How To: Turn Heelside and Toeside on a Snowboard

By Published On: May 18th, 201111 Comments

In snowboarding you turn one of two ways – either heelside or toeside. We’ve heard the difference between the two explained like this: think of your heelside as being similar to the heel of your palm – powerful, but not necessarily the most nimble. The toeside turn is more dexterous, like your fingers, and can make more “precise” turns than heelside.

You likely already know this, but executing – carving – both turns correctly takes some practice and attention to form and body positioning.

With a toeside turn, you want to initiate the turn by shifting weight onto your front foot, onto the toes and ball of your foot.

As you reach the apex of the turn, your weight should be centered over both feet, knees and waist bent, creating an athletic powerful stance. At this time the board is up on edge, engaged in a carve.

As you ready to transition to a heelside turn, your weight shifts towards the back foot and over the tail of the board.

Maintaining a similar, athletic stance, keep your head and shoulders pointed down the fall line (the natural downward slope of the run you are on), and use your ankles to transition to your heel edge. You can stand a little taller during the transition before engaging the heel edge.

Keep your weight a little forward during the initiation and then balance your weight between your front and back feet as you reach the apex of the turn.

Spread your knees outward a bit to create a powerful stance, complete the turn, shift your weight slightly onto your back foot and the tail, and then transition back to your toeside edge.

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  1. april October 29, 2011 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I LOVED snowboarding but I was just started and was on green (no training just on the lift, out on the slope)…I sucked, I fell off the lift every time and fell every ten seconds after cause I was scared of the speed…well at mount charleston I went for like thirty seconds down the slope and tried heelside(at this point I was very good at toeside but was facing uphill all the timeso I had to learn) I was doing it got sacred and purposefully fell cause I was to scared of my lack of control, landed, my torso went one way my legs went another and my knee popped I went down the hill sledding on snowboard and later found out a half ass diagnosis that I tore my meniscus(can’t spell it) and fractured my demoralization head and it was so painful that its hard for me to get on the board again…how do I overcome that? Sorry to go on about this but I wanna go back so bad bit I’m so scared any advice would help

  2. april October 29, 2011 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Sorry femor not demoralized…stupid auto correct

  3. big Z January 8, 2013 at 4:44 am - Reply

    i recommend for all beginners to use only cabine lifts if possible, and green slopes are not suitable for learning because small angle makes unstable most turnings.
    I am totally self educated border, and i went trough all of these pullbacks with many falling accompanied, i already stuck on the sitting lift and it took me back to the valley, and also ruined my clothing with standalone lifts. u don’t need this go for the cabine.
    Ok, turning is like F1 cars angling without speed they go off the track, while on bigger speed the wings push the to the road. as a beginner you have to get over your fear and go faster.
    For the first time you need to use your two arms and spin like a helicopter. regular standing heel-side, than go for a hard left turn of the piste, stop breaking and let it slide straight, in this moment rotate your body and arms like the copter anticlockwise. you are cornering now on your toe side, push the left leg to brake.

  4. Matias Diaz Duran February 9, 2013 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    The fastes way I could ever learned! Thank you The-house

  5. Bjoern Aeschlimann July 12, 2013 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Beginners please take a lesson or two. I was a self taught snowboarder myself for the first 7-8 winters. Then I went to NZ to become an Instructor and I needed so much time to get over all my bad habits that I wish I would have spent the money earlier to learn the right way.

    Back foot kicking is as bad as swinging your arms around.

  6. Fitz January 24, 2014 at 4:23 pm - Reply

    I have been long boarding for about 3 years now. My friends took me up onto with mountiN with my snow board and told me to go down, I read this site and many others in finding the edge and transitioning. My first run was on a green and my second on blue and it was only my first time. Thanks to this website and some others

  7. Beginner snowboarder February 23, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Seem like pretty good tips to me! I don’t board often so I bought a PHNX Board, which is a bit easier to use because only your back foot is locked in. Not great on resorts, but perfect for the backyard (or woods).

  8. dhbgsrtl April 7, 2014 at 10:45 am - Reply


  9. Mike December 23, 2014 at 9:43 am - Reply

    If you an wakeboard GREAT, how hard is the transition to snowboarding?

    • gufrocks January 22, 2015 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      The body mechanics are very similar, but most wakeboarders and skateboarders are ahead of the learning curve when it comes to snowboarding!!!

  10. Mike December 23, 2014 at 9:44 am - Reply

    “Can” not “an”. Sorry

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