What makes snowboarding different from most other sports? Highly variable conditions and terrain. Your favourite run on one day could easily be an icy deathtrap next week.
What this means, is that we need to adjust our riding to avoid getting injured and to get the most out of current slope conditions.
Here’s 3 examples of how I adjust my riding based on the conditions:
Big powder days
Start the day doing drops, chutes and steep runs before all the powder is pushed aside on the best runs. As the day goes on, I tend to start moving onto tree runs because the powder in tree areas stays rideable for longer, even if someone else has already ridden through the area before you.
Slushy warm days
I usually arrive later in the morning to give the hard ice some time to thaw and become more ridable. By late morning to mid day there’s the 2-3 hour window where the snow is soft and rideable, without being too soft. That’s when you want to do most of your riding.
As the snow gets too soft, I tend to play around more and dial down my riding to avoid getting injured if my technique gets thrown off by too much slushy snow.
Poor light and foggy days
I’ll stick to easy runs and small park features if the light is flat or if there’s fog. Never push yourself to ride difficult obstacles or learn new tricks in dangerous conditions.
Managing your risk
Pushing yourself in bad conditions is a big mistake. Don’t do it. Good riders are good not just because they practice, but because they don’t take risks that aren’t worth it.
Think about it this way. You might progress faster by riding in dangerous conditions, but if you injure yourself and can’t ride for the rest of the season you’ll miss out on far more snowboarding and progression.