Tag Archives: 2013

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!

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: 50-50 A Box Rail

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Before you begin hitting any park terrain…you need to read about Smart Style. One of the first features you should master in the park are fun boxes. Fun boxes are like extra large rails that make it easier for you to learn on. Start out with fun boxes and then gradually work your way to skinnier rails.

The most important thing to remember about rails or boxes, is to always keep your feet flat when your riding on the rail. If you land on the box and apply pressure to one of your edges, your board will slide out from under you. Find a long stick in the woods and practice popping onto this stick as if it were a rail or box. Set yourself up so your board rides straight over it, pop onto the stick, keep your base flat, and maintain good posture. After you feel comfortable doing this, find a basic wide box with a gradual ramp. The best way to learn how to do a 50-50 on a box is to grab a friend and have them pull you onto the box and stop. This allows you to know how the box will feel before you ride over it with momentum. Have your friend push you along the box just so you can get the feeling of moving along the box.

Once you feel comfortable moving along the box slowly with a friend. Head back up the mountain and prepare to hit the box by yourself. As your linking turns, getting closer to the box, set yourself up so hit you hit box perfectly straight. As you go off the ramp, make sure you land flat footed on the box because if you land and go up on your edge you will slide off. Allow your board to just glide over the box and then slightly pop off as you reach the end. As you start to feel comfortable hitting the box, start to pick up more speed. The box should become easier to slide  across. I personally find it best to find one box in the park and practice hitting it for the whole day. Master that one box and then it will become easier to hit harder park terrain.

The crucial part about hitting boxes is to approach the box perfectly straight, land flat footed, and keep your weight centered over the board. The stick is honestly the best way to prepare yourself for a hitting box, so please don’t skip over this part and go straight to hitting the box. Your speed, approach, and landing will always affect any box, rail, or jump you may hit. It’s absolutely crucial to have a firm foundation of the 8 steps for snowboarding, before you start hitting any park terrain.

The video below brought to you by the SnowProfessor will demonstrate how to do a 50-50 on a fun box.

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach how to board slide a fun box!

Snowboard Park: Smart Style

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After you’ve mastered hitting jumps and doing 180’s. I’m sure you’ll want to start hitting rails and bigger jumps in the park. Before you rush into the park, start hitting rails, cutting people off, and looking like a fool. It’s important to learn smart style.

Smart style starts with:

  1. Make a Plan of Action – this means that you should know how you are going to hit all the features of the park before you begin. Your speed, approach  and take off will directly affect your overall landing. 
  2. Look before you leap – this means that you should look at the jump before you hit it. Make sure you size up the jump  for speed, distance, and snow condition. Only stop where you can be seen by other riders and if you fall get out of the way in a hurry.
  3. Easy Style It – this means that you should start small and work your way up. Stick to small features and slowly develop your skills. If you try to hit a big jump and fall, you could put an end to your whole season. Wait to you feel absolutely comfortable hitting the small features before you move up to the bigger features.
  4. Respect Deserves Respect – This means that you should have courtesy to your other riders. Wait your turn and alternate when hitting any park terrain. Call your drop out to other riders and always make sure jumps are clear of other riders before you hit it. Also you should use a park feature for it’s intended purpose, so if you can’t hit the rail or the jump then simply avoid it.

It’s important to always have courtesy and common sense when riding in the park. If you act like a fool, then you will likely cause a dangerous collision. Always use smart style in the park and other riders will do the same. If you notice someone in the park not using smart style, take the time to explain the simple 4 rules to them. It will help that rider to stay safe and avoid dangerous collisions.

Check out the best way to handle a collision video below…

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach how to hit your first 50-50 box rail.

Snowboard Tricks: Front-side 180

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Doing 180’s is probably one of the best parts about snowboarding. It not only adds to your repertoire for snowboarding, but it also introduces you to a whole new field of snowboarding. After you master hitting jumps, you’ll probably want to add some 180’s, 360’s or even a grab to your jump.

Snowboarding tricks are extremely hard to learn, because you can’t just go up and practice them all day. When you fall trying to land a new trick, it can put an end to your whole day. The most dangerous part about snowboarding is trying to land big tricks. It may say seem easy to land these tricks when your watching the winter X-games on TV, but it’s a whole new ball park when you try to do it in person.

The 180 will add some style to your snowboarding and it’s extremely basic. It will also prepare you for bigger spins and learning harder tricks. The 180 is a continuation of my previous post of learning how to hit your first jump. A 180 is basically popping with your board off a jump, and doing a half rotation. The hard part about 180’s is that you’ll land switch. This means that you’ll be riding regular when you go off the jump, but land goofy. This is what makes doing tricks difficult. If you can’t ride switch, I recommend that you hold off on doing tricks for right now.

The best way to practice doing 180’s is to basically do step 6: garlands, but this time do a complete turn when you turn up the mountain. Ride down the mountain regular footed, turn up the mountain, and then do a complete turn. When you complete the turn you should be riding goofy. This will help you to know what’s is like to spin and then ride off in the opposite stance to what you’re comfortable with. After you feel comfortable doing this, ride down the mountain, and when you go to turn up mountain add a pop. This will help you to know what it feels like to pop and then ride away switch.

After you mastered the beginning steps, you can now practice doing front-side 180’s on your snowboard. Get on a flat surface of snow, strap in, and then popping  while spinning. You should be able to get a general idea of the motion you need to do when your moving with more momentum. Find a small jump and do some straight airs to get comfortable going off this particular jump. Once you feel comfortable going off the jump, you can then try doing a 180 off the jump. Start by getting low, turning your board onto it’s toe side edge, and popping with a 180. When you land keep your head downhill and focus on getting your board straight. Make sure you DO NOT land sideways on your edge or you will be seriously hurting. When you go do to any trick it’s important that you always fully commit, because if you bail out on a simple 180 you will do a 90 degree turn and end up hurting yourself.

The video below brought you by the SnowProfessor will demonstrate how to do a proper 180 and give you helpful tips so you don’t hurt yourself.

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach you how to do more snowboarding tricks!