So you’ve mastered the basics of snowboarding, you’re linking turns and feel confident on your board? Then you are ready to move it up a notch and try out some of our intermediate snowboarding tips.
These can’t take the place of a great snowboard instructor who will always be better than any written instructions – nothing beats being show in person how to move or position yourself on the board - but will give you some things to think about when you hit the slopes next.
Whether it’s help with your body position, carving or freestyle snowboarding, Chill Factore have a team of expert instructors just waiting to help you look like the rider you dream of being. Our improver snowboard lessons and rider development sessions can take you step by step through each move, break it down and build it up from the beginning so that your snowboarding is based on a decent foundation of knowledge and skill.
A good stance when boarding is the foundation that everything is built on. If you are stiff and rigid not only are you going to ache after a couple of hours of boarding but your riding is going to suck. Snowboarding should be a fluid thing that takes in the lumps and bumps of the slopes with ease; to do this your body needs to be relaxed and comfortable. Once you’ve got the stance right, everything else will come much easier. First things first, you need to find that sweet position for the width of your feet. Too narrow and you will feel unstable on your board making your body tense and everything 5 times harder than it needs to be. Too wide and you’ll find it hard to move and feel uncomfortable making riding a nightmare. For the right stance your feet should stand just wider than your hips giving you a full range of movement and the ability to really control your snowboard. When on your board you should stand with your knees slightly bent directly over your knees. Your arms should hang loosely at your sides with your hands, neck and shoulders relaxed and loose.
The vast majority of those times you catch your edges and end up with a face full of snow will be down to speed control, or lack of. Catch your edges a few times and you soon start to try and turn as quickly as you can to avoid it – maybe even throwing in a bit of a hop or a skid to hasten it along. Sound familiar? Sadly all this generally means is that you will end up skidding down the hill quickly on your toe or heel edges during the turn and increases the likelihood of you catching that edge and face planting once more.
To avoid catching your edges and controlling your speed you need to make smooth carving turns, turning up the slope at the end of each turn to reduce your speed.
Carving turns are when you dig the edges of the board into the snow when you turn rather than simply sliding on the flat underneath of the board. Carved turns are faster and stop the board slipping meaning you are less likely to catch an edge and end up face planting in the snow. Freestyle snowboarders use carving when spinning off jumps and in the half pipe as well as when riding.
For a toe side carve, bend your knees and ankles and tip your snowboard on its edge by pressing your knees forwards towards the hill. The amount of pressure you push into your toes controls how much grip the board has in the snow.
For a heel side edge you need to squat a little as though sitting in a chair, tip the board back by lifting your toes and controlling the pressure the board has on the now by pushing through your heels.
To turn when carving, on a toe edge, try twisting your front foot so that you are lifting your big toe up and tipping your foot towards the front of the board. This will push your front knee forwards, turn your hips and straighten that back leg a little. Try it on the flat first and then on a gentle blue run and you should feel the board start to turn.
For heel edge turns bend your front knee whilst lifting the heel of that leg. You should feel your rear leg straighten a little and your hips move forwards. Again, try this on the flat first and you should be able to see the board twist a little and the front lift a bit. Try it on a gentle blue whilst making a carved traverse and see if you can feel the difference.
It may be a cliché but that doesn’t stop it from being true, practice really does make perfect. You won’t improve unless you get out onto the snow and put the time in. Lucky for you Chill Factore is open 7 days a week meaning that you can practise every day if you so wish. The more you come, the sweeter your moves will be and the more impressed your mates will be.
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