When most beginners start snowboarding, they immediately attempt to do a switch 180. Why? Because it looks rad, of course! And even though it might look easy on video, it’s actually much harder than it looks when you’re starting out. In this article, we will get into the steps of how to do a 180s on a snowboard.
Step 1 – Position Your Body Correctly.
To begin with, let’s discuss the three components of a 180 turn. They are as follows:
- Controlling and stopping your snowboard.
- Turning your snowboard 90 degrees.
- Getting your snowboard to another 90-degree turn to complete the 180.
Since you’re probably reading this article because you’re new to snowboarding and want to learn how to do a 180, it’s likely that you haven’t mastered these steps yet! That is okay – all it means is that we need to take things slowly and go step by step.
So first, we need to make sure that you know how to stop on your board and turn it 90 degrees in one direction or the other. If you don’t know how to do either of those things yet, we definitely recommend going back to basics first and practicing them before coming back here later!
If you already feel like you have those two steps down pat, then let’s move on and look at what makes up your body position when turning 180 degrees on a snowboard:
Step 2 – Bend Your Knees And Keep Them Spread Apart.
To make a 180 on a snowboard, it is important to bend your knees and keep them spread apart. This will help you to keep your balance throughout the turn. It is also important to keep your weight balanced between your two feet. You want to make sure that neither foot has more weight on it throughout the maneuver; otherwise, you will fall while turning. Keep your knees bent in a comfortable position with your knees spread as far apart as possible.
Step 3 – Focus On Keeping Your Shoulders Aligned With The Angles Of Your Feet.
It’s important to keep your shoulders aligned with the angles of your feet. This will help you maintain balance and control over the board. Whenever you turn, your shoulders should be square to the slope.
To do this, make sure that you keep your weight on the center of your snowboard and bend your knees slightly to absorb any bumps in the snow. If you align your shoulders correctly, it will also allow you to steer with more control, as well as initiating turns faster and more efficiently.
Step 4 – Lean Forward And Shift The Weight To Your Strong Foot.
Let’s talk about weight distribution, one of the most important elements of turning.
In order to do a 180, you need to make sure that your weight is over your front foot BEFORE you start to turn. You should feel comfortable leaning forward and shifting your weight onto the front foot. It’s a bit like bending over so far that you are going to fall onto the snow in the direction that your board is pointing.
This might seem counter-intuitive because it feels safer on flat ground to have your weight centered over both feet or at least behind them as much as possible (so you’re more stable!). But if you’re trying to turn, having all of your weight behind your rear foot will actually inhibit any kind of rotation around it—and make you more likely to catch an edge and wipe out.
Step 5 – Look In The Direction You Want To Go.
The most important thing to do is look in the direction you want to go. This may sound obvious, but it’s something that even more experienced riders forget about. Think about when you drive a car down the highway— if you suddenly looked at the shoulder of the road, your body would automatically steer toward it and you’d be in danger of driving off into a ditch! The same principle applies on a snowboard: if your head turns to look at the ground, your body will follow your eyes.
So how do we get our bodies moving in the right direction? It all starts with looking up and ahead, only for a split second. You don’t want to stare too long or too hard; keep your motion smooth and controlled. Just focus on where you want to end up instead of where you are now (or where you were two seconds ago). The rest will take care of itself.
Step 6 – Build Speed, If Possible.
- Build speed using a series of short turns. This can be done on a beginner’s slope, or you can get to the top of the run and go down the slopes reserved for higher-level boarders. The trick here is to use your whole body to create momentum. Don’t rely on your arms—you want to use as much of your lower body as you can, especially around your legs and ankles.
- Use a board that suits your level of expertise. If you’re not used to going at high speeds, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to perform this trick properly with a smaller snowboard or with “twin tips,” which are usually recommended for freestyle boarding only. For beginners, a larger board with more surface area will make achieving this trick easier than it would be otherwise.
- Be sure that you’re comfortable going fast before attempting this move. Attempting it too soon could lead not only to frustration but also a serious injury in the event of a fall while traveling at high speeds!
Step 7 – Shift Back Toward The Tail Of Your Board As You Approach The 180 Point.
When you see the 180 point approaching, shift your weight back to your strong foot. This will allow you to turn toward the 180 point without losing too much speed. Keep your knees bent and straighten out your back, so you don’t lose balance. You can also move your ankles slightly and lift up on the heel of your front foot to make it easier to turn toward the 180 point. Shift both feet forward again as soon as you pass the 180 point so that they are both in a normal riding position facing downhill and ride along.
Our Final Thoughts
Learning how to do a 180 is an important skill for snowboarding that will help you navigate the slopes better. The 180 is easier than doing a 360, so it’s recommended to learn how to do the 180 before working on the 360.
The 180 is less advanced than a 360, so if you’re just starting out with snowboarding and want to work on something simpler first, go for this maneuver. Once you feel comfortable with your 180s, you’ll be ready to work on learning how to do the more advanced 360.