How to Snowboard, Part 1: Body Management

How to Snowboard, Part 1: Body Management

By, Grant Maly – Certified snowboarding instructor at Mont Tremblant, and contributing editor for

Good body management is key to successful and confident snowboarding.

Like a house of cards, more advanced snowboarding is built upon a strong foundation of elements, most importantly body management which, if not established and maintained correctly, will result in the collapse of our metaphorical house of cards and the snowboarder looking like an idiot! Not cool.

Such poor foundations will result in the snowboarder losing confidence and the overall ride looking awkward and forced, detracting from the overall fluidity of snowboarding, arguably one of the most important aspects of the sport that attracts people to it in the first place. No one wants to look stiff and clunky over smooth and rhythmical.

We’re all susceptible to bad habits creeping into our riding, which is fine to a point. Riding perfectly groomed trails allows for a certain amount of flexibility in snowboard technique, but when faced with more challenging terrain e.g. steeps, moguls or variable snow conditions, any weaknesses in technique will result in the snowboarder feeling out of control and once again losing that all important confidence. When such terrain is encountered, typically the first element of snowboarding to be abandoned is the one we are taught first – basic body management – and the house of cards that was constructed on good foundations quickly falls apart.

So what is good body management? Well, the focus of good body management is on the snowboarder’s overall posture and balance. These components above any other affect the snowboarder’s ability to react and adapt to the forces acting upon them. You need to be ready for whatever the mountain throws at you!

Having good posture and balance will allow a snowboarder to improve their snowboarding by combining these two elements with subtle (and in some cases, not so subtle) movements. From the board up, good body management (in a stationary position on a flat surface) should include the following: 


  • Relaxed feet with equal weight on both the toes and heals; 
  • Knees flexed, kept as far apart a physically possible, with equal weight on each knee. Try making the shape of a house with your legs, the lower leg making the walls and your thighs the roof; 
  • Hips pushed forward so that they are as near vertical over the knees as possible. Keep that ass in; 
  • Arched lower back, helped by contracting and pulling in or tensing your stomach muscles. No guarantees of a six-pack I’m afraid; 
  • Straight shoulders that are parallel to the snowboard; 
  • Keep a level head, looking straight out in front of you; and 
  • Arms relaxed to the side of the body, just clearing the top of the thighs

This stance, typically referred to as “the cowboy”, creates a stacked posture which focuses the weight of the snowboarder from the chest and shoulders, down through the hips, thighs and knees, and into the feet and the snowboard. Establishing this posture will automatically balance the snowboarder over the centre of the snowboard. However, by making small adjustments to this basic posture e.g. by moving the body along the length of the snowboard by bending one knee more than the other, the snowboarder’s centre of balance will change, and from these small changes come big differences in how the snowboard will respond.

So, from a beginner’s point of view, as well as for more experienced snowboarders who occasionally enjoy a relaxed saunter down Nansen (you can find a trail review of Nansen by clicking here), it’s all about minimising input, but maximising output! You’ll be amazed! What you’re strapped to is far more than just a bent plank of wood, but rather an engineering masterpiece that absorbs your inputs like a sponge, ready to astonish you with what it can give back in return!! 


From the team: If you’d like a snowboarding lesson from Grant Maly himself the next time you’re at Tremblant, you can find more info about signing up for lessons here… and be sure to ask for him by name! 

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