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Boarding for beginners: Syllabus

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've read the excellent Boarding for Beginners: Part I, but what about a summary of a good order to teach everything in, for those intending to teach friends & family? That is, aside from "1) Point them in the direction of the ESF".

I expect some instructors (and organisations) have a preferred, or even obligatory, order, and unless it's secret, it'd be good to add to the list of potential syllabi.

While one could attempt to organise a syllabus in terms of hours or days, it may be best to keep it in stages or phases, and have suggestions of how long each phase tends to take as a separate analysis.

I can start the ball rolling, but feel free to flesh it out, tidy it up, or suggest your own variation. Remember, it's assumed the tutor knows how to teach; the syllabus is about developing a guide as to what to teach in what order.

0) Equipment

Body - Fit with good musculature in thighs, knees & ankles. A sense of balance.
Location - picking a good resort to learn, and a good place within that resort to start.
Snowboard - a suitable board to learn on, e.g. light & flexible.
Boots - soft boots, and easy bindings to learn on - Flow or other step-in?
Gloves - will get a lot of snow contact, with abrasion, etc. Potentially combined with wrist guards.
Clothing - Trousers, jacket, etc.
Protection - Sunglasses/Goggles/Suncream, Helmet, Wrist protectors, Other (knee, coccyx, hip, thigh, elbow pads).
Safety - Snowboard leash, communications, contingency plans (in event of accident), emergency items, Recco, etc.

1) Introduction to, & explanation of, the equipment

Safety - unlike braked skis, a snowboard is a potential lethal missile - never let it go (flat)
How a snowboard works - the edges, camber, flex, bindings, etc.
Snowboard boots - design (difference from ski boots). No quick release.
Determining one's stance - binding angles, positions, etc.
Safety - Protective gear. Falling is not only likely, but part of the learning experience - avoid lumpy/sharp objects in areas of body likely to receive impact.
Etc.

2) Introduction to the course

Snowboarding is actually two disciplines: snowboarding & snowscooting
When snowscooting is used (to/onto/on/off/from lifts, across flats, short distances)
Triangular integrity of snowboarding vs peril of snowscooting.
Therefore snowboarding will be taught before snowscooting, albeit interleaved as necessary.
Synopsis of what is going to be taught in what order - managing expectations.

3) Snowboarding on the flat

Finding a flat place - no gravity assisted sliding
Appreciating the board's dynamics - halfway between an ice skate and a tray on ball bearings
Falling over is inevitable - how to fall - avoiding broken fingers, wrists, etc.
Getting into the bindings - without being fastened
Establishing Balance
Exploring the ability to shift the board about (falling over optional)
Fastening the bindings+leash (sitting down or standing)
Standing in the board - from seated position
Raising the toe/heel edge - and how this affects slidability
Re-explore the ability to shift the board about
Sitting down in the board - from standing
Switching edge, between sitting/kneeling position, by rolling over (or spinning on back)
Standing in the board - from kneeling position
Kneeling down in the board - from standing position
Longitudinal shuffling/sliding as an arduous means of travel (forward or backward)
Jumping about, whilst maintaining balance
Jumping as an arduous means of travel (forward and backward)
Stationary ollies
'Walking' the board
Rotational standing jump - up to 180
Maintaining stability in the face of external forces (avoiding being toppled)
Unfastening bindings (sitting down or standing)
Unfasten leash

4) Snowscoot walking/climbing up a small, gentle slope

Find a small & gentle slope just above a flat area
Sit on flat area at bottom of slope
Fasten leash
Fasten binding to leading foot
Reminder of how to fall
Falling as a last-ditch means of stopping
Stand up, with free foot on snow
Explore slidability of snowboard, but do not attempt to scoot
Explore ability to walk with snowboard - and turn around
Explore stances that achieve more stability/security, i.e. with board on edge
Walk up the slope - with board on edge & perpendicular to slope/pressure
Turn around (using safe techniques)
Walk down the slope - with board on edge


5a) Snowboarding on a small, gentle slope

Find a small & gentle slope just above a flat area = no risk of speed or long distance travel
Sit at top of small slope (3-6 metres long)
Analysis/appreciation of probable board dynamics
Fasten leash
Fasten bindings with board perpendicular to slope
Reminder of how to fall
Falling as a last-ditch means of stopping
Appraisal of downhill/uphill edges. Facing downhill vs uphill. Fakie, etc.
Appraisal of leading/trailing edges, relative to travel.
Board perpendicular to direction of travel as primary means of stopping, and secondary mode of travel (escalation)
Dropped leading edge means caught edge, which means slam/splat and potential concussion
Unraised leading edge means no braking, and is perilously close to caught edge
Slightly raised leading edge means gentle braking/deceleration (vs momentum/gravity)
The more the leading edge is raised, the more the braking.
One can over raise the edge, but it just means one ends up sitting or kneeling.
Primary mode of travel (carving) is achieved with the board inline with the direction of travel - along an edge (with other edge raised).
How to maintain pure escalation/arrest edgeways drift - shifting weight over the board (& in extremis, swinging the board)
ESCALATE: Escalate down the slope, at a controlled rate, whilst avoiding any edgeways drift (facing downhill & uphill)
[Remove rear foot from binding, and walk back up the slope - redo binding.]
Deliberately introduce edgeways drift, and then correct it
FALLING LEAF: Use edgeways drift as a means of traversing the slope (left, right, facing downhill & uphill)
Reminder of catching the leading edge, how to recognise its imminence, how to avoid it, how to fall if one doesn't.
LEAF TO CARVE: Transition an edgeways drift into a carve
STRAIGHT CARVE: Carve diagonally across the slope, going as far as possible (which should not be very far)
STRAIGHT CARVE STOP: Carve, but attempt to stop once moderate speed has been reached (left, right, facing downhill & uphill)
FLAT: Board flat down the fall-line, alternating edge pressure to keep board from turning and/or catching an edge.
FLAT TO CARVE: Board flat down the fall-line, pressuring one edge to turn into a carve (left, right, facing downhill & uphill)
FLAT STOP: Board flat down the fall-line, and stop once moderate speed has been reached
CARVE TO FLAT: Transition from carve to fall-line
CARVE TO FLAT AND BACK: Transition from carve to fall-line to same carve
CARVED TURN: Transition from carve to fall-line to opposite carve (turn)

5b) If a magic carpet/travelator is available (or student is very fit), repeat phase 5a slightly higher up a slightly steeper slope

Appraising one's stance when carving vs escalating - shoulder alignment
Bending of knees vs locked knees.
Use of pressure/weighting to orient the board vs forcible swinging
Linking turns (if enough slope)
Stopping at any point

Practice: ESCALATE, FALLING LEAF, LEAF TO CARVE, STRAIGHT CARVE, FLAT, FLAT TO CARVE, CARVE TO FLAT, CARVE TO FLAT AND BACK, CARVED TURN, and frequent practice STOPS .

6) Snowscooting on the flat

Try scooting and stopping
See how stopping becomes trickier the faster one goes
Try scooting and steering/turning by shifting edge pressure

7) Snowscooting down a small, gentle slope

Inherently unsafe configuration - like skiing on one ski
Nearly all control/support is obtained via the bound/leading leg - rear leg can help, but is unreliable
Straight carve with mild turning is the most one should hope for as a beginner

8 ) Snowscooting under tow

Snowscoot whilst being pulled by someone (using a ski pole, rope, etc)
Maintain balance whilst being pulled in a jerky manner, around a gentle bend, around a sharp bend

9) The button/drag lift

Apparently designed to cause snowscooters to catch a leading edge and thus entertain skiers
The button is to pull you, not for you to sit on.
Falling over is fine, just move out of the way pronto.
Perfect balance and perfect alignment means being towed rather than toppled.
Beware of rodeo drags
Tbar variant (don't double up)
Furrows
Letting go

10) Snowboarding on a significant slope (via drag lift)

Repeat & refine phase 5
Revise safety - priority to downhill skier, but avoid becoming a hazard to uphill skiers
Rocks/hazards/obstacles

11) Snowscooting flat, straight down the fall-line of a moderate slope from a sitting position

12) The chair lift

Lane discipline
Consideration
Tripping others over
Causing a pile-up at dismount
Clear unloading area quickly
Keep board inline - especially loading/unloading
Beware of leash getting caught


13) Snowboarding down the piste (via chair lift)

Skillfully carving ones linked turns

http://www.alpinecarving.com/technique.html

14) Drops, ramps, jumps, tricks

15) The halfpipe, snowpark, boardercross, acrobatics, etc.

16) Powder
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I don't have anything like enough knowledge to comment on most of that, but there are two points from my learning experience that I would make...

1). Once a beginner has the hang of falling leaf on heel and toe edges, they are snowboarding forwards and switch. Once you start to introduce turns, keep doing all 4 types - heel and toe forwards, heel and toe switch. I could link turns forwards on a blue run by the end of my 3rd day. And I could link turns switch on a blue run by lunch on the fourth! Our first instructor kept the balance between directions all the way through the week, so though switch was a little harder due to it not being my favoured natural direction, it never became the big bogey monster that it is to some when they become properly proficient forwards, but have still barely put any hours in switch. I see no reason not to learn the two alongside each other. (Although that's possibly as a windsurfer you have to do both otherwise to get home again you must either circumnavigate the globe or wait for the wind to swing 180 degrees)

2) I'd chuck an intro to powder in around 13b. It's not back country trekking or face deep pow, but just getting 15 feet away from the groomed run, surfing a few turns and rejoining the piste 50 yards later is great fun, and will bring such a smile to a face!

Anyway, those are my two pennies worth!
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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?
Good points. I think I just wanted to start the ball rolling, to get some syllabi developed (or collected from elsewhere). So all comments welcome, tangential or otherwise.

On the switch/fakie side of things (not precluding a 90/90 or even duck stance) I suspect that as soon as one introduces the idea that certain manoeuvres are trickier than others, that learners will readily convince themselves of this (the 'bogey monster' as you put it), and so it is good as you suggest that the four key orientations down a slope are treated as unremarkable and to be practiced as if equally useful. Forward left & right, and switch left & right. And then you have the four corresponding carved turns (some of which beginners will find more difficult than others).

Yup, powder should come after 13.

Interesting to read how you progressed on a daily basis.
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Other than the equipment side of things, I think this video is a very good guide to the steps needed to to link turns:


http://youtube.com/v/S0kX1JeecSQ

It also emphasises the importance of practising riding with one foot strapped in.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@crosbie,
Quote:

1) Point them in the opposite direction of the ESF

FIFY.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Each instructor organisation will have it's own methodical progression and way of teaching. As for how long each step takes, that is entirely down to the student, some pick it up easier than others for various reasons.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Sitter wrote:
Each instructor organisation will have it's own methodical progression and way of teaching.


Be good to hear from people who've learnt from a particular organisation as to the order in which they prefer to teach things.

I wonder if the ordering can be affected by any bias toward making the paying student feel they are getting their money's worth (rapid, but shallow progression), vs a slower, 'wax on, wax off' type deeper progression.

I lean toward teaching the snowboarding first, followed (as soon as possible) by snowscooting (or 'skating' if you prefer), but it is tempting to teach the latter as the very first thing in order to more rapidly get on the drag lift to start the snowboarding practice circuit. Such temptation may also be influenced by the number of students, e.g. one or two vs ten. I think it's better to first understand how the board works as a safely strapped in snowboarder, rather than as a virgin liable to twist an ankle in the first 5 minutes. One can then apply the initial snowboarding skills learnt to the situation where only one boot is bound.

The earliest phase may be relatively brief, but it is important to reduce the risks that may prevent its completion.
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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!
The BASI "Central Theme" for learning to snowboard is:

1. Introductory activities - intro to the equipment, scooting on the flat, walking up and down a slope with one foot out, shuffling around with both feet strapped in, hopping and jumping on the flat, etc.

2. Straight run - going straight down a gentle slope with a flat/safe run-out. Building a good stance and playing with vertical movement (standing tall and squatting down). Often taught with only one foot strapped-in.

3. Side-slip - heel & toe edge side-slipping, changing the edge angle to brake/accelerate, linking this to vertical movement.

4. Diagonal side-slip - adding sideways movement by shifting weight fore/aft.

5. Falling leaf and/or garland - not the same (as many think) as a diagonal side-slip. This adds board rotation (via foot-pedalling) to follow a curved path and allow the rider to practise the start and finish of a turn without the edge change.

6. Basic Turns - A very skidded, very simple turn. Use pedalling to rotate the board all the way to the fall-line. Change edge on the fall line (makes it very hard to catch an edge) and pedal again to rotate the board around the other way to complete the turn.

7. Standard Turn - Still a very skiddy turn, but with an earlier edge-change.

Traversing and such-like added in as appropriate. Traversing can be a good way to introduce carving.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Sun 13-03-16 22:12; edited 1 time in total
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@stevomcd, pretty much the same as the Austrian system. All teach one foot in the bindings before two, and, form experience, the students are often much more comfortable this way and is invaluable for using lifts, be they conveyor, drag or chair.

@crosbie, you should be able to bring up the various organisation's steps with a Google search, try "methodische aufbau" for German language results.
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
I'm not sure what the goal is, but in my view the original post is over thinking it.

"Just point it down and copy what good snowboarders do" is pretty much it. I'm not sure if you need that many steps that you're really cut out for the sport. No multi-step plan could not make unfit non-athletic people with no natural ability into good climbers. You just... point yourself at the rock and get on with it.

You can pull documentation from CASI and others if you need more structure. Sounds like an ESF/ skier plot to me though.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
No wonder "Snowboarding is dying" - we've no system of badges to prove ourselves. wink
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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.
philwig wrote:
I'm not sure what the goal is, but in my view the original post is over thinking it.


The goal is to develop a syllabus (or several, if different schools of thought) for snowboard tutors - to use, or compare with their own syllabus.

philwig wrote:
"Just point it down and copy what good snowboarders do" is pretty much it. I'm not sure if you need that many steps that you're really cut out for the sport. No multi-step plan could not make unfit non-athletic people with no natural ability into good climbers. You just... point yourself at the rock and get on with it.


That sounds like uninformed self-tuition - and could certainly be fun (and probably dangerous to oneself - and others, if not done in isolation). But, some less intrepid learners prefer to be taught by an experienced snowboarder concerned about the best (safe & effective) way to progress from virgin to carver.

That a would-be snowboarder is fit enough to learn is indeed a prerequisite - see phase 0.

philwig wrote:
You can pull documentation from CASI and others if you need more structure. Sounds like an ESF/ skier plot to me though.


If you know how to 'pull documentation', please do and post it here.
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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
Richard_Sideways wrote:
No wonder "Snowboarding is dying" - we've no system of badges to prove ourselves. wink


haha yeah.

This thread makes me sad Sad
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Well, I suppose you could go do BASI. Getting bragging rights seems to be the main reason behind why people do it. I swear that if ESF starte giving little badges to adults BASIs intake would dry up overnight.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
On the equipment part. NEVER GET FLOW OR STEP IN BINDINGS. Stick with straps. Those bindings are too soft and just fold as you put pressure on your toe edge, and would hate to think of what would happen if the heel mech came loose whilst riding and our foot just fell out the binding, that would suck.

Stance - All beginners, -15/+15.

Always teach one footed tasks before strapping in two feet, then once once you have 1 footed tasks dialed in, strap in 2 feet then perform some basic flat land freestyle tricks, helps with balance etc - easy one to get kids amped as they all want to learn freestyle.

"Triangular integrity of snowboarding vs peril of snowscooting. " this makes no sense to me.

Never teach people how to fall - last thing you need is people having images in their heads of broken wrists etc, just adds doubt to people's minds, half the battle with learning to snowboard is psychological.

There are points that are in 5. that should be in the one footed part - bending knees, not swinging - posture balance etc.

As soon as someone can heel edge side slip, you can take them up a POMA tow, and a chair lift.

I was gonna do like a massive rewrite of that whole post, no offence crosibe, but If I was going to learn to snowboard and I was given lots of jargon like that, my head would explode, I'm an instructor, I can relate to it, but even my brain is melting from trying to understand it all.

If you are a beginner, and they are going to learn to ride - just get a lesson, some 1 to 1 coaching with a qualified instructor, you are going to learn way faster and won't develop all the bad habits that you will get from taking a lesson from a friend or trying it yourself. I know people have some sort of pride and learning their self or having a mate teaching them, I see it all the time and it's pretty ugly, 2 hours with an instructor - you'll be at a solid level to go ride with your mates.

If you are getting a lesson with me that is.

wink

Take it easy.

Ally

www.thenorthernmovement.com
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So, you think Flow or other step-in are a bad idea for a beginner - because you consider/know they provide less support than standard straps - and beginners need all the support they can get?

Ok. Unless anyone else gainsays that, I'll take it as read, that beginners are therefore better off with standard bindings.

As for the beginner's duck stance of +15/-15, now that is interesting. Do you think that's far better than say 20/5, or even 30/10? Perhaps it depends whether the beginner feels destined for the piste or the snowpark?

As for the "One foot first, or both?" dilemma, I think this is going to be one of those controversial 'school of thought' issues. I think it's important to get to scooting/skating soon, but safely, and so think letting beginners get a feel for the dynamics of the board with both feet strapped in is safer than with just one. Once the board's behaviour on the snow is then appreciated, then just a single foot can be tried.

By 'triangular integrity' I mean the triangle made by the legs secured at the pelvis (triangle apex) and both bound feet secured to the board (triangle base). This is why snowboard bindings are not quick release - the legs are safer maintained strapped to the board when wiping out, vs detaching.

Psychology does play a part, sure. But, falling over is going to happen a lot. The beginner should understand that, and get comfortable with the prospect, and know how best to cope with it (defensive ways to land). I've known people fail to progress because they're very scared of falling over (again), so they never attempt turns because the 'caught edge' awaits them.

I once saw an instructor send a bunch of virgin boarders down a gentle slope (to a flat area), feet in both bindings, and let them figure out how to stop (invariably by falling over). Presumably this was to get them used to the falling over bit. But then perhaps they were army cadets rather than paying customers?

Do feel free to produce a rewrite, and post it as your view of what should be taught to a beginner and in what order. That's half the reason I posted my effort - to get the ball rolling - not to assert the 'one true way'. But, it's still interesting to analyse why some instructors prefer to do things in certain ways or orders.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'd agree with the 15°-15° duck for a beginner, especially with anyone who doesn't come from a Skate /surf /woteva background, although they would learn well from it too.
The brain might have a preference for whichever direction is ' forwards' but by placing the beginner in an environment (centered duck, twin tip) where they can learn movements in all directions, it can only be good practice and would emphasise how simple and playful snowboarding can be.
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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?
crosbie wrote:
If you know how to 'pull documentation', please do and post it here.

Sorry, I thought everyone knew how to pull things off the internet.
  1. Use a search engine to find a snowboard teaching system course documentation.
  2. Download it.
Here's an example: https://www.casi-acms.com/index.php/en/tools-level-4-crse-guide

Seriously, if you're not aware of all this already then it may be best to simply hire an instructor.
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@philwig, +1
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
philwig wrote:
Sorry, I thought everyone knew how to pull things off the internet.
  1. Use a search engine to find a snowboard teaching system course documentation.
  2. Download it.
Here's an example: https://www.casi-acms.com/index.php/en/tools-level-4-crse-guide

Seriously, if you're not aware of all this already then it may be best to simply hire an instructor.


One should be wary of assuming what anyone knows or doesn't know - let alone what everyone knows or doesn't.

Anyway, the URL you've so knowledgeably provided appears to be concerned with the appraisal of a trainee snowboard instructor - not the order in which snowboarding skills should be taught.

Have another go. NehNeh
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You'll need to Register first of course.
crosbie wrote:


Have another go. NehNeh


please don't.

there are 6 matches to the word "leash" in this thread. That should be reason enough to just let the thread die before someone searches the internet and finds it.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
The Northern Movement wrote:
Never teach people how to fall


It's all about the insurance.... wink


But seriously, it is possible to teach beginners to fall and make it fun, without filling their heads with images of hospitals and pain.
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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!
Quote:

As for the beginner's duck stance of +15/-15, now that is interesting. Do you think that's far better than say 20/5, or even 30/10? Perhaps it depends whether the beginner feels destined for the piste or the snowpark?


Because most people at the 100% beginner stage aren't certain enough of their right/left stance to benefit from anything other than a centered duck stance.

I don't get the point of this. Why do you want to compare different teaching orders OP? A good instructor will switch things up depending how the student is progressing anyway.
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kat.ryb wrote:
Because most people at the 100% beginner stage aren't certain enough of their right/left stance to benefit from anything other than a centered duck stance.


I suspect a lot of uncertainty is "uncertainty as to why my kicking foot should be at the rear" which may well manifest as "uncertainty as to which leg feels more natural - if any". So, it may be tricky to determine whether someone is truly ambidextrous vs simply in a conceptual quandary. Given the former is relatively rare, I lean toward starting with 21/6, leaving the duck stance as an option for a student to try once they've noticed awkwardness with their kicking stance.

Quote:
I don't get the point of this. Why do you want to compare different teaching orders OP? A good instructor will switch things up depending how the student is progressing anyway.


Either the order is important (and matters) or it is not - and/or it is also dependent upon the student. I am (and perhaps others are) interested to know what others think (and what various snowboard teaching organisation think). It's a matter of eclecticism.
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