Are You Stopping Yourself From Becoming A Better Snowboarder?

Want to land a 360? How about doing a perfect frontside boardslide down a steep rail? Join the club… almost every snowboarder learning freestyle wants smooth spins and stylish rail tricks.

However, most don’t get there. While on TV it may look like every pro boarder is doing triple cork spins, that’s the top 1% of all snowboarders. The other 99% will never reach that level.

I’d go as far as to say that only the top 5% of all snowboarders will ever be able to do stylish 360 spins consistently and far less will go on to learn fancy cork or double corked spins.

Why I’m telling you this…

I’m not saying this to discourage you, but rather to be realistic and tell you why so many boarders don’t get there.

Most snowboarders don’t get there because of 2 things:

  1. Lack of time on snow
  2. Snowboard ADD

Let’s look at this further.

Lack of time on snow is a roadblock… sometimes…

The average snowboarder only gets 1-2 trips to the snow per year, if that. They simply don’t get enough time on snow to learn smooth freestyle techniques because by the time they start to understand things, their year is over.

It’s pretty dam hard to learn to stomp smooth 360s if you only ride 1-5 days per year. Not going to happen.

However, I don’t take most of you guys as the 1-5 day per year type of snowboarders. If you’re reading this blog and serious about getting better, you’re probably not a casual snowboarder.

You may not be a 100 day per year rider, but from my last survey of the Snomie.com readers, most of you guys at least try to get out to the snow when you can and roughly sit between 10-25 days on snow per year.

I’ll tell you a secret… that’s enough to learn smooth 360s and put you in that top 5% of snowboarders. It’s not exactly easy, but it is doable.

So… if it’s possible to do on a limited amount of days on snow, why do so many snowboarders still struggle to learn smooth spins and stylish rail tricks?

Snowboard ADD

I call the problem snowboard ADD because it’s how most snowboarders learning freestyle behave and it stops them from mastering most techniques. They jump from one thing to another thing to another thing.

One day it’s trying to spin off jumps, another day it’s riding trees, another day it’s riding groomers. Look I get it. Snowboarding is fun and it’s good to mix it up, but if I’m honest, 10 to 25 days on snow isn’t much time to learn.

Humans love to multi-task and it goes for snowboarding too. We like to juggle and learn 50 different things at once.

And you know what, it’s actually possible to become a kickass snowboarder while learning 50 skills mashed together over 100 days on the slope. After all, that’s how most pros and locals become good snowboarders.

They learn everything and do it from a young age so that by the time they’re 18 they’ve become amazingly in all areas of snowboarding. However, most of you guys don’t have 100 day seasons every year like them.

So you can either do one of two things if you want to join that 5% of snowboarders with smooth style and mastery of basic freestyle techniques like 360s and frontside boardslides:

Focus or move to a ski resort and get 100-200 days per season.

What focus means…

I’m going to assume most of you aren’t going to move to a ski resort right away and you have your reasons for not doing so, but that means you have to focus if you want to learn freestyle.

This means not bouncing around with snowboard ADD and doing everything. If you want to learn 360s, then focus on 360s until you get it down.

Trust me, you’ll learn faster with focus on one snowboard technique/area at a time. If you want to do 360s, then break it down. What do you need to learn? Carving? Straight airs? Jumps? Popping?

Make a list and go through it until you master each of the skills you need. Don’t bounce around randomly like every other snowboarder.

It’s simple: If every 10 to 25 day snowboarder bounces around learning 50 different snowboard skills and isn’t able to learn smooth spins or stylish rail tricks, then don’t expect to be able to do it by doing the same thing.

You can’t expect to master snowboard techniques quickly if you jump from technique to technique before getting some mastery of each technique first.

Be different and focus on the exact individual skills that you need to learn to get to where you want with your freestyle riding. That’s how you learn fast and effectively when you have limited days to snowboard.

- Jed

ps: Or move to a ski resort… just throwing it out there ;)

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Comments

  1. Good point about making the dream realistic.
    I have 1 remark though. It’s possible to learn a few thing at the same time if the park setup is good. I’m most of the time indoor boarding, and if the park is well constructed, it means it has a rail style feature or two on the top, then a kicker, and some basic jibbing object on the bottom. So if you’re a bit creative and focused you can easily do 3 different things in one run (for instance: a frontside boardslide on top, then a jump you’re working on, and a backside boardslide maybe with rotation on the bottom).
    It’s best to know at the top what you want to do each time you come up to the next roller. That’s how I’m practicing now. 1 fixed rail trick (training) , 1 fixed jump trick (training), and then a wildcard.

    • Yep nothing wrong with doing a few freestyle skills to take advantage of the terrain.

      When I say don’t bounce around I mean it more for those people who learn freestyle skills one day then go ride groomers or something totally different the next day. Not very efficient learning.

      As long as you’re working on specific skills you want to master in an efficient manner then it’s a good way to learn. Grouping freestyle skills like this to take advantage of the park setup is definitely not snowboard add, it’s just smart planning.

      • I get what you mean with snowboard ADD. It’s especially ment for those beginners out there.
        Several friends that started out a year or 2 ago suddenly want to learn everything at once. They’ve barely been on the slopes for a week in total and already are they trying to dial down switch riding because they see me do it. I always tell them that’s it’s not necessary to learn switch that early, and that it will come in time if they get more comfortable. If you haven’t got a good riding technique regular, how will you ever be able to have a good technique the other way around?

        Copying others, isn’t that a problem we all have when we see someone better than us?

  2. Haha, I think this is definitely describing how I started out this season. After a few days I’ve been focusing my goals a little more though.

    “If you want to do 360s, then break it down. What do you need to learn? Carving? Straight airs? Jumps? Popping?”

    I think you make a really good point here and I think its something worth expanding on. Perhaps even spending an entire post on. I’ve found while really trying to learn 180s a lot of (online) resources focus just on the trick itself (understandably). I’ve kind of had to put it together though from bits and pieces of these resources that there is A lot that goes in to the trick before you even attempt it.

  3. Haha, I think this is definitely describing how I started out this season. After a few days I’ve been focusing my goals a little more though.

    “If you want to do 360s, then break it down. What do you need to learn? Carving? Straight airs? Jumps? Popping?”

    I think you make a really good point here and I think its something worth expanding on. Perhaps even spending an entire post on. I’ve found while really trying to learn 180s a lot of (online) resources focus just on the trick itself (understandably). I’ve kind of had to put it together though from bits and pieces of these resources that there is A lot that goes in to the trick before you even attempt it.

    • seito: I have my own list of pre-requisite tricks that I use to analyse a trick.

      For jumps:
      - Carving regular and switch.
      - Ollie and popping + soft landing.
      - Straight air.
      - Shifty.
      - Grabs.
      - 180 frontside and backside in regular and switch (I consider this as a basic trick although it’s made up of some pre-requisite tricks above. The rotation itself is the only part where you don’t really have a basic trick to train for. Perhaps the feeling of doing tiny buttered 180′s on the slope comes closest to the feeling of rotating during a 180).
      - Frontflip and backflip.

      I don’t put in the 360 because it is actually a combination of 2 different 180′s. But you can always count it as pre-requisite if you want.

      For rails:
      - Carving regular and switch.
      - Ollie and popping + landing.
      - Straight air.
      - Shifty.
      - Riding with your board totally flat.
      - Shuffling on a box (= like shifty in the air).
      - Nose and tail presses.
      - Buttering on the slope (although on a rail/box you use absolutely no edge!).
      - 50-50.
      - Frontside and backside boardslide (altough it is made up of the above tricks).
      (- 180′s and more if you’re doing more advanced tricks).

      For instance a simple frontside boardslide can be seen as:
      1) a carve up to the side of the rail
      2) a pop towards the rail
      3) a shifty in the air to bring you board perpendicular
      4) the landing on the rail (flat base) with flexed knees
      5) and at the end shuffle (=shifty) back out.

      A Cab 180 is a combination of a switch frontside 180 and a 50-50:
      1) carve up to the rail in switch with your back towards the rail
      2) do a front 180 (= different pre-requisite tricks)
      3) lock the landing on the rail
      4) 50-50 down the rail
      5) land

      Did I miss anything Jed?

      • I made a mistake under Cab 180:
        2) do a SWITCH front 180 (= different pre-requisite tricks)

        • Looks like a decent list to me.

          One thing I’d note is 360s vs 180s are kind of a different trick as far as execution goes. It’s helpful to think of the landing and where you spot the trick as 2 180s put together, but also remember that the execution of the spin is different.

          180s can basically be floated around by simply being on the right edge and looking in the right direction. Next to no carving or rotation creation required for most 180s, but on the other hand 360s are more of a proper spin where you actually start thinking about your carve line and creating that rotation.

          • That’s why I mentioned you can also put 360′s under the pre-requisite tricks list.
            You’re absolutely right that you don’t really need to do a huge carve to pull a 180. But I like to do it anyway. It still looks more stylish if you carve up to the kicker and do a slowly rotated 180 instead of twisting your body and hips. It also looks more in control from a spectator’s point of view with a carve.

        • Weird, won’t let me reply to your last comment… might be too many comments nested in there.

          Anyhow, I wanted to add that as you get better with timing pop and body rotation you shouldn’t need to carve to do a smooth, slow 180.

          I’m guessing you assumed I meant counter rotating a 180 by twisting your body, but honestly just your usual smooth, slow rotated 180s can be done without carve.

          180s require very, very little rotation. Just being on an edge with good timing and pop as you rotate your head/shoulders into that 180 will make a 180 come around slowly and smoothly.

          Most people will learn using carving first, which is fine, but as your carving gets better you’ll find that the rotation comes so easily that just being on an edge creates enough rotation to do a slow 180 when combined with pop and looking/turning shoulders in the direction of the 180.

          • Adding 1 more reply :) :

            I’ll try to do it with less carve in the future. Carving too much during 180 sometimes leads to washout on the landing I’ve noticed.

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