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help progressing

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've been snowboarding for some years now, but I've come to a point where I haven't really seen my skills improve in a while.
I'd really just like some advice on getting more fluid and aggresive turns and help getting rid of some of my tendency to use my upper body to initiate turning.
Any help would be great!

Here's me last weekend on a choppy blue run (give it a bit the first few seconds are jerky:

post #2 of 5
 Ni Hao H and welcome to Epic!

Those last two heel side turns were great. Overall, you are showing strong knee angles and good edge engagement after the fall line on your heel side turns. The rest of the run shows good control (making turns where you want to) and a nice centered stance. But it's easy to see why you feel like your riding has hit a limit.

First off you need to bend your legs more. Aside from the shaky camera, you are also getting knocked around on the snow. The snow is quite bumpy in spots. You need to be using your legs as shock absorbers more. You will also benefit from using bending and unbending of the legs to help the feet turn easier. Think how martial artists rotating their fist when they punch. The same principle of the rotating fist making the unbending arm more powerful works to make an unbending leg make feet turning more powerful.

When your legs don't bend much, it's hard to rotate your feet to guide the board through a turn. So you end up pivoting the board by kicking your back foot out to start a turn. This is a slow way to start a turn, but it does work. It also leads to "Z" shaped turns where you kick the board out, set the new edge, skid to slow down, track in the new direction the board is pointing, then kick the back end of the board out to start to the next turn. These are effective turns on easier terrain, but they fall apart on steeper terrain and more difficult snow conditions.

On your toe side turns, you are not arching your back. It's possible to ride toe sides with a straight back, but there's no margin for error. Without highly skilled ankle movements, you end up having difficulty controlling balance and end up riding lower edge angles to avoid falling over. An arched back gives you the ability to pull your hips back if you get on too high of an edge and it also lets you open your ankles to create very high edge angles.

On your heel side turns, we want to start getting on the new edge above the fall line (i.e. engage the downhill edge at the end of a toe side turn in order to start a heel side turn). To do this we're going to have guide with the front foot more and pivot the back foot less. If you finish your heel side turns in a low position (with your legs bent), then straighten the legs while lifting the toes of the front and pressing the front little toe into the side of the boot (to rotate the foot) you'll be able to guide the board onto the new edge without catching it and crashing. The same principle will work for your toe side turns once we get your stance for those turns changed.

That's where I'd take you. To get there I'd start with two drills: Jack in the Box and Hail Mary.

We start the Jack in the Box drill riding with our hand on our knees all the time. Let your hands reach to your knees by bending your legs vs bending at the waist. Next whenever you want to start a new turn, rise up and touch both hands to hold your shoulders to start the turn and then quickly put your hands back on your knees as soon as possible. When you can do this ok, ride with your hands touching the tops of the boots. When you can do this riding with your hands touching your toes, you are finally doing more than enough leg bending for regular riding. For extra credit, ride touching the board on toe sides and grabbing the edge on heel sides. Whoa! The end result we want to achieve here is a rising movement to start your turns and sinking movement to finish them.

Hail Mary teaches you to arch your back. Stand on a flat spot (you can do this part of the exercise at home in bare feet or on the hill). Raise your arms straight over your head (arms locked straight!). Open your hands so that your palms face the sky. Feel your back arch automagically? Your belly button should move out a little bit closer to your knees. Now bend your legs to stand on your toes. In this position, you should be able to raise and lower your heels at will and move your hips up and down without losing balance. Now we are ready to ride. Whenever you make a toe side turn, raise your arms into the hail Mary position and then lower them back to the normal position for the heel side turn. After you get comfortable riding toe sides with your back arched, you should be able to do it without hailing Mary.

Thanks for joining Epic. These tips should help you break through to the next level of riding. Enjoy the ride!
post #3 of 5
Rusty: Are those good drills for anyone to work on their edging? Jack in the Box: that sounds like a ton of flex--kinda like touching your outside knee/boot/buckle on skis. Is it possible to do this drill in its most advanced form (touching toe sides and heel sides of the board) without piking (crumpling in half) at the waist? 
post #4 of 5
Well, on toe sides I would not advise trying to grab the edge of the board. If you can do the drill at home correctly, you can do it on snow. Try holding on to a door frame with one hand and seeing if you can touch your other palm to the floor. If your butt is close to your heels and your knees are close to your chest and your feet are flat on the floor, then you got it. Jack in the box is not for edging. It develops flex and extend leg movements. This will help facilitate steering with the feet.
post #5 of 5

from what i looks like you are doing great to me i agree with the bending your legs more...a lot more. You are doing pretty well initiating the turns but right after you seem to pivot a bit and you slow yourself up and push too much snow around. what i would suggest you do(and bare with me because im not superb at describing)....so what you are going to do is initiate the turn and instead of pivoting a tiny bit just to get that edge in go right on to your edge(going to feel weird at first)...MAKE SURE YOUR KNEES ARE BENT!!!!! this will lover your centre of gravity and help a great deal. you are likely to gain a little more speep because as you start the turn i want you to ride in out all the way...don't let up and as you turn down the hill sink lower into your stance mid turn and hold that edge right over...FLEX THAT BOARD!....then lessen your stance a tiny bit as you prepare for the next turn and repeat. DON'T be fearful of the initial speed you will gain because if you go with the flow you will find you actually have better control of your board and you can get through more crud and bad snow easier. Also a little sidenote make sure to LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING...by that i mean while in your turn be focused on the direction you are travelling maybe 15 or 20 feet in front of your turn to watch out for varrying terrain and other potential obstacles


Have fun and hope this helps

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