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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: First Jump




Learning how to go off a jump will add to your repertoire for snowboarding. The more you can do on a snowboard, the more fun you will have riding. Cruising down the mountain will always be exciting, but hitting a few jumps down the run adds a little adrenaline to the mix.

After you feel like you’ve mastered the 8 steps of snowboarding, you should feel very confident in your riding. You may want to start hitting jumps, doings 360’s, and grinding rails. It’s extremely hard to teach yourself how to do park terrain. Even reading up online and watching endless videos won’t prepare for what lies ahead. It’s important that you go slow and I personally recommend getting and instructor to teach you proper techniques. If you want to teach yourself, I suggest going to Northstar’s progression park and hitting there beginner jumps and rails for a whole season. After spending a whole season hitting there smaller jumps you should be ready to tackle Northstar’s stash, and intermediate park.

The first thing to start practicing is what snowboarders like to call, “popping” which is basically our version of jumping off the ground with your snowboard. Popping is basically what an ollie is in skateboarding,except you have both feet strapped to your board. You can practice popping by laying your snowboard on a flat surface, strapping both feet in, and springing up off the ground with both feet. You should be able to get a little bit of air then land back down. Once you feel comfortable doing this, you can try doing it when you’re going down the mountain. When you pop during your run, you should try slowing down on your edge, straightening your board, and then popping with both feet. Make sure you keep board straight, don’t try to turn. Then land flat on your board, and turn onto your edge. When you feel comfortable popping, try to jump over stuff. A few things you can jump over  are sticks, rocks, and piles of snow. This will help you in jumping higher by compressing your knees to your chest and allowing you to pop higher.

After you feel that you’ve mastered “popping”, you can then try your first jump. Find a small jump at the park and try going off it without popping. You should practice turning on your edge, flattening your board, and hitting the jump perfectly straight. A lot of new riders will simply default to a heel side edge as they approach a jump and there is no need for this. If you go slow, you can simply slide of the jump and land back down. Practice sliding off the jump a few times, you should get a little bit of air and then touch back down. Once you feel comfortable doing this, then you can add a pop to your jump. As you approach the tip of the jump, simply spring up with both feet and you should pop off the jump. You should feel a lot more hang time in the air when you pop this time.

The important thing to remember when jumping, is to always keep your board straight. If your board is not straight, then you will land on your edge, and hurt yourself. Practice hitting these small jumps every time you go up the mountain.

This video below,brought to you by the SnowProfessor will demonstrate how to land your first jump and give you helpful tips in practicing your popping.

Final Note: Check back here, where I’ll teach you more about learning how to snowboard!