How To Snowboard Boxes & Rails Without Falling Off

Today’s reader question:

How do I ride boxes and rails and make it all the way to the end without falling off to the left or right?

So beyond the basics which everyone will tell you (keep balanced, don’t use edges), a large part of making it to the end of the box is setting your approach line correctly.

Here are some basics for setting your approach line correctly:

1) It’s *almost* all in the approach

Yes, you do need to balance and keep your body steady on the box/rail, but beyond basic rail technique, a huge part of making it to the end of the rail is just making sure your approach line is correct.

If your approach line is aimed towards the end of the box/rail, you’ll have a good chance to make it to the end, if not, you’ll fall off early.

2) How to set your approach line for boxes/rails

It’s actually very simple. Look towards the end of the box/rail as you set your approach line. Where you look is where your snowboard will point and go, so you have to look at the end of the box to make it to the end of the box.

Don’t make the mistake of focusing so much on the start of the box/rail that you keep aiming at that point and end up angled off track because you won’t be able to fix your line once you’ve launched onto the box.

This includes once you’re on the box/rail. Don’t start looking to the sides because that’s where your body will angle and go. Look towards the end of the box/rail to keep aligned and set on the right line.

Here’s a diagram I did in a previous blog on this topic:

Sliding on a box

You get on the right course by making sure when you hop on you’re already set on that course, instead of aiming off course and trying to correct it once you’re already on the box/rail.

3) If you’re falling off, it’s okay, go with it

One more thing I’ll add is don’t try to fight against it if you get on the box and realise you’re not lined up properly and drifting off the box early. It’s fine. Go with it and just hop off early.

You can’t make major changes to your line once you’re already on the box/rail, so don’t try or you’ll end up crashing.

Remember, a lot of making it to the end of the box or rail is just making sure you set your approach path correctly by looking and aiming it towards the end of the box/rail BEFORE you launch into your 50/50 or whatever trick you’re doing.

Hope that helps 🙂

– Jed

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  1. Hey Jed,
    So are we going to look to the end of rail when we approach or first start of rail then end of it?Also,what are we going to do when we add spins before rails?(hardway,fs,bs)

    • Basically you want to be looking/aimed at the end of the rail during the approach up until you’re launching off the ramp and after you land on the rail/box (assuming the trick allows you to look forward).

      As you get better you’ll be able to quickly look at different spots on the rail without altering your line, but that comes with time and muscle memory, so that’s why every instructor tells people to look at the end of the rail at first to build up the correct muscle memory and movement.

      With spinning it gets complicated since every trick changes things a little due to where you have to look etc, but in the set up approach before you get airbourne and spin and all of that, you typically still want to be aiming to look towards where the end of the rail/box would be to set your line up correctly.

  2. So how do I get comfortable with hitting my first rails? Im already comfortable with boxes,so it going to be much different?

    • It’s very similar if it’s a flat rail (which is what you should start with for your first rails). As you get to round rails, you do start to need to use more ankle control to push against the rail slightly when landing on top, but I wouldn’t worry about that yet.

      For now, use the same technique to go from boxes to basic flat rails 🙂

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