My son who is now 12 is entering his first ever boarder cross competition for snowboarding...any advice or guidance I shoud be giving him?
post #1 of 23
1/4/09 at 10:51am
I have patrolled for those events....the injury rate is high.
Get all the protective armor.
If he can't jump from the front of one roller to the back of the next in practice, don't expect to make it in the competition. It may be slower to go over both bumps but the worst injuries came when riders in the early rounds fell short and cratered into the face of the second roller.
I was afraid of that. Let him go, they all love the sport.
Tell him to take it easy for the first few races and just learn. The courses are not that hard, but being overly aggressive will do you in. We saw most of the injuries occur in the qualifying rounds. I hauled out a girl with a blown ACL and a guy with a dislocated shoulder and slurred speech.
The experienced racers didn't crash, and in the end I pulled my empty toboggan right down the course. Thats how I know the actual course was not all that hard.
No advice from me on the helmet, but.......
There was a boardercross on our local hill a few years ago. After they were done, we played on the course and had a BLAST!
That was the first time I really thought I could catch air and be okay.
Please post a TR!!!!
I love doing rollers and thinking I'm getting tons of air, only to hear my 12 yr old boarder crackup each time I go over one.
p.s. what's a TR??
Body Armor and a helmet as everyone's mentioned are widely used. The armor though is not absolutely necessary. Is it smart, yes. I was wondering where your kid is racing? If it's a local USASA qualifier at a small resort, the course will prolly not be that intimidating or dangerous. I raced my first year of USASA w/o armor (all local qualifiers), but before I went to nationals, I got some gear. I have raced w/ helmet and armor ever since, no matter what level or location of race.
Usually the local races have a few banks, rollers and a jump or two. Most resorts do not have BDX specific trails/courses set so it's something that's thrown together the day/night before.
Your son can practice on features in the local mountain terrain park to 'prep' for the race. He should be really good at sucking up and pumping rollers at speed. He can also practice taking the air out of jumps. Basically pre-jumping, or sucking up kickers to float less air time. If you've got a local halfpipe, he can practice riding on the walls and using them like banked turns too.
Another area of importance is the start. Hard to find a random start gate laying around for practice, but you could use two sets of ski poles or 2x4's buried in the snow to mimic a start gate and practice some pulls. Most folks will say the race is generally won w/ the start and in some cases/courses that is true. If you can get out in front and avoid all the carnage then you have a much better chance of winning. I know I want the best lane choice in the gate and best start so I can be the first one into the first turn.
One other tip is to be comfortable and aggressive w/ riding on a flat board. While he'll need to use his edges at some point during the race, the flatter he can stay the faster he can go.
Speaking of the base, how's the wax job on his race board?
Take advantage of any practice time before the race (even the day before if available) to work out any strategy issues. This is the time to decide to air the triple, or suck up all the rollers. Don't wait until the race to figure out what you want to do. Most race series (at all levels) provide for course inspection, and then practice before the actual race begins. Get there early and use this opportunity. Pay attention to course conditions too throughout the day as with heavy use and changing weather, the snow and features in the course can slow or speed up significantly.
One last tip, go fast...take chances.
Thanks for the tremendous input and you've made me a bit more relaxed about the event. Yes its USASA and yes, at a local mountain (Bromley, VT).
For his first event, I'm just going to tell him to have a blast and go do his thing.
Sounds like a fun day. BX can be tough, and getting blown out in the first round is a bummer. My son did a USASA skiercross last year and got beat pretty bad too.
If you didn't already buy him armor, I would not recommend either of the ones you put up above. Get him a full jacket like http://www.backcountry.com/store/POC...so-Jacket.html
It doesn't have to be POC, most any brand that fits him and is comfortable will do just fine for him. I have a Dainese one that I like, but those are spendy like the POC stuff. I think 661 and Skeletools and some other companies sell similar stuff for less money. A full face helmet would be a good idea too, if he likes his looks.
Learning to double jumps is important, as well as riding a flat board fast. He may find it easier if he mounts his board with a much more forward stance than he's probably got now. I'm not a good example because I ride with hard boots and very steep angles, but I'd suggest doing something like +10-15 rear and +14-20 front. Being oriented more toward the tip of the board will help him set up for turns and carve better. If he rides switch at all in a BX, its only because he got spun and he'll just turn himself around quickly so the forward stance won't matter there. It will also decrease his heelside blind spot, which could be critical in avoiding a collision.
The most important part of a BX is the first 5-10 seconds. Have him practice pulling out of the start and accelerating as fast as possible toward the first turn/feature. If he can win the hole-shot, he'll be in great position to do well. Also teach him that he is faster on the snow than in the air. He needs to clear the jumps so he lands on the down-slope, but on big rollers, he wants to minimize his air time. Absorb the bumps as best you can and accelerate down the back side. Good wax and if its sticky/wet, good structure to the base can really help too. Edges matter when you are trying to carve a turn in the later rounds. Teach him to keep his eyes up and ahead. He should be focused on the next two turns/features, not the one he's on (its too late to do anything about that one). Looking ahead will slow down the feel of the course and give him time to set up. Also, remember to look where you want to go, not at the thing/person/rut/gate you want to avoid. If he wants to carve a turn really close to a gate, look at the spot on the snow right next to it, not at the gate - stare at the gate and you'll hit it and maybe dq.
If your terrain park has some big jumps, he can use the landing ramps as good practice areas. Get up some speed, and rather than hitting the big lip of the jump, bypass the lip and just air as you roll over onto the landing area. Try to pre-jump the drop off so you fly close to the snow and land as early as possible. Absorb the landing with your knees and accelerate - speed checking (skidding sideways momentarily to scrub speed) is for the entrance to the jump if necessary - not for the landing where you are way more likely to catch and edge and get slammed. On the day of the comp, be sure to get there early so you can try to run the course at full speed a few times in addition to previewing it. Practice the doubles (two rollers following one another in quick succession) and determine if he can carry enough speed to carry the gap. If not, work on pre-jumping the rollers and just pumping through them. The worst feeling is coming up short on a double and casing the lip or worse, the front side of the second bump.
Remember that it is HIS race. He only needs to worry about the other kids when he is trying to set up to pass them. If they are behind him, they don't matter - try to tune them out. If they try to push him in a turn, he should do his best to hold his ground, but not push back (it is against the rules, plus it will take his balance away if the other kid goes flying).