Snowboarding is just like skiing. It is a sport where speed is of the essence. In fact, speed is central to the sport. The only time you will see a person going slowly is when he or she is picking up speed. It is essential because you need it to turn around sharp corners, bypass obstacles, including people on the snowfield. Without it, the sport is no fun at all! Imagine you have a speed bike on your hands. Will you drive it slowly or fast, like it is built to be? Fast of course! The same is true for this sport.
Learning how to increase or decrease rapidity is important, especially when you are going downhill. It can make all the difference between a heroic finish and crash into a tree.
What are Cat Tracks?
One of the most common concerns of beginner snowboarders, who are learning the ropes, is that that they have problems zooming around on Cat Tracks. Cat Tracks are the ones which are perfect for beginners. They do not have a steep slope at all, but they are challenging in their own right. A Cat Track is characterized by a completely flat ground. As so can see, it is ideal for beginners to learn and practice their skills. But the advantage is also its biggest problem! Since the terrain is flat, it is sometimes hard to keep balance, and even more so to increase speed. In fact, it is said that people fall on their faces more on Cat Tracks rather than downhill!
As said above, this is one of the challenges faced by beginners. Snowboarding on a flat base may be advantageous for learning the basics like posture and body alignment, but that is about it. For advanced tips and tricks, and in order to learn more, you need to get to other terrains.
So what exactly is the problem on a flat terrain?
Well, you cannot put pressure on the edges of the snowboard to increase speed or cut corners easily in flat terrain. When you do this on a flat terrain, you fall down on the ice. This is the number one complaint of beginners? Surely, how are they supposed to learn about speed and acceleration on a base which does not allow those?
So what should you do?
The solution, therefore, is to start practicing on a base with a relatively steeper terrain, one which is almost flat. Now, we are not telling you to go down a professional runway! There is still a lot you need to learn yet. Besides, you’ll probably bump into something anyways! Take baby steps. You have just practiced on a completely flat terrain. Now choose one which is almost flat, but has a subtle slope.
Now, how will you go about in such a terrain? Is it not dangerous? Not at all! It has the advantages of a flat terrain and a slope. Therefore, you can be more in control of your speed, learn more tricks of the trade and yet do all that in safety.
On such a terrain, ride on an almost straight direction. Another thing you need to do is to move forward not by putting pressure on the base of your snowboard, but on the edges. Doing so shall give you more speed, control and shall enable you to learn new skills.
The trick is to control the pressure on the edges in such a way that you are moving in an almost straight direction. But remember, your weight needs to be distributed over the edge of the snowboard.
When you do this, others may feel that you are still putting pressure on the middle of the snowboard, but you are not. You are putting pressure slightly off center. Doing just this can give pressure on the edges.
The easiest way to control the direction and the edges while doing is by using your toes! That’s right, your toes. Didn’t think your toes could do all this, did you? The thing is using your toes while snowboarding for changing directions is far more effective and faster and than using your heels.
You may try to change directions by changing edges in mid-flight. Fun as that may seem, we are more concerned about safety at the time point of time. It is not wise to try gimmicky moves which may cause injuries.
Why use the edges?
One of the advantages of using the edges is that it will skid over patches of grass and clumps of rocks easily. This is not something you can do if you are giving more pressure to the base center of the board. The edges absorb the shock from uneven terrain, which the center base cannot do.
There is one more reason to use an almost flat terrain. These terrains come with speed checks. As you can understand, these are for your safety. Remember, you are not racing against the others, but are more focused on learning the tips and tricks of snowboarding. As such, safety is of paramount importance.
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Roger Walker is Chief Editor at Citegeist.com. He love writing and sports. He will write about the sports that he is participating in this blog.