When it comes to controlling speed while riding the slopes, even Intermediate snowboarders struggle with this skill.
So don’t feel bad if you have to practice a bit before being comfortable with controlling your speed.
When I ask my students how to control their speed, their typical answer is “skidding” the board.
This is not wrong but we can be more specific.
Ok, let’s think about it together.
Is the reason why you are struggling with controlling speed because of the angle of the slope?
Intermediate riders can control speed on beginner slopes, but they are struggling on steeper slopes.
Is it because your skills aren’t strong enough to control your board?
Because my athletes who are hitting big jumps and rails on daily basis, they still have trouble controlling speed while turning on steeps.
When we slow down and stop while riding, certainly we are skidding our board.
Why does skidding slow you down?
When you skid, there is friction that is created between your board and snow.
But here is the other truth.
We can control speed even while carving.
As you know there is no skidding while in carving turns but controlling speed is certainly possible.
When speed is completely controlled and dominated while riding, what state is it?
Yes, it’s when we stopped and are standing still on the hill.
Because we will stop after slowing down, this state is the final result after controlling speed.
Now let’s try to bridge the gap.
Why are you scared when you need to controll speed?
It’s because you are feeling acceleration.
If you can keep a steady speed even if while sliding straight down the hill, you won’t be scared.
But since your board is pulling down the hill while your board is pointing down even a little, you will be adding more speed thanks to the gravity.
Now let’s think about why you can keep standing still on the hill while stopping.
It’s because your board is not pointing down the hill at all.
In other words, your board is perpendicular to the hill.
Yes, this is the answer for this tutorial!
When your board starts pointing down the hill, you will gain more speed every second.
But if your board is not pointing down and perpendicular to the hill, you won’t be accelerated.
So you won’t be scared.
Here is the summary for this lesson.
If you want to control your speed while riding down the hill, complete each turn as your board gets more perpendicular to the hill.
No matter if you are beginner turning on intermediate slopes or an intermediate rider turning on steeper slopes.
It’s a common skill at any level and it works even while in carving turns, moguls, trees and so on.
You can keep the same speed while your board is perpendicular to the hill, but you won’t be accelerating.
If you want to stop from this state, try to keep turning towards uphill so that your board will be pulled backwards thanks to gravity.
If you are still struggling completing each turn, check if your upper body is hindering your hips and lower body rotation into the intended direction.
Author: Shu Takaishi