How to Snowboard on Ice or Icy Conditions

Knowing how to snowboard on ice or in icy conditions is a good skill for every rider to learn. Not only will it keep you safer on the slopes, but it will allow you to access challenging terrain and provide you with more opportunities to have fun. 

I’m a lifelong snowboarder who loves everything about the sport. I’m also a certified snowboarding instructor who has helped many riders improve their abilities. I know through first-hand experience how to ride on ice. 

This post will show you how to snowboard on ice or icy conditions. I’ll give you some tips and tricks to keep in mind when navigating less than ideal snow so you can enjoy your time on the slopes without worry. 

Let’s get to it. 

Initial Thoughts

If you know that you are going to be in icy conditions, it’s always a good idea to slow down. Ice can be unpredictable and dangerous, and you never want to get out of control if you can avoid it. 

You can’t always predict when you’ll hit a patch of ice, and that’s why it’s important to ride in control at all times. Wearing a helmet is a critical part of this, and safety should always be a primary concern.

Is Snowboarding on Ice Hard? 

Snowboarding on ice is not ideal. Softer snow conditions are always easier than icy ones. It’s more challenging to get in and stay in control on ice because the edges of your board don’t dig in as easily. 

Riding on ice takes more advanced riding skills, which means that beginners might struggle when they encounter these conditions. You need to have good balance and adaptability to ride on ice effectively. 

How to Snowboard on Ice of Icy Conditions

In this section, I’ll provide you with some tips and tricks to help you ride on ice. If you keep these in mind when you hit an icy patch, you should be able to navigate it better. 

1. Keep Your Board Tuned Up

One of the keys to being able to stay in control on ice is to have sharp edges. Sharp edges are the key to staying in control, and the sharper they are, the more grip and bite you will have when you encounter ice on the mountain. 

Make sure that you keep your board tuned up during the course of the season. You don’t want to let your edges get dull or run out of wax. You can also keep an edge tuner in your car and pocket and sharpen your edges every day you ride. 

2. Slow Down

If you know that an icy section of the slope is approaching, you need to try to slow down before you hit it. The more in control you are ahead of time, the better you’ll be able to stay in control once you hit the ice. 

You might not always realize that ice is approaching, so don’t worry if you can’t slow down completely. I’ll tell you what you can do in the following steps to handle staying in control when you hit an icy patch. 

3. Keep Your Body Balance and Engaged

You also need to focus on good snowboarding techniques when riding on ice or icy conditions. This means that you should keep your knees bent and your core engaged, so you are well balanced and ready for anything that comes your way. 

You can even exaggerate your form to get better balance. Put your arms out on the sides, bend more into your knees, and do your best to stay in control of your board. Your instinct might kick in, and this could happen naturally when you hit ice. 

4. Limit Turning if Possible

This trick really only applies to a short section of ice. If you know that the ice is going to turn back into good snow relatively soon, you might want to consider straight-lining through it rather than turning. 

Trying to turn on ice is difficult, and that’s when most people lose control. If you can limit your turns, you can limit the chance of getting out of control. Again, this isn’t really possible on longer stretches of ice. 

How Do I Control My Snowboard on Ice? 

The only honest answer to this is the best you can. Slowing down before you hit the ice is crucial to staying in control. If you hit ice while going fast, it will be much more challenging. 

But if you have sharp edges and are prepared for what’s coming your way, you can still stay in control. Keep in mind that the tips above about keeping your balance and body engaged can be very helpful. 

What Kind of Snowboard Do I Need for Icy Conditions? 

You don’t need a special snowboard for icy conditions, but you do always want a board that is well-tuned with sharp edges. Even a really nice board with dull edges won’t help you out much when you hit ice. 

Fully cambered snowboards can give you a bit more edge control and power, which can be helpful when you go over ice. These boards have more edge contact with the snow, making them more powerful when you hit ice. 

Final Thoughts

Snowboarding on ice isn’t much fun, but it happens to all of us. If you have a bit of experience and keep your edges sharp, you should be able to navigate an icy stretch without much worry. 

If you aren’t used to riding on ice, try not to panic and make any quick movements. Instead, bend your knees and keep focused. The icy patch could end quickly, and you might be able to ride it out without any issues.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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