Pillow Talk in British Columbia
1: Upgrade Your Board
You're no longer a beginner, so you shouldn't settle for a beginner board. Getting quality gear will make you a better snowboarder. Talk to the employees at your local snow shop about the right board for your size and riding style. If you love the halfpipe, you'll need a different snowboard than someone who loves jibbing.
2: Experiment With Your Stance
Every snowboarder is individual. Your first instructor probably told you how to stand, but this might not be the best body position for you. Great intermediate riders also adjust their stance to suit the snow condition. Now you're more confident on a board, switch up your stance and see what feels best. Adjust the distance of your feet and their angle until you feel comfortable. A relatively centered stance, with the front foot at a wider angle, usually works best in most conditions. However, if the snow is really thick, you'll probably snowboard better set back further on your board.
3: Steer Your Snowboard With Both Feet
Many riders subconsciously put too much weight on their back foot as they turn. If you do, you probably skid out a bit when you turn. It's a common habit with beginners, but you can correct these “windshield wiper turns” by steering with both feet.
Once you're at speed, start the turn with your front foot. You'll have more weight on your front foot at this point. Then make sure your back foot follows the same path that your front foot took. As you do, shift your weight so it's distributed evenly between both feet by the end of your turn.
4: Control Your Speed When You're Turning
Varying the shape of your turns will help you control your speed. Wide turns, sometimes called closed turns, will help you slow down. Tighter turns, called open turns, will help you speed up.
Spraying snow is another way to control speed when you're turning. This technique helps snowboarders slow down or stop in spectacular fashion. To try it yourself, start turning in a low stance, with your knees bent. In the middle of your turn, push both feet out and away from your body. Dig in with your back foot and engage your heel edge to keep the ride smooth. Snow should spray out as you slow down. If you want to stop completely, stand tall as you start spraying snow. Practice spraying both sides.
5: Bend Your Knees and Lean Forward When Turning on Steep Terrain
Beginners tend to side slip down slopes rather than turning on steep terrain. However, now that you have an intermediate snowboarding skill level, there's no reason to avoid these turns. Remember that you're not really trying anything new here. You'll turn using the same technique you use on flat ground. You're just turning on a different surface.
Keep your knees bent when you're turning on steep terrain. Bend your knees enough so your body matches the slope's pitch. This will naturally force your shoulders and hips in line with the slope's angle. This will help you put enough weight on your front foot to successfully start turning.
Don't be afraid to over-exaggerate that upper body lean when you're refining the technique. It might seem like you're leaning too far forward, but if you're keeping your balance, that's unlikely. Push through those uncomfortable feelings until the stance seems natural. If you're still struggling to get it right, try touching your front knee or boot when you start turning to get your weight where it needs to be.
6: Pay Attention to the Fall Line When Turning on Steep Terrain
The way you end a turn on steep terrain is just as important as the way you start it. Pay close attention to where the fall line pulls you. Make sure your board is completely across the fall line once your turn ends. Looking to the sides of your trail, rather than down the center, can help you complete these challenging turns better.
7: Relax Your Legs, Especially on Rough Terrain
Relaxing your legs helps keep fatigue at bay. It's important wherever you're riding, but especially on challenging terrain. Think of your legs a little like the shock absorbers on a car. Keeping them loose will help you have the smoothest ride. When you relax your legs, they absorb the impact, rather than your board. That helps your board stay on the ground and stops your head bouncing around.
8: Ride Switch
Everyone naturally favors one leg. Beginners practice with their dominant leg forward and rarely change. As riders become more comfortable on a board, bad habits can creep in. Riding switch is a great habit for intermediate riders because it forces them to go back to basics and really think about what they're doing. Whatever you can do in your natural stance, try it riding switch. It'll definitely improve your technique.
9: Learn From Better The Pros
The best snowboarders know they can always improve by watching better boarders. Lessons aren't just for beginners. Most snow resorts have lessons for intermediate snowboarders. These lessons can help you refine your snowboarding skills, learn some new tricks, and get ready for those black runs. You can also learn plenty by watching pro snowboarders at work. Paying attention to what elite athletes like Haruna Matsumoto and Sven Thorgren do in competition can really up your game. Red Bull has a variety of great snowboarding videos featuring these boarders and more for your viewing pleasure.
This is Red Bull Recharged
10: Practice Regularly
As with all things in life, practice is the only way to improve. Practicing helped you move from a beginner to an intermediate, and it'll help you go from an intermediate skill level to an advanced snowboarding level. Go snowboarding whenever you can and really think about your technique while you're on the snow. In the off-season, focus on exercises that improve your flexibility, core, and leg strength so you're ready for the next snow season.
Remember that Red Bull is the best place to check out the world's elite snowboarders doing what they do best. We have some of the world's best snowboarding movies all available free online. Check out top films featuring icons like Travis Rice and Victor de le Rue today.