How To Stay Balanced On Kinked Rails & Boxes

Today’s reader question:

How do I hit kinked rails/boxes without getting thrown off balance? I always lose balance when the box changes steepness.

So firstly, for those who aren’t on the same page, here is what a kinked rail looks like:

Kinked Snowboard Rail

A kinked rail/box is basically your standard flat rail but with a ‘kink’ that changes the steepness. They come in all shapes and sizes, but are all some sort of combination of rails changing in steepnesses.

They can have very small changes in steepness like in the photo above, or have huge changes in steepness that make them more difficult to ride.

By the way, this is where we get the name ‘flat-down’ and ‘down-flat-down’ when park riders talk about the rails/boxes that they hit. They’re basically describing the rail as it changes.

Alright, now that we’re all on the same page, let’s talk about how you hit a kinked rail without losing your balance.

Note: Obviously you should be able to hit normal rails/boxes before trying to hit a kinked rail.

1) Change your body angle as the rail changes angles

First, remember rail/box basics.

When you hit a normal rail, you match your body angle to the angle of the rail, as shown in my awesome drawing below:

Example - shoulders and body match slope of the rail.

So the first thing you need to remember with a kink rail is that this rule still applies and you still need to match your body angle to the angle of the rail.

This means when the rail changes from steep to less steep or more steep, you have to lean more or less to make sure you’re correctly aligned again as you reach each section of the rail.

  • If the kink makes the rail more flat, correct your angle to be more flat
  • If the kink makes the rail more steep, correct your angle to be more steep

2) Prepare for each kink

Alright so you know how to match your body angle to the rail, but you also need to be prepared and ready to adjust for each kinked portion. The biggest part that will screw you up is if you don’t prepare for each kink.

In particularly when it changes from steep to less steep, that’s when you’ll get a slight bump that can throw you off balance. You need to be prepared for that and ready to not only change your body angle, but also absorb some of that bump impact with your legs and core.

The bigger the change from steep to flat, the more of a bump and impact it’ll have as you ride over it, so be prepared and braced to absorb the bump.

One more thing…

Don’t forget with most kinked rails in parks, you can just air straight over them the first few times. No need to land on the rail the first time.

Feel free to air over the rail as if you were hopping onto the rail, but hop over it instead. This will help build up your confidence and get you used to hopping onto the rail.

– Jed

"How To Pick The Perfect Snowboard Setup"
"Grab's Free Snowboard Gear Guide"
25 pages of free tips including how to pick snowboards, bindings, goggles, boots and much more!


  1. Honey Badger says:

    I’d like to think I inspired this…

  2. Kevin D. says:

    I was starting to miss your drawings. 🙂

    I’ve tried it a couple of times on a D-F-D rail but I still have a long way to go. Kinked boxes are easier.
    The flat-down section is not too hard, but it’s the down-flat transition where I mess things up. Because I’m not locked in properly (I hop too far over the rail), I slide off the side just at the moment when I should 50-50 the D-F transition. If you’re sliding off sideways here, your edges get buried in the metal and it’s not a great feeling.

    So I backed off kinked rails until I can lock on a straight rail on each attempt.

    • Yep, kinked rails are definitely not an easy thing to learn right away. They’re an advanced level rail skill and one of those things that definitely takes some time to learn, but I’m sure you’ll make your way up to them eventually.

      Just about continuing to do what you’re doing. Master those basics then slowly take it to kinked rails later when you’re ready.

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