How to Practice Snowboarding Without Snow
Unless you live at the North Pole, you probably don't have the advantage of year-round snow upon which to practice snowboarding. You may think that the offseason is only good for building anticipation for next year's snowboarding opportunities and not the time for practice. But you don't have to let lack of snow stand in your way of conditioning your body and mastering skills you need for shredding the slopes and tearing up the fresh powder.
Master a Similar Sport
When you have no snow to board on, look to a similar sport as the next best thing to keep in practice and improve your snowboarding skills. Snowboarding pros and competitors such as Broc Waring and Shaun White are skateboarders, too, and they credit the alternative sport with helping their snowboarding. That's because the two sports have a lot in common. To skateboard well, you have to have stability and balance as you do with snowboarding. You'll have to ride the opposite way you normally do when you hit a mini ramp on a skateboard, and mastering that move helps when you have to make switch maneuvers on your snowboard. Many of the jumps and tricks are shared between skate and snowboarding, too, such as spinning, halfpipes and rail and box tricks. Use a large-carve skateboard, which will help you with turning and weaving, as Nancy Worrell advises in her 2008 book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Backyard Adventures."
Utilizing a Trampoline
Practicing in the offseason on a trampoline will increase your stamina, as well as help you master flipping and jumping tricks. Once you've perfected moves such as spinning, flipping and inverting, go a step further and take your snowboard with you onto the tramp, like World Cup snowboarder Liu Jiayu does. Strapping on your snowboard while practicing jumping, grabs and flipping on a trampoline is as close as you can get to practicing those same moves on the snow. You can even practice rails by sticking a length of masking tape across the middle of your trampoline. Visualize the tape strip as a rail as you jump onto it from every direction.
Snowboarding is physically demanding, so offseason training when there's no snow should include working out to condition your body. That way you'll be able to withstand a challenging season of snowboarding with minimal soreness and no injuries. Aerobic exercise such as biking and running will get your cardiovascular system into shape. Strength training your full body and not just your legs will help avoid injury and assist you with making moves, jumping and stomping tricks. In an article for the National Ski Patrol, Linda Crockett of the American Association of Snowboard instructors also recommends that stretching be a daily part of offseason training to improve flexibility.
Exercises for Snowboarding
Plyometric exercises are almost tailor-made for snowboarding. Include exercises such as box jumps, squat jumps and stair jumps in your offseason snowboard training. Perform depth jumps to practice proper landing technique. One of the exercises backcountry snowboarder Jussi Oksanen recommends involves employing a Bosu ball to do single leg stability hops. Oksanen says this exercise helps avoid injury during faulty landings and prepares you for soft landings.
- National Ski Patrol: Conditioning For Skiing and Snowboarding
- EZIA: Snowboard Training with Jussi Oksanen
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Backyard Adventures; Nancy Worrell
- Snomie.com: Off Season Training – Will Skateboarding Help Your Snowboarding?
- Team USA: Broc Waring
- Team USA: China Team Features Ex-Gymnasts, Martial Artists
- Sports35.net: How a Snowboard and a Trampoline Can Fast Track You to Snow Success
- The Science of Snowboarding; Lori Hile
- Christopher Polk/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images