All posts by nickevanson

I'm currently a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno and plan to graduate in the spring of 2013 with a Business Management degree.

Snowboarding: Slush

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It’s important to remember that you won’t be riding with perfect snow conditions every time you head up to the mountain. There will be times of fresh powder, hard ice, and slush. You need to prepare yourself for riding in any kind of weather, because each snow condition feels different and requires different techniques.

When you happen to hit a slushy part of the run, it’s easy to catch an edge. You’ll be carving down the mountain like normal, and then suddenly your board will slide out in a weird direction. If this has happened to you before, then you probably hit some slush. This happens because the soft snow makes your edge dig in deeper, so when you sink deeper into the snow your snow boot has  a higher chance of coming in contact with the snow. In order to prevent this, you want to keep your eyes peeled for parts of the run that might be slushy. You can spot slushy spots by looking for loose snow that has a clear smokey look. If you happen to go across a slushy spot, you want to keep your edge angle low and dig in less. I recommend trying to straight glide across it and look for the nearest groomed terrain.

On warm days the whole mountain can be filled with soft, slushy snow. If this happens you can use skidded turns to ride your way down the mountain. I’ve seen experienced riders wipe out at the end of runs because they weren’t aware of the slush in front of them. Use this as a reminder to take it slow at the bottom of  runs near the lift entrance, because this is wear it tends to get slushy. At the bottom of runs, riders tend to put on the brakes to enter the slow zone for the lift, so the snow loosens up rather quickly and turns to slush.

The snow tends to soften up and turn to slush during the afternoon as well, because this is when the sun is at full strength. The hot sun will loosen up the snow and it will turn to slush. The snow may be nice and compact during the morning, but during the afternoon it may get soft and slushy. With the right techniques and awareness you’ll stay on your feet and won’t look silly falling from the slush in front of everybody at the lift.

Final Note: Check back here for more snowboarding!

Snowboarding: Riding Steeps

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Riding steep terrain can look scary to beginners, but once you get the right technique’s down it all becomes a breeze. The trick to riding steeps is building up your confidence. Riders who are new to riding steep terrain tend to sit back and do side slips on their heel edge till they reach easier terrain. To effectively ride steep terrain riders need to be using agile pivot turns with an athletic stance. These pivot turns will allow you to control your speed and make you look stylish.

The hard part about learning to ride steep terrain is getting your posture right and controlling your speed. You need to use the same exact posture you use on easier terrain, but new riders tend to send back on their boards. Doing this causes your board to fight with the mountain. In stead of side slipping your way down the steep terrain, you should be using quick pivot turns to gradually make your way down the mountain. When using pivot turns on steep terrain, you should be light as you initiate the turn and heavy when you finish it. Imagine lifting your back leg up and pushing it out, and then digging it back in.  When you first start hitting steeper terrain, you’ll feel yourself picking up speed a lot faster. The best way to make it down steep terrain without picking up rapid speed is to make agile pivot turns.

If you feel scared to start doing pivot turns right away on steeps, then try doing skidded turns with a slight side slip in  between. When you feel more comfortable making skidded turns down the mountain, then start to gradually reduce the side slip in between turns. These skidded turns should adequately prepare you for making pivot turns down the steep terrain.

Remember to keep an athletic body stance, control your momentum, and enjoy getting down the mountain.

Final Note: Check back here for more snowboarding!

Snowboarding Moguls

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One of the few things I hate about snowboarding is riding moguls, but moguls are just one of those things every snowboarder has to learn.  I try to avoid moguls at all cost, because I injured my knee when I accidentally landed myself in some mogul terrain. Navigating moguls properly takes fast feet, soft knees, and a new turn. I was unaware of all three of these things when I landed myself in some treacherousness moguls at a high rate of speed.

The hardest part about moguls is being able to transition your turns quickly enough. If you can’t do heel to toe side turns with confidence and skill, then you shouldn’t be riding moguls yet. You really need to a solid foundation on making quick pivot turns before attempting moguls. Pivot turns are basically quick turns with your back leg and they simulate the same motion as a windshield wiper.  You can practice pivot turns in your kitchen or anywhere with a slick floor. Place a towel on the ground and place your back foot on the towel. Keep your front foot stationary and then swing your back foot around. Shift your weight forward at the start of the turn and then back at the end. Practice swinging your back foot around several times with your back foot on the towel and really try to get the feeling of shifting your weight with your back foot. It takes confidence to do pivot turns, so the practice will help you build up the confidence to try this up on the mountain.

Start by practicing pivot turns on a slight incline with very little speed. When i was learning pivot turns, I constantly kept thinking that I was going to catch my edge. The towel trick really helped me to build up my confidence. I really began to understand the motions of pivot turns and how to shift the weight in my back leg. After you master pivot turns, you can then test your new turn on moguls. When you begin moguls you need to remember to always get your knees soft and bouncy. You need to be able to absorb the the bumps and use your pivot turns to make it through the confined terrain. I recommend finding an easy line through the moguls and try keeping that line by using your new turns. The best way to keep the line is to spot at least one or two turns ahead. It takes a lot of practice to effectively hit moguls, but if you master moguls then other riders will know that your highly advanced. I hardly ever see snowboarders hit moguls, because moguls are really made for skiers. I’m actually envious of the snowboarders who can navigate moguls, because of the amount time and practice it takes to master  riding moguls.

The video below brought to you by the SnowProfessor will demonstrate how to hit moguls effectively and give you great tips on using pivot turns!

Final Note: Check back here, for more snowboarding!

How to Snowboard Fresh Powder: Skidded Turns

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My favorite part about snowboarding will always be riding fresh powder. The perfect amount of powder is around 7″ to 20″, because if you get anymore it becomes harder to get out of the powder when you fall down or hit a flat surface. Any less and it’s basically like hitting a groomed run.

Riding powder may seem simple after learning the 8 step of snowboarding, but the techniques you use are completely different. They actually make snowboards specifically designed for riding powder. It really is that amazing, imagine yourself riding on fluffy clouds and that’s the feeling you get riding powder. This doesn’t mean you need go out and buy another snowboard for hitting powder. You can hit powder with just about any snowboard, but you will have to lean back to prevent your front tip from sinking into the fresh snow.

When hitting groomed runs you typically keep you weight equally distributed between both feet. When you start hitting powder, you will distribute around 70% of your weight to your back foot. You can practice this feeling by strapping in at the bottom of the hill and then applying all your weight to your back leg. You will also be using a new type of turn when riding powder, the type of snowboard turn you will use to ride powder are skidded turns.

Skidded turns are used to slow your momentum. You basically make a toe turn and turn your board sideways, so that your board skids down the slope. Then you quickly slide your board into  a heel turn and turn your board sideways. Make these toe turns and heel turns to slow your momentum slightly, you should be able to do these skidded rather quickly. As you practice these, reduce the amount of time between board slides. When your hitting powder with skidded turns, keep your legs bouncy. Don’t try to carve into the snow like groomed runs, instead gently shift your feet and tip your board slightly on it’s edge. You want to glide more on powder and do less carving. It’s basically like going down a groomed run in slow motion, make all the motions subtle.

Never slow down in powder. You always want to keep your momentum up. Remember that when you fall in powder you simply fall on fluffy snow, not some hard compact ice. It’s okay to go faster on powder because you won’t hurt as bad when you fall. Some people even find it fun to pick up speed and throw themselves into the powder. Snowboarding in deep powder will greatly reduce your speed, so when you go down the steep part of the mountain you want to pick up momentum enough momemtum to get you across flat surfaces. If you don’t make across the flat surface. A good technique is to unstrap your boots from your board and lay your body flat on the snowboard. Then pretend like your surfing along the top of the powder. Push yourself across the flat surface. GO SLOW, if you pick up speed doing this technique you could send your board flying down the mountain.  As you approach a flat surface, lean back, and let your board simply straight glide across the flat surface. Remember to keep you knees light and take wider skidded turns on steep slopes filled with powder to slow your momentum. Once you get the hang of riding powder, you’ll want to make sure you get up early when a snow storm hits the mountain, so you can make first tracks in the snow.

The video below brought to you by the SnowProfessor will show you how to hit fresh powder with skidded turns!

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach you more about snowboarding!

5 Snowboarders Killed in Avalanche

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I will dedicate this post to the 5 snowboarders who died yesterday in an avalanche at Loveland Pass in Colorado. A group of 6 snowboarders ventured into an out-of-bounds zone right above Loveland Pass. Loveland Pass is the highest mountain pass in the world that stays open throughout the winter months. Loveland ski resort reported around 41 inches in the area, so conditions were almost perfect for avalanches.

The snowboarders knew of the dangers riding in an out-of-bounds area, but probably felt like the fresh powder at the pass was too perfect to pass up. The snowboarders accidentally triggered a massive avalanche that was 200 yards wide by 400 yards long. Only one of the snowboarders was able to escape the massive avalanche by riding off to the side and out of danger. The other five snowboarders weren’t so lucky and ended up trapped underneath the snow. The one snowboarder who got away was able to alert authority’s on the whereabouts of the other snowboarders. Searchers had to use beacons to locate the five remaining snowboarders, but they had already succumbed to asphyxiation being buried underneath the snow.

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This should serve as a reminder that even the most skilled riders can’t escape the powers of mother nature. Riders who seek the thrill of snowboarding should always play it safe and stay in-bounds. The ski resorts label certain places on the mountain out-of-bounds for a reason. Even with the right skills, gear, and experience you can still underestimate the powers of  mother nature.

As a fellow snowboarder, I will have the families of these fallen snowboarders in my thoughts and prayers.

Final Note: Check back here for more snowboarding!

Snowboard Park: Board Slide

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After you master doing 50-50’s on a box, you can then begin doing board slides. Board slides are the best, because their super easy and you get bonus points for style. If your looking to impress a friend, I recommend that you learn to board slide a box.

It’s a simple trick, all you do is pop off the jump, do a sideways turns, land on the box, and then simply slide off. Make sure you dig your edge in a little, and that’s basically all there is to it. You can even practice this in your backyard. Lay your snowboard on the grass and practice popping up with your feet strapped in. Find something like a broom stick with a thin handle and practice popping onto it with a sideways turn. Practice the motions, then go up on the mountain and give it a shot. You may fall a couple times, but eventually you will land it. It’s a great feeling when you finally land a perfect board slide for your first time. BackyardJuly2820120731-064641cfb_5741

I would recommend that you start practicing hitting the box as straight as possible. When you move on to rails, it becomes crucial to have your approach with the rail spot on. There’s little room for error when you start hitting thinner rails. Make sure you can pop straight on the box every time before you move onto harder rails.

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach you more about hitting park terrain!