Ready to the slopes but not to fall on them? We can help!
The fresh snowfall at Perisher recently is a great reason to strap into your snowboard and hit the slopes, but don’t worry if you’ve forgotten everything you learned last year. We’ve put together a list of top ways to brush up your Perisher snowboarding skills so you can soon be carving up the mountain with the best of them!
1. Master Your Edges
The key to improving your snowboarding technique is to master your edges. Snowboards are designed to carve the mountain, and the key to becoming a better rider lies in the ability to smoothly turn from edge to edge.
Snowboards have generous amounts of sidecut in their design. The boards are fat at the tops and bottoms and narrower in the middle. This creates a subtle C shape that allows riders to let the board do a lot of the work. However, the board will only work for you if you know how to set your edge properly.
To get back into setting your edge, start on an easy slope; something without a lot of obstacles. Begin by practicing toeside turns. To do so, set your edge and push through the turn as you dig your edge into the snow and slightly extend your legs. Do not over extend or stand straight up, but instead keep your knees bent throughout the process.
Next, work on heelside turns. Sit your backside down towards the snow as if sitting in a chair. Set your edge by pushing with your heels into the mountain while slightly extending your legs. As with a toeside turn, do not stand straight up. Keeping proper posture will allow your weight to stay over your centre and help the edges of your board drive through the entire edge.
Continue this process by practicing moving from toeside turns to heelside turns without actually traversing across the slope of the mountain. Keep your board pointed downhill and try to link as many toe to heel combinations in a row as you can.
It’s always good to practice these turns first so that you don’t end up in a situation in which you need to make a quick turn but are unable to, as this can lead to serious injury.
Check out this video to see how it’s done. Sometimes seeing something done is better because it lets you get a feel for how it looks.
2. Increase your Snowboarding Speed
Once you feel comfortable with your edges, try some of the beginner runs. This will take some practice but the more you are able to carve from edge to edge, the faster you will be able to go. After completing those, it’s time to go a little faster. While going faster may seem intimidating, it’s actually necessary to improving your snowboard skill. As you go faster and faster, you’ll be able to link turns more smoothly.
That said, don’t move up from the beginner runs until you feel you’re ready. They key is to stay in control and to not ride beyond your abilities. If you feel out of control, go back to one of the less difficult runs and continue to practice working your edges.
3. Ride the Park
Not every snowboarder wants to fly 10 metres in the air while flipping and twisting. However, taking smaller jumps through the park can help you significantly improve your overall snowboarding abilities. Riding the park is about balance and control. Your ability to carve into a turn and float in the air are connected, though they may not seem like it. Both involve keeping a good centre and maintaining good posture.
When getting started, stick to smaller tabletop jumps. Don’t hit any jumps you’re not comfortable with, as your confidence is what will carry you through a successful jump. Find the NSW trail that works for you. Also, even the most confident riders, though, still fall on occasion so don’t feel embarrassed or disappointed if you do as well. Falling is normal. Just embrace it and move on to the next jump if it happens.
When approaching the jump, continue carving your turns edge to edge. Just before you reach the ramp, make one final smooth, long turn. Then flatten out your board before hitting the lip of the takeoff area. Make sure you center your weight over your board and that you’re looking where you want to land. As you hit the downward slope of the jump, bend your knees to absorb the impact of the landing and, then simply glide away.
Your control and confidence in your edges and overall snowboarding abilities will massively improve with a few good runs through the park.
4. Tackle Deep, Fresh Powder
Deep, fresh snow is difficult to tackle, especially for new riders, but it’s not impossible. It simply requires you to adjust your technique a bit.
The basic principles still apply: shoulders square and keep your knees bent. However, instead of keeping yourself directly centred over the snowboard, you’ll want to slightly shift your weight towards the back of the board. This allows the nose of your board to stay above the deep snow and help your board float over the top layer.
In deeper snow, it’s really important to let your legs do the work. It’s easy to try and manipulate your board by throwing your whole body into each turn, but this is actually counterproductive and dangerous. Instead, you want your upper body to stay as still as possible (without being stiff) and use your hips and legs to glide your board from edge to edge. It’ll help you to float over the powder rather than get stuck in it.
It’s important to practice snowboarding a variety of conditions because it’ll help you to grow as a snowboarder and really fine tune your skills. Each kind of snowfall requires a different approach, and you’ll want to master each of them in order to round out your snowboarding abilities.
Bonus Tip: Take Lessons
It can take a lot of practice to perfect the various snowboarding techniques so don’t be afraid to take a couple of Perisher snowboarding lessons. Even the most experienced riders can learn something from a lesson.
Mostly importantly, working one on one with an instructor will allow you to get feedback on your form. They can watch you as you go down a slope to see if you’re maintaining proper form and help you fix it if you’re not. This is hard to do on your own unless you have someone videotape you as you’re snowboarding. It’s really important to have someone check your form when you’re working on jumps, as if you don’t use proper form, you can seriously injure yourself, particularly on more advanced jumps. Lessons don’t only teach you new things but they help you refine your abilities.
If you’re ready to hit the slopes, let us know. We can help you book lessons, purchase lift tickets and more.