How Weather Affects Your Snowboarding & How To Adapt Your Riding

How to adjust your riding based on the weather and slope conditions

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.

– Jed

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  1. “Pushing yourself in bad conditions is a big mistake.” – Jed.

    I totally agree, with first hand experience.

    At the end of last season I felt my knees could no longer handle the abuse and decided to call it a year for snowboarding and turned to ski for the last few days, as first time skier.

    On day one, it was raining. After ski lesson I thought… man I know how to do snowplough, I know how to turn and I know the beginner area up the mountain very well I should give it a go and leave this crowded newbie zone fast. And I have my poncho for the rain. I will be fine up there.

    With that I took the lift to the top of the mountain to find that it was raining harder and very windy. I should have turn back and download from the lift, but I didn’t. Instead I proceed on to the beginner area. Out in the wide opening the poncho acted like sail. I could hardly break.

    Struggled, but eventually made it to the bottom of beginner area (which is half way up the mountain on the ridge.)

    I took another lift back up to the top and gave it another go. For a split second I wanted to just turn right to the main lift to download back to the village because there was not a single rider in the area. Unfortunately, I decided against it and proceeded with my ski down the run. Very stupid decision.

    What happened next left me regret to this day. As I slid down the slop, in moderate rain and heave wind, a big gust of cross-wind blew hard at my poncho and I was blown off to the side of the run twisting my knees in the process.

    The twist injured some muscle in around my left knee. Luckily, it wasn’t the knee cap itself. The injury still last to this day after 7 months. Not bad now, but I can’ still feel it when bending or stretching my knee to some angles.

    I learnt my lesson and will never again overestimate my ability and underestimate the effect of bizarre weather condition.

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