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Back and Front Edges, How to Use Them Properly

How to Do a Frontside Turn on a Snowboard

Stand on a gentle slope with your knees bent, both feet strapped into your snowboard, and your weight equally distributed across both feet. Make sure that your snowboard is perpendicular to the fall line (i.e. pointed across the slope). Standing this way, your back edge should be digging into the hill to prevent you from moving.

Flatten your board on the snow so that your back edge is no longer holding you in place and you start slipping down the hill while still standing perpendicular to the fall line. Apply pressure to your back edge again to stop yourself from slipping.

Repeat this a few times to get a feel for side slipping and how your edge interacts with the snow to control your speed.

Once you feel comfortable with that, the next step is to gradually flatten your board on the hill while shifting your weight to your front foot. As you do this your board will turn and point downhill. Now you're halfway through the turn. This is where things can get a little scary. Once your board is pointing downhill you'll start to pick up speed quickly. Your instinct will be to lean toward the tail of your board (i.e. away from the direction you're moving) or to fall down to stop yourself. It's important that you keep your cool to finish the turn.

Keeping your weight on your front foot turn your head and upper body so that you're looking back up toward the top of the hill. You're doing this because that's the direction in which you want the board to rotate. Since your weight is on your front foot, the board will pivot in relation to it. As you twist your upper body toward the top of the hill your body will naturally pull your rear leg around, rotating the board until it's once again sideways on the hill.

Once your board is sideways on the hill, apply pressure to the front edge of the board to slow and stop yourself.

How to Do a Backside Turn on a Snowboard

When you're ready to turn, once again flatten your board on the snow and shift your weight to your front foot. Remember not to freak out or lean back when you start picking up speed.

Turn your head and upper body as if you are trying to look behind yourself by looking over your downhill shoulder. Again, this will twist your body in the direction that you want the board to rotate and will cause you to naturally pull it around so that it's once again sideways on the hill.

Once the board is sideways on the hill, apply pressure to the back edge to slow and stop yourself.

Congratulations! You've just completed both frontside and backside turns. You're well on your way to snowboarding like a champ. Now, all you need to do is continue practicing them to make them smoother and more fluid.

Tip: No matter how closely you study this article, you're probably going to forget everything you just read when you're on the hill. Either print out this article or save it to your smartphone so that you can review it when you run into difficulties.