JM Snowboard Tips

Josh “StuntKid” Mitzel

Snow Board Monthly Tips

January 2009

Arms, Notice how you ride

Welcome back! Last time we talked about riding in your athletic stance: knees bent, body centered over the board, arms house, weight on your front foot, and always looking forward. We also talked about making some “Roundatious” turns. This time you’re going to notice how your making those “Roundatious” turns.

Next time you ride down the slope try to notice some things about your riding. Notice things such as what your body does when riding straight, on your heel edge, on your toe edge, before you enter a turn, and as you exit your turn. Are your arms flailing around or are they slightly moving? Notice other things as well such as how you’re making your turn. Is your turn very loud, somewhere in between, or very quiet? Think about each turn as you come down the slope then when you get to the bottom think about what you did well and what you could improve on.

For many intermediate riders you may have the habit of keeping the arm facing the bottom of the mountain (or front arm) still but that arm facing up to the top of the mountain (or back arm) flailing around or even slightly moving. It is important to keep your arms and shoulders still while riding. A good trick to help do this is to grab hold of your pants or jacket with your back arm and point where you want to go with your front arm. Take a couple runs starting out on an easy run and working your way up trying this. Notice the difference in how you’re riding and thinking while you ride. Many times the first time you do this it feels very awkward or sketchy but what it does is it makes you think more about how you’re moving your legs. You want to keep most of your body movement in the waist down.

Types of Turns:

There are three different main types of turning in snowboarding. You have a skidded turn, a skarved turn, and a carved turn. A skidded turn is where you begin your turn and push your back foot, either forward or backward out depending on which edge you’re turning on (heel or toe). A skarved turn is where you’re almost carving but your back foot is still slightly being kicked forward or backward out. A carved turn is where your front and back feet are both mimicking each other edge and edge.

Go down a run and notice which kind of turn you are performing. Think about how you did well or where you could improve. If you want to make a better carved turn when you begin down the mountain stand straight up and as you enter your turn bend your knees and stand on an edge with both feet. As perform your carved turn you should feel evenly balanced over both your front and back edge and should generally hear a quiet noise. Coming into your next turn you should stand back up straight as you bring your board back flat and begin the next turn on the opposite edge the same way you performed your last turn. Doing this right should feel very natural. You will be able to tell the difference between a skidded, skarved, and carved turn.

So take a few runs and try to notice how you are riding. Remember your trick to keeping your upper body and arms under control by hanging onto your pants or jacket with that back hand. Try to notice the way you’re riding and what type of turn you are performing. Always try to think about your riding before you ride, as you are riding, and after you have ridden. Think of things you did well and ways you could improve.

December 2008

Balance Drills and Tips,  ” Roundatious Turns “

Here’s a couple little tricks that help you even out your stance and get back on your board. One good practice is one that everyone does when getting on and off the lift but it can actually help your stance as well. Riders sometimes have a hard time finding their balance on the board.

Something you always want to keep in your mind is to make sure your always standing in balanced position. Strap in and without moving stand straight up. Keep your back straight but act like your sitting down on a chair. Square your shoulders up with the board and keep your hands out at your sides. You should be standing on your board, back straight, knees bend but your body is not leaning forward or backwards over one side, and your hands at out at your side. This stance is called an athletic stance. Your ready to ride but before you do find another nice flat spot.

Strap in and ride in a straight line down a few feet and stop when you reach the bottom but while your riding slowly bounce up and down. You do this by standing straight up then slowly bending your knees and coming back into your athletic stance then back to straight up again. Do this a few times till your riding in your board completely balanced. It should feel natural if it doesn’t try doing the same routine till your evenly balanced over your board, shoulders square, weight on your front foot but not leaning over the nose of your board, and hands out by your sides.

A good way to do this is to find a nice flat spot and ride with the back foot out. Try balancing on your front foot but not so much that your entire body is leaning over the nose of your board. (Keep in your balanced stance but put your weight on your front foot.) Try to go down the hill for a few feet and stop heel side then walk back up a couple feet and try to stop again toe side. After you’ve done this walk back up and try a couple nice round turns with your foot still out of the back binding. Doing this forces riders to ride on their front foot without getting out of your balanced stance.

After you’ve done this routine try making some nice slow round turns. Try to keep them nice and round without taking up the entire slope. Here in Alaska we call these “Roundatious Turns”. A “Roundatious Turn” is whatever you see as round. This can be anything as long as their nice and round. When your riding you want to stand straight up but when you want to complete your turn from start to finish bent down in your athletic stance.

Try finding that nice flat spot again and go down to the bottom making some nice “Roundatious Turns” but remember before your turn you want to be standing straight up then you enter and complete your turn in the athletic stance and after your turn is finished you should be standing straight back up.

Another good tip is to always look where you want to go. You don’t want to look at your feet or the tip of your board always keep your head up and looking where you want to go. After your done that your ready to ride.

There’s a few other exercises you can do that help keep your body balanced and your mind focused on the way your riding. Throughout the season I’ll be letting you know what’s the best way you can improve your riding and get rid of some of those sloppy habits. Remember while riding keep balanced,  make nice “Roundatious Turns”, look where you want to go, and always follow the rules of the resort.


Pre Season Info, Equipment

Equipment –

1- write down your stance and binding placement then take the bindings
off and keep your board off flat areas because you’ll end up losing
the bend in the board.

2-keep your boots tied over the off-season otherwise they’ll lose
their shape as well.

3-Now is the time to get them waxed and edges tuned.
call email me and we can arrange a free tuning class.

Your Body –

A month before the season starts my friends and I usually try
different stretches every other day on our lower body but it’s also
important (especially for newer boarders) to keep your arms loose.
It’s very easy to dislocate a shoulder during the season but it also
helps newer boarders keep their balance.

Josh works at Eaglecrest in Juneau Alaska Eaglecrest Ski Area · Juneau, Alaska

He was a skidome member past years. Now a Snowboard Instructor. Somehow I was able to get him to offer some insight for the Snowboarders in the club. Thanks Josh for the great tips.

(c) copyright Josh Mitzel 2008-2009   Edited for content E.Fowler