I’ve always been a casual snowboarder, and when I learned how to get down my local Mountain with a little speed and without falling, I enjoyed it enough to just stick with that.
Now I know to start small and work my way up, and what my general progression should be, but when I go into the park I get really bored really quickly because of my inability to do anything fun, and I quickly end up back on rest of the mountain.
I feel like if I could get a little ways into it it could be really rewarding though, so my questions really come down to this…
Here are the rest of his questions and my answers:
1) Is it worth learning park in the first place?
Well that totally depends on you. Do you want to do tricks and do you enjoy learning tricks? No one else can really answer that besides you.
If you have no interest in freestyle and just want to make turns down hills, you don’t need to learn freestyle. It’s just one part of snowboarding and learning park isn’t mandatory.
Do what you enjoy doing, that’s what snowboarding is all about.
2) Is there a way to get better at riding switch without just relentlessly doing it until it’s solid?
No. You have to ride switch to get better at switch and it all starts with riding down those green runs switch and forcing yourself to do it.
The truth is the longer you wait to learn switch, the harder it’ll get for you to force yourself to ride switch. If you intend to learn switch, you need to start right away before the gap between your regular and switch gets bigger.
3) What can I do while I’m bored at home that will help? (is building/ buying my own rail/box worth it?)
Yes, building your own rail/box is worth it to learn basic movements. It’ll give you a better idea of how you need to rotate your body during different rail tricks such as boardslides on boxes.
You can also practice flatground 360s without a snowboard strapped in. Just stand in your living room and replicate the movements of a 360 (eg – bending your knees, pre-winding your upper body, releasing and popping off both feet, looking in the right direction as you land etc. etc.)
It may be a little beyond where you’re at now, but when you do start working on 360s, I recommend being able to do flatground 360s, without a board, in your living room 100% of the time before you even attempt a 360 on snow.
It’s an excellent way to get a better understanding of basic 360 technique before you take it to the snow. After all, how can you expect to do a 360 off a jump if you can’t even figure out the basic technique in your living room.
4) How soon can I expect to actually be having fun in the park?
If you’re not having fun progressing right now, you’re honestly doing something wrong OR park just isn’t for you.
It could be that you’re not taking the right steps and just hucking yourself off jumps and rails and that’s not as fun because you’ll fall a lot and progress will be less noticeable.
With park you want to be breaking things down and progressing step-by-step, not trying to do the complete trick right away.
Eg – to learn to hit a jump, you start by airing off small side hits like cat tracks first and learn how to ‘pop’ properly off both legs and learn to stay balanced and land balanced. Only then do you take it to a jump in the park and even then it’s a progression of learning 1 new step at a time.
It does sound like you know this already, but if you’re doing all those things and not having fun, then maybe park isn’t for you. Some people just prefer freeriding to park and that is 100% okay.
With park riding, you should be having fun the entire time, even when you’re falling because half the fun of freestyle is pushing yourself to get better and the satisfaction of taking things step-by-step until you finally nail that trick you’ve been working so hard to learn.
5) Are lessons something I should consider?
Yes. If you want to get better at park, getting a good lesson from a trained park instructor will be very beneficial.
If you can’t afford a proper park lesson, you can also check out online trick tip videos, plenty of those around and those are very good for getting the basic outline of how certain tricks work as you’re trying to learn them.
However, do note that online trick tips are best as a supplement to in person lessons and I’d still recommend you take a freestyle lesson if you’re serious about getting better at freestyle, regardless of whether you look at online trick tip videos or not.
I consider trick tip videos to be a start to learning a trick, but between that and actually landing the trick are many questions and issues you’ll have, and those in person lessons can really help push you past those roadblocks where a trick tip video will leave you hanging.
Hope that helps.
ps – If you’re interested in both freestyle trick tip videos on how to spin, hit rails and do flatground tricks, we have an entire training program that goes over everything step-by-step (and also goes into far more freestyle tips that other trick tip videos don’t cover).
It’s a private freestyle training program just for Snomie.com that we’re re-opening soon, so make sure you’re on our waitlist here so you don’t miss out.