Introductory Snowboarding and Skiing Tips from the Canada Snowboard/Ski Team

Once you’ve got the basics of skiing or snowboarding down, getting better is a matter of practice.  What most beginners overlook though is looking to someone with experience for a little advice. They don’t just offer practical knowledge, they can explain the nuances of things that would have never crossed your mind to make you a better skier or snowboarder on the slopes.

That’s why we reached out to three superstar athletes from the Canada Snowboard and Ski Team and ask them for some tips for you on how you can get better at these sports. What a better way to learn than to learn from the pros?

Marianne Leeson

Marianne Leeson from Burlington, Ontario is one of Canada’s shining stars when it comes to snowboarding.  She won the championship for parallel giant slalom at the 2007 Canada games. She placed fifth during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

“I think not giving up and staying patient and positive is key for beginners. It isn’t always easy to pick it up right away (takes a couple tries) but once you get the hang of it, it is really easy and super fun. Keep challenging yourself.

Technical advice – stay centered on your board and always look where you want to go. Don’t look down at your feet. Don’t lead with your upper body. Your lower body should lead and allow the upper body to follow.”

You can follow Marianne Leeson on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Darren Gardner

Darren Gardner is another born and bred native snowboarder from Burlington.  With 14 Nor Am Tour podium performances under his belt he’s placed third during the 2010 National Championships and fourth during the 2011 FIS World Junior Championships.

“To that I would say practice. If you want to get better at something, you have to work on it. There are no short cuts when it comes to sports.

If you’re looking for ways to improve quicker, I would recommend watching some snowboard videos or contests that interest you and dissect the movements and why they do it.

I think the best technical advice I can give is to use your body as an asset. People often make learning how to snowboard much harder than it has to be. Most people have trouble turning when they start out, so if you can do jump turns at the start to get comfortable with both of your edges, which will make the transition to real turns easier!”

You can follow Darren Gardner on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Marie-Michele Gagnon

Marie-Michele Gagnon is a Quebec native from Lac-Etchemin who’s made her mark on the world of ski racing.  She’s represented Canada at 3 World Championships and 2 Winter Olympics.  Marie-Michele won the combined event in 2014 during the World Cup in Austria.

“A solid pole plant always helps. Also, it is really important to use your knees and ankles to find some clean skiing.”

You can follow Marie – Michele Gagnon on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Listening to the advice from champions and star athletes is the first step to improving your own abilities.  Like them though, the only real way to make progress is to put it into practice.  There’s no shame in starting off small and being conservative but the key is to not bite off more than you can chew.

Finding a location with various options is the key. Ski and snowboarding hills like those at Mount. St. Louis offer enough for you to gradually progress from beginner slopes to some of the more advanced ones.  Even champions start off small. With enough practice and an open mind you can absorb the techniques Canada’s best winter athletes use and become a legend in your own right.


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