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locked on a turn

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Out on the snowboard today, enjoying some first tastes of powder on a snowboard (normally when there's fresh snow, I'm on skis).  Actually have felt like my skills on a snowboard are getting a bit better after a few seasons now.  Even managed to make my first run down a black diamond today, so feels like I'm making progress.

A problem I'm having now that I'm trying some steeper slopes and handling some more speed is getting locked into a turn.  By that I mean, for example, when making a heel-side turn, the board seems to lock into a specific turn shape and I am having a hard varying the shape of the turn or getting off my heels and getting the turn going back the other way.  This sometimes on a steeper slope gets me going too fast for my comfort zone and I'm left to simply ride the curve, assuming I have room, until the speed drops and I can get back over to the other side.  This does seem to happen much more on heel turns than toe-side turns.  Does this mean that I'm on my back foot too much?  What leads to getting locked when snowboarding?
post #2 of 3
Usually, I'd be happy for students that can get locked into a carve. It's pretty hard to ride a whole turn out like this if you're overweighting the back foot. My guess is that you're not using your ankles to flatten out the board as the heel side turn should be finishing and not starting the new toe side turn using board twist (i.e. going toe side on your front foot first instead of changing from toe to hell simultaneously with both feet). But before you can get that stuff to happen, you're probably not rounding out the top part of the heel side turn (getting on your downhill edge above the fall line). Two things that might help are increasing the forward lean on your highbacks and finishing your toe side turns more up the hill than you currently are.

Another issue that often happens on steeper terrain is that we tend to stiffen up. When you lose the vertical range of motion via knee bend and unbend via stiffness, you lose rotary turning power in the feet. This make it real hard to get that next turn started. One drill I use with a lot of students is to ride holding your knees. Rise up briefly to touch your shoulders to start a turn (turn while you are rising), then go right back to holding your knees. Make sure you lower to hold your knee by bending at the knees instead of at the waist. When you can do this comfortably, ride touching the tops of your boots. When you can do that, ride touching your toes. If you're under 30, you can go for touching the board. When you're done, bring that range of motion into your regular riding. Use the increased range of motion to more aggressively commit to your new turns on flatter terrain (even though you don't need it). Then you'll be able to take that movement to steeper terrain and beat that stuck feeling.

Eventually when the slopes get steep enough, we'll need to start talking about dynamic turns. This is where both your leg length movements and front back edge change movements become dramatically sequential instead of simultaneous. These types of turns are also very useful for mogul riding.
post #3 of 3
Originally Posted by therusty View Post

Usually, I'd be happy for students that can get locked into a carve. ..

Another issue that often happens on steeper terrain is that we tend to stiffen up....

To add just one question, where are your shoulders in relation to your board and the slope when this happens?  One version of being back that can happen heelside is if you stay with your lead shoulder rotated towards your toeside edge, instead of leading at least slightly at the start of the turn.  Some but not all developing riders do this particularly on steep-er terrain as a way of subsconsciously shying "back" from the slope -- you stay looking across the hill, rather than down the falline, longer this way at the start of a heelside. 

This is essentially counter (edit: it can involve counter-rotation, but doesn't always) and for advanced softboot carving is intentionally used when people want to rail heelsides...but for developing riders can make it hard to do all the things that Rusty mentioned to move to the next turn.  It may not apply to what you're doing at all, of course. 

One other possible tune issue:  what's your base bevel, and do you have a subtle, "modern" detune on your board?  Opinions differ, but boards where there is no smoothing (as opposed to dulling) of the edge at the transition zone of the edge,  both shovel and tail, can be both grabbier and slightly hard to release off edge.

But, the great thing is you are getting locked into a carve!
Edited by CTKook - 2/23/10 at 8:12am
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