Of all the basic-level skills you’ll want to pick up as you learn how to snowboard, riding switch is one of the most useful. This simple maneuver allows you to ride in either direction, which opens up more doors for what is possible on the mountain.
I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has been teaching all ability levels of riders over the last ten years. I’ve helped many newcomers to the sport learn how to ride switch and want to share some of that experience here.
The tips and advice mentioned in this article will help you learn how to ride switch on your snowboard. Practice makes perfect, so remember to take this advice onto the snow as soon as you can.
Time to switch it up!
Why Ride Switch?
You don’t technically have to learn how to ride switch. But I would highly recommend it because it allows you to do much, much more on your snowboard. It can take some time to learn, as it’s not intuitive for everyone.
If you want to be a park or freestyle rider, learning how to ride switch is necessary. You need to know how to take off and land in either direction, so you can perform more tricks and not be limited to your dominant foot.
Riding switch also just makes you a versatile and more capable snowboarder. And who doesn’t want that? It can seem complicated at first, but the more you practice, the quicker you will have this essential skill mastered.
How to Ride Switch
I use a few different methods with my students to help them learn how to ride switch. It starts with having a board that is easy to ride in either direction and having your bindings set up to promote this skill.
Here are some quick tips to help you learn how to ride switch on a snowboard:
1. Use a twin shaped board
Twin boards are way easier to ride switch than a directional board. If you want to make things easier on yourself, make sure you learn how to ride switch on a twin. These boards are nearly symmetrical and can be ridden in both directions pretty easily.
While it’s not impossible to ride switch on a directional board, it’s not worth learning on. Directional boards have a shape that is intended to be ridden in a single direction, and you’ll be fighting them if you learn how to ride switch on these.
2. Get your bindings mounted correctly
Similar to the shape of your board, you also need to have your bindings mounted in a way that helps, rather than hinders, your ability to ride switch. The setup of your bindings is essential because this dictates what angle your feet will be when you ride.
For a good switch setup, you want your bindings to be mounted pretty much centered over your board. This will give you good balance going either direction and not cause your tip or tail to get out of place when you go the other way around.
You also want to consider the angles at which your bindings are mounted. If you have a forward-leaning angle, this can make it challenging to ride switch. Having your bindings fairly neutral or slightly duckfooted can make it easier to ride switch.
Your binding setup is a relatively personalized thing. Each boarder will like a different setup. But if you are a beginner and want to focus on learning how to ride switch, go with a center setup with fairly neutral angles to encourage easier switch riding.
You don’t have to keep the same binding angle forever, and you can change this up as your skills improve.
3. Start Slow, Find Your Balance
Once you have a good board for riding switch and your bindings set up correctly, it’s time to flip things up and go for it. If it’s your first attempt, start slowly and practice finding your balance because it can take some getting used to.
Start on a gentle slope, so you don’t get going too fast straight away. Point your switch foot forward and point yourself downhill. You’ll start to ride. It might feel weird. But just feel it out and get your bearings from there.
4. Don’t Sit in the Saddle
One of the biggest mistakes that people who are learning how to ride switch make is sitting in the saddle. This basically means you want to avoid leaning back. You’ll have a natural tendency to lean more towards your dominant foot, but that can really throw you off.
Instead of leaning back, you’ll want to keep close to equal weight on both feet. This will give you better balance and control in the long run. If you find yourself wanting to sit back, fight the urge!
5. Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to get better at riding switch is to keep it up. The more you do it, the better you will be. Practice makes perfect, and you’ll improve your skills much more quickly by actually getting on the mountain than reading about it here.
This doesn’t mean to need to ride switch all day. But make sure you work on it at least a few times every day you are out on the mountain.
Even if you don’t want to become a freestyle or park rider, you should still learn how to ride switch. It’s one of those basic maneuvers that will help you become a better rider. Plus, once you get the hang of it, it opens up a world of possibilities on the mountain.About Lorraine