Whether you are a novice snowboarder or you have several years of experience on the slopes, one thing is sure: you need to know how to control your speed. Nothing beats the feeling of literary flying on the snow while still maintaining absolute control of your speeds when boarding.
If you have no idea on how to slow down or make a screeching halt, the chances are that you will be crashing into other snowboarders or objects that come your way each time.
Well, this could turn fatal, and the resultant injuries could keep you off the board for quite some time. On the other hand, just riding lazy and maintaining slow speeds makes snowboarding a more boring affair, especially if you already have several seasons in it.
It’s, therefore, elemental that you master the basics of accelerating and slowing down. But the most crucial bit is to know how to control the speeds. This not only makes snowboarding more enjoyable for you, but it also boosts your confidence as you face the mountain each season.
This article encapsulates all you need to know about managing speeds without losing control of the board.
Tips of Controlling Speed in snowboarding
1. Maintain a good stance
Stance is everything. A question that most newbie boarders ask is how to gain speed while feeling somewhat comfortable on the board. Even the most experienced snow gliders felt this at some point when starting out. Inexperienced snowboarders feel like they forget everything they have leaned about snowboarding whenever they start speeding up. At this point, you start feeling like objects come your way much faster than you can actually react. Ever had this experience?
Like any other experienced snowboarder would tell, excellent control boils down to your stance on the board. Being overly stiff and rigid limits how fast you react to things. It also results to muscle and hamstring pains after several hours of boarding besides making what would have been an enjoyable session nothing but a nightmare.
How do you maintain a proper stance?
A good stance is all about finding a sweet spot on the board- to do this, ensure that you don’t stand too narrow or too wide. Positioning your legs too close to each other causes instability and increases your risk of falling. On the other hand, an overly wide position limits your board’s flexibility and makes things harder than they should be.
You need to stretch out your feet just a little bit wider than your hips. This position gives you more flexibility. It also makes it super easy to maneuver around the bumps without losing your balance.
2. Master all the basic movements
Several types of movements come into play when snowboarding; longitudinal (fore and aft), lateral (across the board), torsional (moving each foot independently), rotational, and up and down (using your knees to flex up and down).
When riding down the ski slope, you’ll need to play around with all of these movements to control your speed. Mastering these moves will boost your riding by several folds. Try to over-emphasize all these actions and link them especially when making turns.
3. Know when and how to create speed and when to deaden it
Sure, you cannot control what you can’t build. Snowboarding is all about generating speed and managing it to create fun. So how do you speed up when boarding?
One of the easiest ways of changing and managing your snowboard speed is through the use of pressure. This involves leaning and exerting more pressure along the edges of the snowboard when making turns.
This can be quite complex and involves practicing. For instance, you’ll learn that speed can be generated in three sections along the curve: at the beginning of the curve, in the middle, or just before completing the turn.
It pays to learn how to create a perfect mix of these positions. The essence here is to add on to the effects of the downward slope.
4. Get your basics right, and speed control will come naturally
Coaches who have been around for quite some time will tell you to concentrate more on basic riding rather than worry so much about speed control. It is not rocket science that speed control will come as you gain more confidence on the snowboard.
You need not kill yourself on it at first. Just learn how to curve and turn and also set foot in more technical terrains. Your speed control will naturally improve even without you knowing it.
5. Practice! Practice! Practice
If you really want to have some good control over your board, you need to perfect your skill set. That old cliché ‘practice makes perfect’ can never be more accurate in snowboarding. To be honest, no one gets on the board and flies from the get-go. We all start from somewhere. You have to endure several falls and bumping into other riders and objects.
You might consider taking a lesson from an instructor. There is also a bevy of free lessons on YouTube which will amazingly boost your riding.
It also pays to watch other experienced snowboarders do their thing. This way you will be able to visualize new tricks that will boost your snowboard speed control with time.
6. Hit the gym regularly
While snowboarding is regarded as a way of keeping fit itself, it can never replace the need for hitting the gym on a regular basis. Spending several hours at the gym will make a substantial difference in your supple and flexible nature. This will resultantly boost the ease of controlling and managing your speed on the snowboard.
In the gym, you should concentrate on maintaining a high strength to weight ratio, boosting your core strength, and improving your leg strength among other areas.
Besides helping you control the speed, regular gym exercises also helps in minimizing muscle and ligament injuries.
7. Wrapping it up
The fact is that most of the basics of snowboarding boil down to your ease of controlling the speed. Understanding how to create and manage speed makes it easy to maneuver the snowboard and face the mountain confidently.
Ryan grew up with snow, so he has an endless passion for skiing and snowboarding and everything around these.