Beginner's guide: How one baby-boom skier became a snowboarding convert

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With snowboarding rivaling downhill skiing in popularity,virtually all Western ski resorts now offer snowboard classes. (Asmall handful don't, so it's wise to call the resort before youhead up to the mountains.) Experts offer the following tips toaspiring snowboarders.

Once is not enough. Most beginning snowboarders find thelearning curve faster than for downhill skiing, but don't plan onlearning everything in one day. Two to three days of lessons with acertified instructor should get you over the beginner's hump andout onto the slopes with confidence.

Easy does it. "Hard snow means hard falls," advises TaniaPilkinton of Kirkwood Resort. "Try to learn when it's soft ―after new snow or in the afternoon ― and your body will bemuch happier."

Personal bests. Get a group lesson the first day ― noneed to pay the higher cost for a private lesson to learn how tobuckle your binding. That said, a private lesson once you'vemastered the basics can fine-tune newly acquired skills.

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