. Doing an ollie on a snowboard is more straightforward than on a skateboard for most people.
Once you learn how to ollie, it’s really easy to practice them anywhere on the mountain, even if you aren’t really moving. As you learn more complicated tricks, you’ll notice that you use the ollie to initiate most jumping and sliding maneuvers.
Follow these steps to complete an ollie:
- Ride on a slightly downhill slope at a manageable speed. Not too fast, but not too slow.
- Bend your knees into an athletic position while keeping your eyes focused up ahead.
- Lean slightly back onto your uphill leg.
- Jump off the back leg (the one you just leaned into) and bring your knees up towards your chest.
- Straighten your board in the air.
- Land gently to absorb impact.
An ollie is easier to complete without thinking much about it. However you complete the jumping process will work, and the steps above are basic suggestions that work for most people.
Butters and presses are synonymous terms for the same trick. Some people also call this trick a manual, which is what it is called in skateboarding. The trick involves leaning onto the tail or nose of the board and riding with the opposite end in the air.
These tricks look cool and don’t involve that much skill to complete, which is why I teach butters to beginners often. It’s similar to completing an ollie, except you extend the lean and don’t jump up into the air.
The key to performing a butter or press is to find a good sense of balance. You can easily play with this trick without risking a big fall. Simply lean forward or backward until half of the board is in the air and keep riding.
A basic level of buttering is just to complete the trick while you are riding on a gentle slope. As you get better, you can incorporate the trick into your rail grinds or other features, which takes even more precision and balance.
Also Read: Best Snowboards for Buttering
3. Riding Switch
Riding switch can be seen as both a trick and an important skill. If you can master this maneuver, it can open up a whole new world of riding opportunities in the terrain park and other areas of the mountain as well.
To ride switch, all you need to do is lead with your unnatural foot forward. If you ride regular, then switch would be riding with your right foot forward. If you ride goofy, then switch would have your left foot forward.
If you don’t know which foot is your dominant foot, check out this post on how to tell if you are regular or goofy. And check out this one for some general tips on riding switch.
Riding switch can take some getting used to, so it’s better to practice the trick on less steep slopes. Once you get the hang of it, you can begin to explore taking off and landing switch on tricks, which opens up a whole new dynamic.
4. 50/50 Grinds
If you are eager to get into the terrain park, learning how to perform a 50/50 grind is one of the most basic tricks you can do on a rail or box. I always recommend attempting this one on a box before moving onto a rail.
A 50/50 grind is a very simple maneuver that can be easy and intuitive. Many riders will psych themselves out of this one and make it seem more complicated than it needs to be. You are literally just riding over the box or rail in the same direction as you ride in.
Follow these steps to complete a 50/50 grind:
- Approach the box or rail in your regular snowboard stance at a gentle speed.
- Bend your knees slightly as you make the approach and point your nose directly toward the center of the box.
- Keep your board flat as you slide across the box to not lose balance or catch an edge.
- Look at the dismount point and ollie slightly off the box and into the landing zone.
Quick Tip: Most terrain parks will have a box or two with a takeoff and landing ramp, so you don’t need to ollie onto the box. This makes the maneuver far easier and is recommended for beginners.
5. Straight Airs
One of the biggest wishes I hear from many of my snowboard students is that they want to learn how to jump on a snowboard. While there are nearly endless aerial variations in jumping, the most basic maneuver is a straight air.
A straight air is simply going off a jump, flying into the air, and coming back down to earth. This could be off of a manufactured jump in the terrain park or a natural feature somewhere else on the mountain.
At the most beginner level, all you need to do to go off of a jump and catch some air is snowboard over it. It can seem scary or intimidating, but I always tell my students to just go for it and work out the details from there.
Once you get some experience, you can begin to ollie off the lip of the jump, which will increase how much air you get and also improve your control. Always bend your knees during the takeoff and landing to help absorb impact.
It’s always better to start on smaller jumps to limit the risk of injury. Once you have a feel for it, you can work your way up to bigger features. You’ll be flying in no time.
It’s important to take your time when learning any new snowboarding skill. While tricks can be endless amounts of fun, they aren’t the easiest skills for beginners to learn. Take your time, be patient, and you’ll be able to accomplish all of the tricks listed here in no time.About Lorraine