Mastering the Art of Gliding and Braking on a Snowboard


Learning to glide and brake on a snowboard is an essential skill for beginners. It lays the foundation for more advanced techniques and ensures your safety on the slopes. In this article, we will discuss the first steps you need to take to learn how to glide and brake effectively on a snowboard.

Before you hit the slopes, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basic equipment you’ll need. A snowboard, boots, and bindings are the three main components. The snowboard should be the right size for your height and weight, and the boots should fit snugly but not be too tight. The bindings should be adjusted to ensure a secure and comfortable fit.

Once you have your equipment ready, it’s time to start learning how to glide. The first step is to find a flat, open area where you can practice without any obstacles. This could be a designated beginner’s slope or a flat section of the mountain. Before you strap into your snowboard, take a moment to visualize the movements you’ll be making.

To begin, position yourself with your snowboard perpendicular to the slope. Your front foot should be strapped in, while your back foot remains unstrapped. This will allow you to push yourself along with your back foot while maintaining balance with your front foot. Start by pushing off with your back foot and gliding forward. Keep your weight centered over the board and your knees slightly bent to maintain stability.

As you gain momentum, it’s important to practice shifting your weight from your front foot to your back foot and vice versa. This will help you maintain control and steer the snowboard. To turn, shift your weight onto your front foot and gently lean in the direction you want to go. As you become more comfortable, you can experiment with different turning techniques, such as carving or skidding.

Braking is an essential skill that every snowboarder needs to master. There are several ways to brake on a snowboard, but the most basic technique is to use your edges. To brake, shift your weight onto your back foot and apply pressure to the heel edge of your snowboard. This will cause the edge to dig into the snow, slowing you down and eventually bringing you to a stop.

Once you have mastered the basics of gliding and braking, you can start practicing on steeper slopes and more challenging terrain. Remember to always ride within your abilities and progress at your own pace. With time and practice, you’ll develop the skills and confidence to tackle more advanced snowboarding techniques.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Before you can start learning to glide and brake, it’s important to have the right equipment. Here are a few key things to consider:


Make sure you have the right size and type of snowboard for your skill level. Beginners typically start with softer, shorter boards that are more forgiving and easier to control. As you progress and gain more experience, you may want to consider upgrading to a stiffer board that offers more stability and responsiveness. Additionally, the shape of the snowboard can also affect your riding experience. There are different types of snowboards, such as camber, rocker, and hybrid, each with its own characteristics and advantages. Researching and understanding the different types can help you make an informed decision when choosing a snowboard.


Your bindings should be adjusted properly to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. They should be tight enough to hold your boots in place but not so tight that they restrict your movement. The position and angle of the bindings can also affect your riding style and performance. Experimenting with different binding positions can help you find the setup that works best for you. Additionally, consider the type of bindings you prefer, such as traditional strap bindings or newer technology like step-on bindings. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.


Invest in a good pair of snowboard boots that provide proper support and fit well. They should be snug but not too tight, allowing for some movement and flexibility. The boots should have a comfortable liner that molds to your feet over time, providing a customized fit. It’s also important to consider the flex of the boots. Softer boots are more forgiving and easier to maneuver, making them ideal for beginners. On the other hand, stiffer boots offer more support and control, which can benefit more advanced riders. Trying on different brands and models of boots and consulting with knowledgeable staff at a reputable snowboard shop can help you find the perfect pair of boots for your riding style and comfort.

Getting Started: Gliding

Once you have the right equipment, it’s time to start learning how to glide on a snowboard. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Find a Gentle Slope

Look for a gentle slope or a designated beginner area at your local ski resort. This will provide a safe and controlled environment for practicing your gliding skills.

2. Stance and Balance

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your weight centered over the board and distribute it evenly between your front and back foot. This stance will give you stability and control as you start gliding.

3. Start Gliding

Push yourself forward with your back foot, using it to propel yourself along the slope. Keep your body relaxed and let the board glide naturally. Practice maintaining your balance as you glide. As you gain confidence, you can start experimenting with different speeds and pressures on the board to control your gliding.

4. Turning

To turn, shift your weight and apply pressure to your toes or heels. This will initiate a turn in the corresponding direction. Start with gentle turns and gradually increase the angle as you become more comfortable. Remember to keep your body aligned with the direction of the turn and use your arms for balance. Practice turning in both directions to develop your coordination and control on the snowboard.

5. Falling and Getting Up

When learning to glide, it’s important to accept that falling is part of the process. If you find yourself losing balance or about to fall, try to relax and roll with the fall to minimize the impact. Once you’ve fallen, take a moment to assess your surroundings and make sure you’re not in the way of other riders. To get back up, position yourself on your knees, then lift your upper body and swing your legs around until you’re in a kneeling position. From there, use your hands and front foot to push yourself up into a standing position.

Remember, learning to glide on a snowboard takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and enjoy the journey. With perseverance and determination, you’ll soon be gliding down the slopes with confidence and style.

4. Carving Brakes

Carving brakes are an advanced technique that allows you to control your speed while maintaining control and stability. This technique involves using the edges of your snowboard to create a controlled turn while slowing down.

To perform carving brakes, start by shifting your weight onto your front foot and initiating a turn by applying pressure to the edge of your snowboard. As you carve, gradually increase the pressure on the edge to create more friction and slow down.

It is important to maintain a balanced and centered position while performing carving brakes. Keep your knees bent and your body relaxed to absorb any bumps or changes in terrain. This will help you maintain control and prevent any sudden stops or falls.

5. Skidding Brakes

Skidding brakes are another technique that can be used to slow down and control your speed. This technique involves intentionally skidding or sliding your snowboard sideways to create friction and decrease your speed.

To perform skidding brakes, shift your weight onto your back foot and slightly twist your snowboard so that the edges are perpendicular to the direction of travel. Apply pressure to the edges while keeping your body relaxed and allow the snowboard to skid or slide sideways.

Skidding brakes can be useful in situations where you need to quickly reduce your speed or navigate tight turns. However, it is important to note that excessive skidding can lead to loss of control and increased risk of falls. Practice this technique in a controlled environment and gradually increase your speed and intensity as you become more comfortable.

6. Emergency Stops

In some situations, you may need to perform an emergency stop to avoid collisions or accidents. Emergency stops are abrupt and powerful stops that require quick reflexes and strong technique.

To perform an emergency stop, shift your weight onto your back foot and dig both your heels and toes into the snow simultaneously. This will create maximum friction and bring you to a sudden stop. It is important to keep your body low and centered to maintain balance and control during the stop.

Emergency stops should only be used in emergency situations and when all other braking techniques have failed. It is crucial to practice this technique in a controlled environment to develop the necessary strength and skill to perform it effectively.