Getting Comfortable With Speed While Snowboarding
Once you move beyond the beginner levels of snowboarding, you'll want to advance to steeper hills where you will gain much more speed. When you get up to higher speeds, you want to feel comfortable and in control of your board. A few fundamentals about controlling speed will give you the confidence needed for these steeper trails.
Practice Perfect Snowboard Posture
When preparing to head down a steep run and start gaining speed, you need to maintain the proper posture to keep control of your board. Bend your knees and stay in an athletic stance with your shoulders in line with your hips and knees, and your weight centered on the board. Staying centered on your board is the only way to maintain stability while gaining speed. Leaning forward or back on your board will increase your chances of wiping out at high speeds.
Skidding to Control Speed
If you're a little afraid of gaining too much speed, being confident in your ability to skid to slow down or come to a complete stop on the hill will make you much more comfortable. Turn your board horizontally on the hill, so the front of your body is facing downhill. Put pressure on your heel edge and slow yourself to a stop. Skidding is a great way to slow yourself down and take a break when you've gained too much speed.
Pivot Turns to Control Speed
Pivot turns are a more advanced way to control your speed on a steep hill. To pivot turn, put your weight on your front foot and swing your back leg around. Put pressure on your front foot at the beginning of the turn and on your back foot at the end of the turn. Do this same sweeping motion until you reach the bottom of the hill. These small, sharp turns will keep you from gaining too much speed on a steep slope.
Carving to Increase or Decrease Speed
Once you're comfortable with controlling your speed, you can work on increasing and decreasing your speed while carving. Carving is when you make wide turns, digging your edges into the snow. These large, C-shaped turns will carry you back up the hill, slowing you down before you shift your weight to your other edge and regain speed again. Carving is one of the most fun parts of getting comfortable with speed. Eventually, you will entirely cut out the skidding and stopping on the hill, and you'll be carving down moderate and steep slopes, maintaining speed and feeling confident.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.