Why Your Toeside Turns Require More Work Than Heelside & How To Fix It

Snowboard Carving

One of the most common problems among most snowboarders just getting into linking turns is that their toeside turns are worse than their heelside turns. Whether we know it or not, it’s true for nearly every single learning snowboarder out there.

Why toeside turns develop slower than heelside turns

To know why heelside turns are easier, we have to look at how a good turn is performed. So in very brief terms, here’s the movements of a good turn:

  1. Head looks where you want to turn
  2. Shoulders turn in that direction
  3. Body and hips follow shoulders
  4. Knees follow
  5. Ankles also turn to continue to drive your snowboard into the direction of the turn

Turning alignment diagram

As you can see in the above list, it’s all about turning each part of your body in the direction that you want to turn. Well, heelside turns are simply easier to do just that.

Heelside turns feel more natural and come out smoother because they require us to turn our body downhill, which we naturally prefer doing because we want to be able to look downhill as we ride down the slopes.

By trying to look down the hill, we naturally turn our shoulders in the heelside direction which forces our body into a smooth heelside turn. The reverse is true for toeside turns.

When we turn toeside, the common mistake is to turn our lower body towards our toeside, while also keeping the top half of our body pointed slightly down hill. Again, this is because we naturally want to be looking downhill.

What this means is we don’t commit our whole body to turning toeside, unlike when we turn heelside. This creates a less powerful and ugly turn because half our body is looking downhill while the other half is trying to turn toeside.

You end up with what you see many beginner riders doing with the ugly downhill skid as they try to turn toeside while their upper body fights against their own turn.

How we’re going to fix our toeside turns

Thankfully, knowing is half the battle. Now that we know what’s wrong, we can fix it. The next time your on the slope, concentrate on remembering to turn your entire body into your toeside turn.

Look exactly where you want to go and remember to continue the turn with both your top and lower body and concentrated on keeping your upper body turned toeside, driving yourself into that toeside turn.

A former snowboard coach of mine once said “If you think you’re doing something 50% of the way, you’re probably only doing it 25% of the way.” He’s absolutely right.

Most of the time we may feel like we’re doing something more than we’re actually doing it, so really emphasise your movements when you turn.

You don’t have to do it all the time, but do try exaggerating your movements at first, at least until you’re sure you’ve got the hang of it.

– Jed

ps: there’s a lot more turning tips below this blog, under related posts.

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  1. After spending 4 hours practicing trying to turn onto my toe side edge and only barely making it, I can say I really think this advice will help me. I have confidence again…. for now. Wish me luck.

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