How To Know Your Snowboard Product Isn’t A Stupid Idea

A while back I came across this snowboard workout tool that was trying to get funding on one of the many Kickstarter-like websites:

It’s basically a snowboard strapped to a balance beam type thing with resistance bands connected to it.

Honestly my first impression was this product will never sell well… and right now I see nothing to change my mind as the project isn’t anywhere close to being funded. As much as I admire the entrepreneurial spirit, this thing is quite obviously a bad idea.

And if it’s a bad idea, why am I writing about this? Well, I know a lot of you guys who read this blog are searching for ways to make snowboarding part of your job and income and I’m worried one of you might follow the ‘Snowbat’ strategy and end up wasting your time and money.

So let’s talk about why this snowboard product is a bad idea so none of you guys end up down this same path.

1) He doesn’t know his market

If you’re going to create a snowboard product, you better know your market like the back of your hand. What are their biggest frustrations? How do they think? Are they looking for solutions? Does your product solve that frustration?

If he did this one step alone he would know that his snowboard fitness product was already in trouble. He’s targeting the average snowboarder that snowboards 1-6 days a year. Most of them don’t give a dam about fitness for their short ski holiday.

And even those who care about fitness already have their needs met by one of 5000 other fitness products. A simple balance board or bosu ball and some weights/kettlebells already replaces everything this guy is trying to do with his product.

It’s not that his product doesn’t work, it’s rather that there is no need for his product and no one actively looking for a solution that doesn’t already have a ton of home fitness/gym solutions that do the same job.

2) He never asked the right people

The problem with most of these guys who start companies around bad ideas is they don’t see if people will put their money into buying the product before wasting all that time and money on the product.

He could have easily built a few of these, gone to a local gym at a ski resort and held a free class. Then after the class he could have taken feedback and seen how many people were interested in pre-ordering one of these or paying for a weekly gym class to use one of these ‘Snowbats’.

Right there he could figure out if there was enough interest because if you can’t get gym rats in a ski town to buy your crazy specialised and unnecessary snowboard fitness product then you’re not going to have much luck elsewhere.

Unfortunately, he probably listened to a few friends and family who thought it was a ‘cool idea’ and is now wasting his time and money trying to make this product into a profitable project.

The bottom line

The thing is this guy didn’t do the wrong thing by having this idea. However, instead of testing it and understanding that his target market doesn’t want or need his product, he just jumped head in without proper research or understanding.

He probably got a few people saying “Awesome idea! I’d buy it” and jumped the gun. Unfortunately for him, a few people does not make a profitable company, especially once you factor in paying yourself for your time invested.

I actually think the guy behind this ‘Snowbat’ seems like a nice guy and his entrepreneurial spirit should be admired. However, he’s going to waste a lot of time, money and effort that could be spent on a better idea.

The key to remember is you can’t educate or force people to want your product (unless you’re an insanely talented marketer or have an insanely huge ad budget). They need to already have the problem and want a solution and whatever snowboard product you have better be an awesome match.

Nothing wrong with ideas. I’ve had my share of bad ideas too. However, it’s important to test your ideas and find the ones that fit an actual ‘need’ in the snowboard market.

The difference between people who have ideas that work and those who don’t is that the ones who succeed were willing to fix, adapt or even throw out ideas that were bad. They didn’t blindly follow through when the snowboard market told them it was a bad idea.

Knowing how to test and stop following a bad idea is as much a part of being successful as coming up with the right idea.

- Jed

Stopping Snowboard Fatigue & Tired Legs By Snowboarding More?

Workout

Today’s reader question:

I go snowboarding for about a week each year and my legs tend to cramp up and get tired easily. Is this normal? Is this because of my poor technique or my equipment? Will it go away?

Firstly, this is totally normal, so let’s talk about this more:

1) Everyone gets tired legs at first

Unless you workout regularly (eg – gym 3 times a week), you’re going to feel it during your first week on snow. This is totally normal, because snowboarding works out a lot of stabilising muscles that you don’t normally use in day to day life.

Not to mention you’re constantly bending your knees and squatting during the day, so your quads and hamstrings are going to be worked hard if you do a full day on the slopes.

The only people who ride full days and don’t get tired/cramped legs during the first week of the season are people who work out regularly and do a lot of core and balance exercises.

Dead legs are something that is very, very common among most snowboarders at the start of the season, so don’t feel like you’re the only one.

2) Technique does make you more/less tired

Technique WILL play a role in how tired you get.

I ride with housemates all the time and the beginners will get tired far quicker because they’re having to strain and push their body to get their snowboard to do what they want.

At the end of the day, technique does help and you do get more efficient with your body movements as you improve your snowboarding, so don’t be surprised if you find certain runs getting easier/less tiring to ride the better you become at snowboarding.

That said, don’t assume good technique will make you superman either. I rode down peak to creek early this season (longest run in Whistler), and my legs were definitely burning during that run.

A good snowboard run can and will make your legs burn on a big powder day.

Improving snowboard fitness by snowboarding more

Okay, so here’s the easy way to improve your riding fitness if you don’t want to go to the gym. Ready for it? Snowboard more.

Literally it’s that simple. Right now you’re getting tired because you’re snowboarding for 1 week each season and your body never has time to adapt and adjust. If you do more riding, your body naturally adjusts and gets stronger.

It’s called ‘riding fitness‘ and it’s why people doing a full snowboard season don’t get as tired after the first week or two on the ski slopes. Their body adjusts and gets stronger without them doing anything else besides snowboarding regularly.

For example, I didn’t get cramped legs (thanks gym!) at the start of the season, but my legs were tired after a full day during opening week. Now we’re in month 2+ of the season and I can ride all day just fine.

My gym routine and everything else stayed the same and that endurance came from just snowboarding 5-6 days a week. So while I still suggest going to the gym (it sucks, but it has to be done), your legs will also naturally become stronger and more stable if you snowboard regularly.

Try spending more then a week on the slopes each season and after that you won’t be cramping up and having dead legs at the end of every day. Heck, it’s as good an excuse as any to go snowboard more :p

- Jed

ps – I’ll say it again, I still highly recommend working out regularly. I know it sucks, I hate it too, but you get huge benefits from having a strong core. Riding longer and being less injury prone are benefits that are well worth the time you spend in the gym.

3 Simple Ways To Improve Your Snowboard Balance Without Snowboarding

Today’s reader question:

Do you have any tips for improving my balance while I’m at home?

There are a few ways that I work and improve my balance from home.

I used each of these 3 methods while re-learning to walk and re-gaining my balance skills after my knee surgeries, so I know that work (and I continue to use them to this day).

1) Add a bosu ball to your normal leg exercises

This is a Bosu ball:

Bosu Ball

You can take nearly all your basic leg exercises and stick a bosu ball into the workout to make it a balance exercise.

For example, one exercise that I usually incorporate into my routine is a one leg lunges with a bosu ball. I simply place my forward leg onto the bosu ball while I carry weights and lunge forward like normal.

If you want to do more athletic building balance exercises there are also a ton of drills you can do involving jumping on and off bosu balls.

Basically, in all the exercise routines and the balance rehab training that I’ve done with gym trainers, bosu ball exercises were always standard in basically every single balance improvement workout that I’ve ever been given.

2) Yoga – it’s not just for girls

I know most guys refuse to do yoga, but it’s amazing for balance and stability training and a lot harder than it looks. Yoga works on a whole different set of stability and control muscles than traditional workouts, which is why it’s awesome for balance training.

To this day I still credit yoga as one of the few workouts that was able to strengthen the stabilizer and balancing muscles in my post-ACL surgery leg.

Plus yoga girls are usually in good shape… just saying.

3) Build your own practice jib

One of my favourite tools is a simple wooden jib rail that you can build yourself. You can strap into your snowboard and literally hop onto the rail to practice all sorts of snowboard balance tricks and techniques.

It’s a great way to train and improve the same balance techniques that you’d have to use for all sorts of different snowboard rail tricks.

Eg:

Practice Jib Box

Here’s how you build your own practice jib box: How to build a snowboard practice jib box

So those are the 3 basic things I do for working on my balance off the ski slopes. Hope that answers your question!

- Jed

ps – you can also build your own balance beam. One of our readers built one himself and he sent over some photos and instructions, so I’ll have a blog up detailing ‘how to build your own balance beam’ up in the next week sometime.

Why You Don’t Need To Be Naturally Strong & Athletic To Be A Good Snowboarder

Workout

Today’s reader question:

Help! I’m a small guy, skinny and generally not great at sports. I’m worried I won’t be good at snowboarding. Any advice would be appreciated.

Firstly, you don’t need to be big, muscular or good at sports to be a good snowboarder, so stop worrying about that ;) You’ll do fine and none of those factors will stop you from learning how to snowboard and going on to become a kickass rider.

Don’t take this to mean that being strong and naturally good at sports isn’t a benefit to learning snowboarding, but it’s not a mandatory requirement.

Let me tell you a secret…

I’m skinny. Really skinny. In high school I was literally the skinniest guy in high school. I wasn’t short, but I was about 180-181 cm (5’11″ to 6′) and my weight was about 60ish kg (132 lbs).

Today, at 24 years, I’m still only about 72 kg (158 lbs) after a lot of work, which is still a little underweight for my height and I’d regard myself as a pretty good snowboarder.

I’m not some super pro spinning double cork 1080s, but I hold my own on the big park features and I can spin up to a 1080 depending on the trick / spin direction.

Why your natural body type doesn’t matter

The fact is, there’s plenty of naturally skinny snowboarders out there who absolutely kill it. Have you seen how skinny Shaun White is? Sure he’s done a lot of work at the gym to put muscle on, but you can still tell that he’s naturally skin and bones.

Heck, you don’t even have to go to super pro realms to see good riders who are naturally skinny guys.

Take my friend Nev, the guy who founded SnowboardAddiction.com and used to do competitions as a pro rider. He’s all skin and bones, barely works out besides the occasional bit of yoga and he kills it on the slopes.

While I do think that working out and building up some physical strength will benefit your riding, I also don’t feel like it’s a requirement… especially not after seeing the amount of pros who never touch any weights or work out.

Why your weight doesn’t matter

Height means nothing. In fact, being shorter is probably a benefit to you in the ski / snowboard world. Your center of gravity is actually lower due to being shorter, which actually makes it easier to spin and rotate.

One of my friend’s who’s an amazing snowboarder, but who’s quite short, refers to himself as ‘pro height’ because he’s like many of the pro skiers and snowboarders you’ll meet… aka a lot shorter than you’d expect in person.

What you can do to improve your athleticism and strength

If you’re really concerned about it, change it. It can be done. Save a little money, get a decent personal trainer and get him to design a program for strength and building balance/athleticism.

After all, I’m not anti working out or building muscle. Far from it actually. I think working out is a very good idea and I think more snowboarders should be taking care of themselves if they want to prolong the time their body can snowboard and reduce their chances of injury.

Also, please don’t feel you have to have an expensive gym membership. There’s A LOT of exercises you can do with a simple chin up bar, an exercise ball and a cheap set of free weights.

That stuff won’t set you back more than $100-200 for the exercise gear, which is cheap when you think about the cost of your snowboard gear or a full time gym membership.

Ps – Don’t feel you have to spend your life at the gym

Overall you’ll probably need to give up a minimum of 3 hours a week to work out if you do choose to start exercising and building your strength and balance.

You can do more if you’re really into it or you want results faster, but let’s face it, the average joe is not concerned about getting huge muscles or going workout crazy. 3 times per week, 1 hour per session is more than enough to keep you in good riding shape.

If you want to go really hardcore, you can try P90X which I’ve had good results from and can recommend. I’ve just finished a 90 day set of that and had decent results.

Just be aware that programs like P90X are 1 hour+ of working out every day for 90 days, so it’s not for everyone and you have to be very motivated to finish it.

Hope this helps answer your question and good luck! If a skinny guy like me can do it, you’ll do just fine yourself.

- Jed

One Thing That Requires Next To No Effort & Will Improve Your Snowboarding (NSFW)

People always want snowboard tips that will improve their results right away, well here it is. Start stretching a few times a week and before each day on the slopes.

Here, I’ll even give you a stretching video that most of you guys will actually enjoy watching:

If that’s not enough convincing, here’s a few more reasons you should be stretching:

1) More stylish, tweaked out grabs

You want to do crazy stylish methods, japan airs and tweaks like the pros? It’ll be a lot easier if you can actually reach past your toes.

Japan airs, nose/tailbones, methods, taipans, the list goes on! You need flexibility to do crazy grabs, so start stretching and you’ll find it easier to reach and tweak your grabs.

2) It requires next to no effort

Look at all the things that are required to improve your snowboarding. Most of them require you to exercise or a lot of trial and error and falling. Stretching requires none of that.

It’s literally 5-10 min at the start of the day and 15 min every 2-3 days if you want to be really flexible. That’s nothing. You can do that while watching TV.

I’m not sure if there’s any other snowboard training out there that can make you a better snowboarder and can be done while watching family guy in your living room.

3) You’re hurt less at the end of the day

You know that sore, painful ache in your muscles that comes at the end of a long day on the slopes? It’ll suck a lot less if you stretch regularly.

Most of that pain comes from working your muscles and stretching is one of the best things you can do to help your muscles adjust to the strain of being worked.

It’s science! Literally.

4) Less chance of injury

Being warmed up and having your body warm lowers your chances of getting injured. Not only are you less likely to pull or damage a muscle, but your whole body performs much better after being warmed up with some light stretching.

It’s silly that snowboarding has higher risk and more impact damage than most other sports, yet people in other sports take more care to warm up before participating.

We should be stretching just as much if not more than people who play basketball or football.

- Jed

ps – that youtube girl has a whole range of fitness videos… just saying…