Alright, so let’s talk about how you can use pressure control to change and manage your snowboarding speed. In simple terms, this means you can go faster or slower by changing how you lean on your snowboard when making a turn.
Here’s how this works.
1) What is pressure and how do I apply it?
When snowboarders talk about ‘applying pressure’ during a turn, they are talking about using your body to lean and apply pressure to the edges of your snowboard as you turn.
Turning on the edges of our snowboard is applying pressure and creates a build up of momentum and force that can be used to make us go faster.
So, how can we apply pressure differently to control our speed? Well, here’s how.
2) Earlier pressure creates more speed
So you know how we gain speed the quickest when we point our snowboard straight downhill? We can use pressure to amplify this effect on the ski slopes.
In the diagram below is the line you make as you turn down the ski slope. I’ve broken up the turn into 3 sections.
Green – If you apply pressure earlier in a turn, you’ll be able to ‘slingshot’ yourself as you turn towards the downward slope of the hill. You gain the most speed when applying pressure in the green zone.
Red – If you apply pressure later in the turn, you’ll accelerate less because you’re turning away from the downward slope of the hill. You still gain speed, but you’ll gain less speed than the green zone because you’re telling your snowboard to stop pointing straight downhill.
Yellow – Everything in between the green and red zones keeps your speed steady. Applying pressure during the yellow section gives you gradual acceleration.
All we’re doing here is using pressure with or against the downward slope of the hill to amplify the effects that the slope is already having on our speed.
You can mix and match and apply pressure at different stages of each turn to alter how much speed you gain. This way if you only want to gain a little speed, you apply more pressure towards the end of the turn and if you want to gain a lot of speed you apply more pressure at the start of each turn.
One more thing…
You might find that it’s harder for you to apply pressure at the start of each turn. That’s normal.
Being able to control your snowboard during the early parts of a turn is something that comes with time and you won’t be able to do it right after you learn how to turn.
The better you get at turning and the more experienced you get with controlling your snowboard, the more you’ll find yourself being able to control the early stages of each turn.
Hope this helps your shredding!