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!
After you master J-turns, it’s time to go further up the hill and practice harder turns. For most beginners, learning to ride the chairlift is probably the scariest part. It’s actually quite easy after you master skating, stepping, straight gliding, and J-turns. You’ll be using all of these previous techniques to get on and off the chairlift.
After you strap on your binding, skate and step through the line towards the chairlift. There will probably be an employee there who will scan your lift ticket. After they scan you in, ride up a little bit further and wait till it’s your turn to get on the chairlift. Find a chairlift for 4 people and try to ride it with a single friend. Practice getting on the chairlift with other people, because most of the time you won’t be riding up the mountain by yourself. Having another person will also help you practice the hardest part of riding the chairlift, getting off.
Siting down and riding the chairlift is easy. All you have to do is stand up from your computer turn your body sideways, plant your back foot, and sit down in a chair. Then you take a nice scenic ride up to mid mountain, but before you can practice your new turns. You have to get off the chairlift. The reason getting off is the hardest part is because you usually have 4 people crammed on a single chairlift. Then you have people with skis and people with snowboards getting tangled up with one another. Then you have to slide down an icy hill with only one foot strapped in. All while watching out for people who may be going left, when your going right. Don’t forget to plant your foot on your grip, so you don’t slip and do the splits!
The easiest way to get off the chairlift is to go slow and let everybody get off in front of you. Then place your foot on your grip, straight glide a short distance, make a J-turn and then your at the top of mid mountain. Sit down, strap in your other foot, and get ready to enjoy the ride!
The Snowprofessor will give you a great demonstration on riding the chairlift and give you a perfect example of how to get off the chairlift and what to do if you fall down.
Final Note: Check back here where I’ll teach starting, stopping, and getting up!