Today’s reader question:
How do I use my legs correctly to ride rough snow? People tell me to bend my knees to absorb the impacts, but I’m not sure what that means besides just bending my knees.
So basically if you’ve ridden after fresh snowfall, you’ll know it’s awesome, but incredibly tiring later in the day because of the bumps and choppy snow that get built up all over the run.
Bent AND relaxed legs are the key to riding over rough snow when you want to absorb the impact and keep riding. Here’s how it works:
Relax those legs when riding straight
You may have heard you need to keep your legs tensed and power through the snow when you turn. This is true for some turning, but when you’re riding straight your legs shouldn’t always be tensed.
When going straight it’s important to learn to relax those legs and start riding OVER the snow instead of fighting your way through the bumps all the time.
Anytime I’m riding in a straight line my legs turn into relaxed suspension systems that absorbs all the impact before they throw my body off balanced making me work twice as hard.
How ‘suspension legs’ works:
You want to absorb the bumps, not stiffen up when you see them, which is the mistake a lot of snowboarders tend to do. The key here is your upper body is relatively still while my legs are doing all the bopping around and doing all the work to absorb the impact.
Think of it like a car with and without suspension.
The suspension is there to make sure the upper body of the car doesn’t get jolted around, just like your legs are there to make sure your upper body doesn’t get thrown around sending you off balanced.
When you hit a bump you want your legs to be relaxed so they can rise up and absorb that impact, which allows you to ride straight over the bump without getting send into the air.
If they aren’t relaxed the impact gets transferred up to your body and you get thrown upwards and off balance.
So basically you want bent legs, but also relaxed legs that can move up and down to absorb the up and down bumpiness of rough snow before it gets to your waist and upper body.
Let your lower body flow and absorb those bumps so you ride over the rough terrain.
Hope that answers your question.
ps – try to watch experienced snowboarders riding through rough. bumpy terrain. Their legs will look like jet pistons moving up and down while their upper body stays still and in control.