If you want to get good at freestyle and park riding, you should spend a lot of time in the park right? Well yes, but not ALL your time.
On a snowboard forum, another snowboarder who is very determined to improve his freestyle tricks was asked what he usually rode at the resort. This was his response:
good conditions = park
bad conditions = park
foggy = park
pow = the closest un-groomed run to the park, and park
Honestly, that’s too much park, even for a park focused rider and unfortunately I think a lot of people trying to improve their park skills fall into this trap. They think just because they want to get better at park it means they have to ride park 100% of the time.
However, that’s not how it really works.
Why you need to ride outside the park to improve your park skills
There are a lot of skills that you are far easier to develop outside the park. Steep chutes, tight tree runs, carving steep open runs. Mastering and riding that terrain WILL help a park rider, because it adds to your overall snowboard control.
- It’s possible to practice carving in the park, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to practice it on a groomed run.
- It’s possible to practice small tight turns in the park, but it’s a heck of a lot easier (and more fun) to practice it while flying through a tight tree run.
- It’s possible to practice switch riding in the park, but it’s a heck of a lot easier on an open run.
What I’m getting at is you never want to become a rider that’s so focused on ‘park skills’ that you forget that many snowboard skills that help you ride park are skills that are best learnt outside the park.
Trust me, I’m a big park guy myself. I spend 90% of my time lapping the park. However, I still force myself to ride outside the park on the odd occasion to make sure I’m keeping my overall snowboard skills from getting rusty.
Who knows, maybe you’ll even find out that tight tree runs on a powder day are insanely fun…