If you’re thinking about hitting the slopes for the first time, but are nervous about falling too much or embarrassing yourself in front of your family or friends, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Check out these snowboarding tips for beginners that will have you looking and feeling like a pro in no time:

Your Eyes are Your Guide

Focus on looking where you want to go while heading down the slope. Your eyes are the leader for the rest of your body, so wherever you’re looking is the direction you’ll end up heading. When you focus on looking forward, this will naturally pull open your shoulders while on the board, and is vital to help distribute your weight correctly and help with your balance.

Seek the Right Conditions

If possible, it’s best to hit the slopes when they aren’t covered by hard-packed, icy trails. This kind of terrain is a lot less forgiving for any tumbles you might take, and while it certainly toughens you up, it’s not advisable for the total novice to learn on. Lots of times (depending on the season), the trails will freeze overnight and into the early morning, but will melt a bit and soften up for an afternoon run. Make sure to check the conditions and see if there’s better time to head out.

Protective Gear

Protective gear is more than about just preventing injury; it’s also going to make you a better snowboarder in a shorter period of time. The first day on the slopes is all about making mistakes and finding ways to correct them. You’re going to fall your fair share, that’s unavoidable. On your hands, on your rear, sometimes even onto your chest. Protective gear will prevent injuries, but it will also make falling a much less painful experience, which in turn will make you less afraid to fall, and less afraid to take another run, which makes you a better snowboarder.

Exaggerate Your Turns

Once you have the basics down, a learning curve that many beginners struggle with is how to turn. If you make a timid lean, your body and board will be thrown off-balance and you’ll inevitably fall. The way to correct this is to make a conscious effort to push hard with either your heels or your toes, depending on the direction you want to turn. Swing your arms with this turning motion to make sure your body and board rotate, and it’ll help you get the hang of it until it feels more natural to turn.