Snowboarding Ability Levels

Beginner Snowboarders

A beginner is someone who is obviously new to the sport and doesn’t know much about it.  Most beginners are still trying to get the fundamentals down of making heel side turns, toe side turns and stopping on purpose.  You might know what kind of riding style you want to be from the start or just want to check out everything to see what appeals to you the most.  It all starts by learning how to link your turns. Beginner freestyle riders have mastered the above and are now starting to check a thing or two out in the beginner parks.

Intermediate Snowboarders

An intermediate snowboarder is someone who is riding well down most beginner to intermediate runs and is now looking to challenge themselves on steeper runs. They skid their turns a lot so when you look back at your tracks on corduroy you don’t see a thin s line the whole way down.  They’re also ready to check out the small parks for a trick or two.  This rider is working to proficiently ride every run on the mountain, to ride switch, to ride powder, to hit the small jib park, to make small jumps and to ride the 8 feet or less half pipe. Most people are trying to figure out what riding styles they like and are trying to get better. Most intermediate riders are still skidding their turns instead of carving them out. What is skidding your turn? Make a few turns and look back at the tracks you made. If it isn’t a razor thin S then you are skidding your turns.

Advanced Snowboarders

An advanced snowboarder is more in tune with what type of rider they are and is developing that style.  They’re starting to understand how to make good turns anywhere on the mountain and are beginning to carve.  They still skid their turns or lift up the back foot on occasion but are getting closer to turning correctly. They are having fun in powderdays without doing cartwheels or getting stuck in the middle of a run.  Advanced Freestylers are now riding switch, know how to ollie, butter, press, can get up and down the pipe wall, can hit most moderate jibs and and can land most small to medium jumps.  Whether they’re a freestyle or freeride snowboarder, they’re working to straight line a run and make an impressive carve.  If they are a freestyler, they are learning to go bigger everywhere and are trying new tricks.

Expert Snowboarders

Expert Freeride Snowboarders are carving hard (razor thin S turns), straight lining almost any run, dropping into narrow steep chutes, loving pow and darting through thick tree runs. Freestyle riders are riding switch whenever and wherever it suits them, handling the super pipe, hitting kickers with a bevy of tricks in their arsenal and jibbing anything they want, any way they want.  An expert has seen it all and can do almost anything in the riding style they choose.  They aren’t pros but understand the mechanics of every move in their style of riding.

We strongly suggest taking lessons on the mountain when you are a beginner or intermediate rider.  Even when you’re at the advanced or expert level, you can keep learning from a good instructor.