Today’s reader question:
I’m learning to hit the terrain park, but I’m not doing spins of fancy tricks. Just 50/50s and straight airs. Do I still need to learn to ride switch?
Well, you don’t *HAVE* to learn switch, although it’s a good idea. Let me explain…
Who doesn’t need to learn to ride switch?
If you’re someone who never wants to do any freestyle tricks and is happy with just riding down groomed runs, hitting tree runs and riding deep powder filled bowls, you don’t need to learn switch.
I know a few people like that who are good snowboarders, but horrible switch riders. For them, they don’t care because they never have any real need to ride switch. They are perfectly happy just riding regular all the time and staying out of the park and staying away from freestyle.
Who needs to learn to ride switch?
If you have any intention to progress your freestyle tricks past the most basic straight airs and 50/50s, you have to learn switch. You simply can’t go far in freestyle without being able to ride switch.
Even just being able to ride switch on a very mellow blue run is enough for a start, but you do need to make this start to get into freestyle tricks like 180s and boardslides to fakie which both require switch riding.
Not to mention the countless other tricks and spins that require good switch carving.
Why you should learn to ride switch either way:
The thing I’ve always said about switch riding is that the longer you leave it, the harder it gets to learn switch. Maybe you don’t want to do any freestyle tricks now, but who knows, down the line you might.
Maybe you never want to do jumps, but who knows, maybe one day you’ll see someone do a simple 180 butter trick on a green run and think “That looks fun… I want to do that!” then suddenly you’ll realize you need to learn to ride switch.
Let’s say that by then you’re a confident snowboarder hitting double black tree runs at mach 5 when you realize you want to learn switch. It’s going to suck for you to go from your insanely confident regular riding to falling on green runs trying to make switch turns.
The longer you leave it, the bigger the skill gap grows between your regular and switch riding and the more awkward it’ll feel for you to learn switch later.
So even if you don’t intend to get into freestyle, just getting your switch riding to a level where you can do basic green/blue runs is pretty much always a smart idea.