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Boarding for Beginners: Part I

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
There have been a lot of threads posted recently looking for advice on board set-up and basic boarding problems, so here we have . . .

Snowboarding 101 . . . This is not meant to replace lessons, it's just my experience and a compilation of advice that I've been given over the years that I hope will help those starting out or are struggling to get beyond sideslipping. If anyone feels that I'm talking bollux, don't hesitate to join in.

Board length:
Is a personal choice and for general use is anything between your chin and nose.
Longer and they need more effort to control and turn and need to be well constructed with good stiffness to stop flapping around. Great for high speed carving but not recommended for learning on.
Shorter and they are quick to turn, lighter and easier to slap around, jump and twist. They have much less inertial mass and this flighty nature can make them a bit of a liability for a beginner.

Board width:
How big are your feet and what's your preferred stance? Important questions? Sort of . . . maybe.
The vast majority of boards are symmetrical, i.e. the nose and tail are the same width and square to the board's centreline with equal and matching 'sidecuts' running in parallel between the widest points.
There's not a lot of difference to the dimensions in that majority of boards, I've just checked my Bataleon 157 Hero and it's 159 from tip to tail following the base shape, 25cm centre width and 29.5cm wide at tip and tail. Comparing this to an old 160 Ride and a couple of ancient Forums (JP Walker and Peter Line) and a Burton Custom . . . ranging in length from 153 to 161 results in all of them measuring within 1.7cm of the Bataleon's width dimensions. So for us average bods it's not all that important when choosing a tool.
But!
Boot overhang is a bugbear for some people and in an ideal world our foot angle would keep our heels and toes inside the board's footprint on the snow and in the early days when we were riding with a very forward alpine stance this was invariably the case. However free-styling and a strong crossover from streetsports has brought a change to the way we mount our bindings, with lots of people mounting their rear foot at 90? to the board and even going 'quack'.
The amount of overhang permissible is dependent on two things:
a) the height of the boot above the running edge . . . higher = more overhang without catching.
b) the speed you ride and how hard you carve . . . faster, harder = less to zero overhang to avoid long bloody smears down the ice.

Acceptable overhang can be anything up to an inch as long as it does not interfere with your riding and as beginners you're not going to edge or flex your board enough to worry about this. However a general rule is 'less is better'. I have Flow bindings with thick base plates so my boots are held high above the edge so I can have a big overhang without any problems.

Which means that weigh and boot size have to be considered when choosing a board. It's better to go wider than longer if your feet or weight are above 'average'
So if you have small feet: . . . Ladies boards are scaled down proportionally and are designed for smaller feet and to flex correctly with a lighter weight . . . which does make them unsuitable for blokes with tiny feet and lardy lasses (that's p*ssed off a chunk of readership). So stick with regular boards,
If you have big feet or are 'heavy', go for one of the 'oversize' boards like the Never Summer Legacy or the Elan El Grande. These are also extremely suitable for very deep soft powder, they make it soooo easy . . . BUT beware, wide boards put far more leverage through your ankles and lower legs, are slower to turn and harder to get onto edge and unless you physically need a wide board, I would avoid one for learning to board on.

[Sidebar on asymmetric boards: these are often called alpine or carving boards and are ridden in hard boots and with a very forward stance. The boots and bindings are very rigid and as the rider moves his/her weight into the board, the diagonal set of the boots moves the insertion or contact point closer to the nose of the board on the toe side and rearward on the heel side (this will be important to remember later in this post) so the manufacturers move the board's sidecut shape on the heelside, backwards in relation to the toeside so that the effective edge and the carve shape and flex is the same and requires the same effort from the rider when turning to either side. This gives the board a lopsided shape but very balanced performance and unless you specifically want to start off learning on a carving or alpine board, give them a miss]

Boots:
This is influenced by your own style preferences but should be dependent on the size and shape of your feet. There are plenty of threads discussing them, so use the search button above to look for boots in the snowboarding forum, here's one of them: http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=526819&highlight=boots#526819
The overwhelming rule of buying boots . . . FIT, spend as much time as you can getting it right. Close but not tight, no pressure points, enough room to just wriggle your toes and medium stiffness for learning in.

Regular or Goofy?:
At one time this was considered quite important as our binding angles were predominantly forward facing, we spent most of our time hooning down the hill like the two plankers and riding 'switch' was an esoteric aberrant art practised by dangerous hot-doggers. Hell, some of the boards didn't even have a tail lip. Today, with stance changes and developing riding styles, I'm not sure that it should be thought about as being critical to how we learn to board and I strongly believe that we should be taught and learn to ride on either foot right from the start . . as I advocate further down in this post.
However, nearly all of us all have a natural bias and there are several ways to identify it.

a) Which foot do you kick a ball with? The leg you STAND ON is your stable or 'lead' leg. Left and you're regular, right and you're goofy.
b) The slide: Socks on a polished floor, an icy path, run and slide . . . which leg do you push out first? Answers as above.
c) The push or fall test: Get a mate to stand in front of you with their hand on your sternum, you lean into it a little till you're slightly overbalanced and they're supporting you. Close your eyes and at a time of their own choosing, they let you fall forward. The leg you put out first is your 'lead' leg', left and you're regular, right and you're goofy.

Binding settings:
Fall into three distinct and separate roles, width, pitch and angle. I'm not going to recommend any setting but I will give you the basic physiological guidance that will provide you with a base setting or measurement that you can then experiment with to find your ideal. Don't forget that riding in different snow conditions can be enhanced by changing your settings, but if you do not have a 'base setting' that is known and can be returned to after playing about, you will waste a lot of time and effort and may even injure yourself.

Binding Width:
First measurement: Rest your elbow on a flat surface, make sure your forearm is vertical, extend your middle finger and give someone the 'bird' . . . measure from the tip of your index finger to the flat surface and remember it because that, for the vast majority of us, is the natural distance between the centre-foot points when we are best balanced to fight or flee. It's also the same as the measurement between the axes of your knee and ankle joints, but essentially you should use this as your basic distance between the centres of your binding disks. This measurement is where you first set your bindings as a beginner.

Binding Pitch:
How much bias, front to rear are the bindings mounted in relation to the centre of the board.
Since I'm targeting this at first timers or early learner we have to consider that most of the time they will be on-piste with quite shallow fall-lines and ideally the set-up needs to be as stable as possible. This would dictate that the bindings be set as far forward as possible to compensate for the natural tendency to draw back away from the slope. This can reduce the number of simple edge catch falls right at the start of the learning process since even with the fear of the hill, the rider still has more weight going into the nose of the board making it more stable. It does have a drawback in that it can accentuate the tendency for learners to keep their weight on their back foot and twist steer the board.
Personally, I'm more in favour of starting out with only a small forward bias and teaching/learning good body language right from the start. This will mean that the rider needs to use a lot more body movement than they think is natural to accomplish a manoeuvre (though in reality it's not that much, it just feels weird to begin with). It also means that confidence needs to be high and if not, encouraged by their peers.

Binding Angle: Everyone quacks in a different pond?
And everyone's body is bio-mechanically different. There are some simple basics like stance width, but that, unlike foot angle is based on the single length measurement above.
Natural foot angle is determined by your sex, pelvis shape, body fat percentage, muscle development, tendon lengths and a shed-load of other bits and pieces that make you who you are.
Fortunately there's an easy way to measure your 'natural' foot angle.

Stand up in your socks on a mildly slippery floor, feet apart and parallel at your stance width as measured above, tighten your butt and tuck it under as you rotate your pelvis forward a little, suck in your gut, breath in, straighten your back, relax your shoulders, head up and look out . . . then relax your knees and ankles so you drop vertically down as far as comfortable without sticking yer bum out. At this time your feet are still parallel and you may feel a little discomfort in your hips, knees and/or ankles indicating that you're already stressing your natural body dynamic, let your feet turn out if they need to in order to eliminate any discomfort in your joints. Now drop gently and in control, down to a full squat . . . or as far as you can get . . . while keeping your heels flat to the floor, your back straight, your head up and preferably without extending your knees out past your toes. . . like that sounds easy? But what happens is that your feet will follow the natural stresses induced by your movement. Some people will quite easily squat down with their feet parallel and will be able to twist their feet into all sorts of angles without any discomfort, others will need a significant or specific angle to be comfortable . . . but we're not quite finished, you also need to be able to rise up from that position without twisting your knees or your body. You may have to experiment a little to find the foot position that gives you the best flexibility with the least stress and then you have your 'Natural Angle'

It's from this point that you can experiment to find the range of angles that are comfortable, freely mobile and physically safe riding positions, but be aware that if you have limited mobility in any joint and you put it in stress by setting your bindings outside your comfort envelope then you are endangering yourself and others by limiting your ability to control your board.

Binding choice: I'm not going to get into this one as it's whatever floats your boat other than don't go too cheap as you'll spend more than they're worth repairing them and they won't give you the comfort or support to make learning a fun experience.

Forward Lean:
Is a personal thing that is dependent on the thickness of your legs, the stiffness of your boots, your ankle flexability and the strength of your bindings. But basically, set them to mid position, strap in and stand up in your most comfortable knees relaxed 'stance' (see below). If your high-backs are pushing hard and making you feel as though you're being forced onto your toes and off balance, check your stance to make sure you're properly relaxed and if you are still off balance, release your high-backs till you are comfortable. If you can stand upright with your knees straight or nearly, bring your highhbacks forward till you achieve a good riding stance.

In the middle is where you start. This is for general riding, if you're going to play in the park a lot of riders slacken them off a little to give themselves more freedom of movement and if you're into fast hard carving on icy piste you may want more forward lean.

Powderpigs - If you've got a day or two (or more) of hero snow or powder and you want to learn how to surf on your back foot, move your bindings back a hole, relax your high-backs and get ready to get very sweaty digging yer face out of the snow.

That takes care of your starting setup, over time, practice and experience you will experiment and tune your set-up to suit both your evolving riding style and the conditions you prefer to slide in.

Protection:
A helmet, is first, you won't need it in the first few hours of scooting around and learning how to balance and distribute your weight but you will almost certainly need it by your first afternoon.
Bum pad or impact shorts, can't be recommended highly enough both for learning in and later when you're showing off.
Wrist guards, there are lots of threads and opinions on these for and against and the different types. Search the forums for opinions and recommendations. I have a preference for people to learn how to fall properly with fists clenched and arms crossed our of harms way.
Knee pads, for learning in I really recommend them, they don't have to be the hard shell skateboarding or BMX type, but as a beginner you will be spending a lot of time on your knees and your will be, hopefully infrequently, falling onto them . . . snow is often a lot harder than it looks.

Leash: Springy ones are best as they don't flap around too much and get caught up. They are just to stop the board sliding off when you unclip. And when you take your board off on the slope always lay it binding side down to stop it sliding away.

First slides:
There are two terrors for all beginner boarders: Drag lifts and getting off chairlifts, the two causes of this are the idea that because you've only got one foot clipped in you have no control over where the board points and two, as a beginner you have a strong and natural instinct to lean back into the slope, away from the fall line.

Stance:
Go back to when you learned what your natural foot angle is, feet apart at your stance width as measured and now set in your bindings, tighten your butt and tuck it under as you rotate your pelvis forward a little, suck in your gut, breath in, straighten your back, relax your shoulders, head up and look out . . . then relax your knees and ankles so you drop vertically down as far as comfortable without sticking yer bum out. Your shoulders are in line with the board, your arms are out to your sides along the board with your elbows slightly bent. That's the one, nice and loose ready for anything and from now on will be referred to as the 'position'.

Scooting and sliding with one foot clipped in . . . the lowest form of boarding?
Na, it's the most important and fundamental part of learning to board because it will teach you the huge importance of weight distribution.

As it works, I'm going to use the flag and pole analogy to show why a board wants to turn without apparent human intervention.
Your snowboard is a flag and your lead leg a flagpole, your rear leg is just a piece of rope attached to the waving end of the flag. As long as your weight is going into your flagpole your flag will stream out behind you, stable and smooth. But imagine what would happen if the loose rope suddenly became the flagpole and old pole turned into rope? The flag wants to whip around and fly off the new pole. This is exactly what happens when as a beginner you draw your weight back along the board away from the terrible slope and into your rear leg and all of a sudden your board's sideways on and you're eating snow. Because it doesn't need a lot of difference in the weight bias front to rear to make a board unstable, for a beginner it's better to exaggerate the experience and the best way to achieve this is by spending time getting really good on one foot.

Scooting:
Find yourself some flat snow, then clip in your front foot. Cinch down your bindings till you have a nice even and not too firm pressure so your toes don't turn black or your arches flatten down into the footbed. Achieving that, bring your rear foot onto the board just in front of the rear binding and give the board a wiggle from side to side just to get the feel of the friction on the snow. There should be a 'stomp pad' or some raised cleats stuck to the board in this location to give grip to your boot and stop it sliding off, if there isn't a pad or cleats on your rental board, take it back and get the shop to fit some, they are important for your safety.

On a personal note, I believe that you can accelerate your learning curve and become a better rider if you include 'switch' manoeuvring right from the beginning of the learning process and you'll see that I advise you to practice the same learning exercises on either leg. Some people will have no problems with this, others may hate it. Don't panic, if you have a strong bias it only means that you'll need a bit more practice to ride switch but you may well be faster at learning to ride regular. To facilitate learning on either leg you will need to add an extra stomp pad behind your front binding, they're only a Quid or two and won't harm the board . . . no pressure eh Wink

Now your need to use your free leg to push the nose of the board in the direction you want to travel. Whether you push from toe or heelside is solely down to what's comfortable for you, but you need to keep your knee flexed and your body as upright as possible keeping your torso in line down the board but your head looking in the direction your going and avoid bending at the waist. This will make you concentrate and teach your body about weight distribution. Once you've pushed away, try to keep standing just on your front leg without putting your push leg down. It is possible, but I won't call it fun. Once you can do this for half a dozen pushes, you're ready to try it on the other foot, it's not critical to do this but it will make learning to turn and ride 'switch' a lot easier down the road if your body is already familiar with ambidextrous movement and has balanced muscle memory and development.

Sliding:
Now find yourself a nice very gentle uncrowded bunny slope that flares out to flat at the bottom it doesn't need to be long but it is best if it's away from other boarders, skiers and hard or pointy objects. Walk up the slope for 20m and use your board to shape a little ledge that you can rest your board flat on. Clip in you lead foot, step the board onto the ledge and bring your backfoot up onto the stomp pad and assume the position, now move your weight onto your lead leg and give the board a wee wiggle to move it off the ledge. At this point you need to concentrate on keeping your body relaxed, your shoulders in line with the board, your head up, looking across and down the hill at your surroundings and NOT at your feet or the snow. Keep your weight on your front leg like you were scooting and don't worry about where you are going, as the board will gently turn down the slope and track nice and smoothly straight down the slope fall line, all you have to do is look outward* to give yourself a horizon line to keep your balance against.

*Looking out . . . one of the truisms of any human activity that involves velocity . . . from throwing a rock to soiling oneself with pleasure in a Bugatti Veyron is that you go where you're looking and you hit what you're looking at. You need to keep your head up and find a target for where you want to arrive. It's semi-autonomic but you are the one that sets the target and your body will follow.

Do this a few times or until you are completely comfortable with the feeling and your body and legs stay loose and relaxed. If you straighten your legs, stiffen up, bend at the waist or look down you will fall over. If you want to push the envelope a bit, repeat this exercise on your back foot, again till it becomes second nature to keep your weight on your lead leg into the nose of the board and you're happy using your rear foot just to stay in touch with your board.

By this time you should be happily and safely gliding down the slope and hopefully should not have fallen down but we're about to up the ante. Add another 10m or so up the slope to your slide and chop yourself another ledge.
This time when your board has turned down the slope, check that you're relaxed, weight forward, and then . . . gently sag your front weight bearing knee down a little to push your toes down on the side of the board and keep in that position. The board will start to turn across the hill and as long as you keep pressure into your front toes their edge will gently cut into the snow and the heel edge will be lifted away from the snow enough not to catch and spit you off. Keep your head up and your back straight to retain your balance and you'll just keep turning across the hill. The more you push down the harder you will turn so play about with gentle changes in pressure to slide in an 'S' shape down and across the slope. As you get comfortable and confident with this manoeuvre you can begin to add a little pressure onto the toes on your rear leg. It doesn't need much, while you're tracking across the slope, stay low and keep your weight forward then give a little push down with your rear toes . . . the board will start drift round square on to the direction of travel. This needs subtlety and control because if you move back too far or put too much pressure on your rear leg you will just spin out and fall. It needs practice, some people will need more than others but the fastest learners will be those that keep their heads up retaining their balance references.

Now for the heelside. It's pretty much the same, once your board is sliding down the fall line and you're relaxed with your weight forward, in control and balanced, drop your leading hip and let your body move slightly to your heelside and put pressure into your heels via your binding's highbacks and you'll begin to turn and track across the slope. Again keep your head up for balance and play about with pressure in your front leg creating an 'S' line across and down the slope.

NOW! One of the things about symmetrical snowboards and foot angles means that because of simple geometry, the point where the force that starts a heelside manoeuvre on a snowboard enters the board closer to the middle of the board making it less effective unless you compensate for this as a rider by making your body movements more pronounced (this can get a bit complex when you get into high speed carving and slalom racing), but keeping it simple, for heelside turns and control you need to put in a bit more effort and body language and that's applicable all the way through the learning process.

Back to the point, as in the toeside exercise, once you have control, you can start playing with a little backfoot pressure to slide the board around to slow or stop your momentum. Again you need to keep your weight in your lead leg and use your rear foot just to control whether your board stays in line with the direction of travel or skids round square on to your path. But at all times keep your head up to keep the visual references for balance . . . look down and you'll fall on your butt.

You'll notice that I've not asked you to do anything with your arms . . . just use them in conjunction with your eyes to keep your balance.

The last exercise is where you combine both of these movements to zig zag across a straight line down the fall line. Remember that ALL OF THIS is done with just ONE FOOT clipped in and you need to practice this till it's second nature. This seems a bit harsh, but it shouldn't take more than a long morning. But what it will do is give you the technique and security for riding a drag lift and getting off a chairlift.

Drag Lifts: Button and 'T' bar.
Both have a long history of, and I feel not fully deserved, loathing by the boarding fraternity. OK they were designed to support the flabby butts of skiers but that doesn't mean that they have to be torture for us boarders.

The accepted normal way for a boarder to use a drag lift is for the button and the 'T' of the bar to be slid between the legs . . . this raises two points:
1)If you have crotch vents in your trews . . . zip'm up. Some drag poles are not insulated and the sweaty skin around your crotch (specially if you're riding commando) is not as strong as the 300 hp motor that's going to rip away the lift pole that's been frozen to your cherries (or worse) as you attempt to dismount the tow.
2)Gentlemen, dress to the rear. If you happen to trap your little boarder twix thigh and pole you could rupture some blood vessels or worse.
Back to coping with either a button trying to twist you square on to the hill or a 'T' bar ripping your hip out of its socket.

Its not quite that bad as long as you understand the forces involved . . . and the first force is your own . . . DON'T FIGHT THE TOW!

Keep relaxed and on your front leg, let your back leg just float around with the board, you're not going to fall off unless you pull back against the bar or cable to put your weight into your rear foot . . . and then you'll become debris for others on the lift to avoid.
I can't emphasis this enough, relax, sag down and let the lift do the work through your leading leg to take you up the hill.
If you do stack . . . GET OUT OF THE WAY . . . roll sideways out of the path of others. No-one's going to think badly of you or take the p*ss (other than your mates . . . who probably deserve a good kicking anyway) falling off a lift is something we all go through, but if you understand why, there is less chance of it being a regular event.
So the trick for riding a drag lift is to be relaxed, keep your weight forward, your head up and not lean away from the pull.
Getting off a drag is fairly straightforward, don't try to release the tow before you're over the last lip. You usually don't have a lot of time, just sag down to give clearance to the button or bar and whip it out and away from yourself. Don't worry about where it's headed, your first consideration is your own safety, your second is to clear the disembarkation area. Weight forward, back foot on your stomp pad, look to see where you want to go and slide to your target using the skills you practised down on the bunny slope.

Chair lifts:
Getting on is not too difficult, scooting forward, front foot clipped in alongside everyone else, (if the bottom of the chair looks to be very close to the snow, make sure that the highback on your rear binding is folded forward and down) when you reach the line make sure your free foot is over the board on you toe-side. Look back to see the chair heading toward you and reach out a hand to guide your butt onto the seat. You will land one butt cheek first but that will try to twist your board across the direction of travel. Resist this and stay on your back butt-cheek with your board pointing up the hill as it's quite possible to catch a toe edge and catapult you off the front of the chair if you let your board drag.
... been there, done that, got the scar ....
Getting off is, again, not that bad, you just have to prepare for it. As you approach the dismount you need to get your front foot twisted in line with the direction of travel. This will mean, turning your body and perching on one butt cheek. Don't do it too early as it's uncomfortable and you may interfere with the raising of the chair's safety bar. Look down make sure you're clear of everyone's gear and as you get to the dismount area, let the board slide up onto it, put your rear foot onto the stomp pad, look up and out, find a clear target point that is as directly in front of you as possible and push away from the chair with your back arm and straight into a weight forward head-up relaxed stance, keeping your target in view. . . hen rely on the basic skills you've been practising down on the bunny slope. If you do fall, check what's coming behind you and then roll or scrabble away to the side of the dismount area, then sort yourself out and get back to your feet. The liftie will appreciate this.

All this might seem a bit long winded, but it will get you up the hill without causing you too much pain and will accelerate your learning curve as you will already be familiar with the feeling of turning into and off the fall-line.


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Mon 12-03-07 14:04; edited 16 times in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Masque, great post.

PS I hope you don't mind, but I've made it sticky.... snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
A lot of effort put into that!

re chairlifts, if your the only boarder I find it easier to be on the outside of the chair as its then only one set of poles & planks to avoid Smile
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Elizabeth B, Fook Shocked Ya might want to wait till the young bloods have had a chance rip it a new bum hole. Plus it's a bit clumsy with language and would benefit from some gentle editing.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
prog99, agreed but you may as well learn in the poorer circumstance to better prepare for the worst. Ease of use and short cuts are great, but if you've not experienced the bad, you can't appreciate the good.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
True, its probably best to get it right from the beginning, now if only I could predict which occupant is going to end up riding over me..
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Masque,

Excellent piece of info that I can really relate to through my own beginner experience back in January.

Like you said, when on chairlifts, watch out for tangles with other people's boards. Thoese lifts with foot rests are great for supporting your board but once or twice I got caught up on them as I planned to disembark and had a 'brown' moment trying to lift the board clear – still, I suppose that's learning through trial and error for you?

Excellent job. Definitely a great read.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
remember to lay down your back binding before getting on chairs that are very low..
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
CANV CANVINGTON, one of the low ones caught the back f my boot last week. Fortunately it was a slow one.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
CANV CANVINGTON, Flow bindings in particular need to be clicked up into position, I found frop experience that they drag in the snow if you leave them down
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Masque, one bit that you haven't mentioned....and i'd be interested in a range of opinions from peoples....

How do you work out if you ride regular or goofy?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks Elizabeth B, I''ll add that, I put it on the back burner when I began to write this as I'm a firm believer in the thought that it shouldn't matter and we should learn from the start to ride on both sides equally. But I see I drifted away from that in the text . . . I'll get my head together and write an edit over the weekend, cheers John
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Elizabeth B, which ever way you fall the least on the first day of boarding. I am goofy but will swap my bindings round for a few hours on a few days on my next trip becasue I have a sneaky feeling I may not actually have a preference. Thinking about this, my ski mate may try boarding on the next trip so I may go regular so he has a chance of keeping up with me wink !!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Masque, Thanks for this - it's a really good read. I wish I'd had something like this to refer to the 1st time I gave it a try - have you thought of publishing this kind of thing, would be really useful with diagrams etc...?

Can't wait to read the next installment Very Happy
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Masque wrote:
Thanks Elizabeth B, I''ll add that, I put it on the back burner when I began to write this as I'm a firm believer in the thought that it shouldn't matter and we should learn from the start to ride on both sides equally. But I see I drifted away from that in the text . . . I'll get my head together and write an edit over the weekend, cheers John

Thats one thing I wish I could do better. I keep on trying to ride switch but it just doesnt feel right anymore... Everytime I do try I think "I look like a beginner again" and spin back round to my regular stance.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Elizabeth B, I was told to imagine running along a shiny floor and then sliding - which foot do you put in front? This exercise suggests that I'm goofy, and I have to say I'm getting on with it much better that way round than I did when I tried left foot forward.

Why is it that left forward is more common when most people are right side dominant?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Lizzard, see revised post Madeye-Smiley It's about stability, if one foot is doing all the work the other has to offer a stable platform, that's why kicking a ball is a good one, you rely on one leg to keep your balance. Whichever it is will be your lead leg. Like holding a nail to hit with a hammer, the hand that holds the nail is the one providing a stable target to hit . . . sometimes the nail. And that's why most people are left leg regular . . they're right-handed


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Fri 9-02-07 20:49; edited 1 time in total
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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Masque, hmmmmmm .......... I'd always kick a ball with the right foot, personally (not thst I do it much at all). But I'm definitely more comfortable riding goofy.

But this doesn't answer the question - why are the majority of riders left-footers? I'd expect the other way round, given the prevalence of right-handers in the population.
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Lizzard, There's always a mutant in every class wink
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Masque, out of curiosity I tried your technique to find your correct feet angles and ended up with bits of my anatomy pointing in all sorts of strange directions Smile

I think a video of an expert demonstrating it would be great Laughing
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prog99, Hmmm, how many legs do you have Puzzled It's your feet that should be pointing. When you lower down into a full squat stay in control of your body, don't flop down, lower yourself gently and then raise yourself, again keeping control. As long as you can accomplish this and there's no discomfort or pain, that should give you your natural angle. Got to say, if you cannot get into a full squat, you need to get to both a gym and some stretching classes. If your floor's to slippery, do it on carpet. Getting out of a low chair will give you a similar result but you will not have gone through a full range of movement
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I have to say I was trying to follow the instructions whilst simultaneously looking at my laptop and my feet. Attempt two without trying to watch a screen resulted in the desired result.

Interesting results, suggests possibly an extra few degrees. I shall try it out once I get back on the slopes.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yes, excellent post old black tongue ...some really good advice there!

When you get as good at boarding as you are, it must be pretty difficult to dig out this info from the depths of the old grey matter! wink
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Masque, have only just ventured onto this thread. Was scared before-coming over to the dark side and all that Toofy Grin . I am now going to print this page out and study it for my next foray to Hemel Alps. If nothing else it will add to the padding for when I fall over!
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Great post and looks like it's been improved by editing, so three cheers to Masque.

However:
Quote:
Now drop gently and in control, down to a full squat . . . or as far as you can get . . . while keeping your heels flat to the floor, your back straight, your head up and preferably without extending your knees out past your toes. . . like that sounds easy?


What? How am I supposed to drop to a full squat without extending my knees out past my toes? I mean you acknowledge that this is difficult, but without collapsible shins/thighs I don't see how this is even close to possible NehNeh
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Shallimus, hang onto a door frame.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Shallimus, how do you sit down?
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks Lizzard... doesn't that make the test a bit biased though by including my upper body strength and potentially changing the stresses on my legs?

Swirly: I lower my backside towards the object on which I am intending to sit... but then said object is supporting my backside and I don't topple over backwards, which is most certainly what will happen if I attempt to keep my knees behind my ankles while descending to a full squat. Maybe I'm just balanced differently? NehNeh
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Shallimus, behind your toes, not your ankles I doubt anyone could do that! Try it above a cushion it's really not that hard. Mind I have big feet.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Swirly, stop bragging Laughing
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Poster: A snowHead
debbi, if you've got it...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Masque wrote:
Lizzard, see revised post Madeye-Smiley It's about stability, if one foot is doing all the work the other has to offer a stable platform, that's why kicking a ball is a good one, you rely on one leg to keep your balance. Whichever it is will be your lead leg. Like holding a nail to hit with a hammer, the hand that holds the nail is the one providing a stable target to hit . . . sometimes the nail. And that's why most people are left leg regular . . they're right-handed


Interesting that 'kicking the football one'...I'd not heard that one before.. I'd would kick mainly right footed, but not to shabby with my left, and yet when I first lent to board doing the fall forward trick my right foot was the foot that moved...

But then I write left handed and play squash right handed so I guess I'm just a bit cackhanded all round...

Great post BTW - reminded me that I need to go and practice some one footed turns this year...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:
Regular or Goofy?:
At one time this was considered quite important as our binding angles were predominantly forward facing, we spent most of our time hooning down the hill like the two plankers and riding 'switch' was an esoteric aberrant art practised by dangerous hot-doggers. Hell, some of the boards didn't even have a tail lip. Today, with stance changes and developing riding styles, I'm not sure that it should be thought about as being critical to how we learn to board and I strongly believe that we should be taught and learn to ride on either foot right from the start . . as I advocate further down in this post.
However, nearly all of us all have a natural bias and there are several ways to identify it.

a) Which foot do you kick a ball with? The leg you STAND ON is your stable or 'lead' leg. Left and you're regular, right and you're goofy.
b) The slide: Socks on a polished floor, an icy path, run and slide . . . which leg do you push out first? Answers as above.
c) The push or fall test: Get a mate to stand in front of you with their hand on your sternum, you lean into it a little till you're slightly overbalanced and they're supporting you. Close your eyes and at a time of their own choosing, they let you fall forward. The leg you put out first is your 'lead' leg', left and you're regular, right and you're goofy.


Last winter I was asking people which way they would do a cartwheel, that seemed to clear up the goofy regular thing, same way you cartwheel is the same way you board. The football thing is mostly right, for a few freaks like me it doesnt work. The slide thing is a real good one but when people have to think about it they get confused. Failing all that then yeah, point at the wall and shout "oh my god what's that?" then shove em from behind.
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Quote:

same way you cartwheel is the same way you board

Sadly true, have done many a cartwheel whilst boarding! Embarassed
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
the ice perv wrote:
Quote:

same way you cartwheel is the same way you board

Sadly true, have done many a cartwheel whilst boarding! Embarassed


Have you noticed how easy it is to flip right over and back to your feet by accident, but try and do it on purpose and you fail, badly.
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Masque, Enjoyed that read Masque and found it informative. Thank you.
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I am a 56 year old with the onset of arthritus in my knees and ankles.

I started Monoskiing again a few years ago because the lateral forces are shared by both legs together but when i fall i have to get out of my bindings to stand up if the slope angle is shallow or flat due to my dodgy knees.


Would learning to Snowboard (with its open leg stance) be a risky thing to learn for people like me with regard to knee strain,etc?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
cc_7up, IMO snowboarding is easier on the knees than skiing. Although "normal" skiing is fine if you have a decent stance there is the chance of rotational tweaking of knees in bumps, variable snow etc. Howver boarding is not passive for knees and ankles - if anything there is more flexing going on to ride well. Plus there will be a minimum of 3 days of hard falling to start with and the remaining hazzard of 1 footed falls while disembarking chairs etc
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cc_7up, you'll have to get your stance set up bang on too - because you're in a 'fixed' position on the board it can tweak your knees if your set up is wrong.
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cc_7up, I broke my knee in a freak boarding accident, probably never happen again but it can, I guess skiers get it more though.
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