Snowboarding is a fast-paced, scenic sport that appeals to people of all ages and different levels of athleticism. In the last 40 years, over 10 snowboarding styles have evolved, but learninghow to turn on a snowboard gives athletes one of the greatest issues in snowboarding.
While learning the art of snowboarding, there are some basic snowboarding skills like getting on and off the lift, staying upright, and the falling leaf technique, that you’re expected to know. Having mastered these skills, it’s time to make real turns.
Read on to learn the things you must have observed from snowboarders, and how to make different turns.
Table of Contents
Skidding and Carving
The beauty of snowboarding is that athletes’ body movements vary. Some of them ride more quietly while others move noisily. No matter how you snowboard, you must have experienced the art of skidding and how it differs from carving. However, students find it hard to understand the concept behind it when learning the basics of snowboarding.
During skidding, your snowboard tends to stay more in contact with the ground. In a beginner snowboarding lesson, boarders find this turn easy since it can be performed slowly. If you look back and you can see that your board makes a lot of noise and the track in the snow is almost as wide as your board, then you’re skidding.
Carving, on the other hand, is a more advanced snowboard technique. It looks like skidding, but with more flexibility to it. A carved snowboard turn is where the athlete is bent against its arch into an arc, and that arc shape guides the board along a curved path.
To make the carved turn, your flexion and extension must be deeper to enhance the tilt of your board while passing through each turn. The pressure will cause the board edges to deepen more into the snow, and make the turns faster and quieter while leaving a thin carved line on the track.
Why Learn How to Carve on Your Snowboard
Having gotten the hang of skidding, carving on your board is the next big step for you to take.
Carving will boost your confidence level as a snowboarder and increase your speed until you naturally become stronger. At this point, your upper and lower body will be stronger and flexible to maintain high speed and make turns on steeper trails.
How to Turn On a Snowboard: The Phases of Turning
The simplest way to understand the seeming complexities of turning, is to break it down into three main phases: the initiation, the control, and the completion phase. Coupled with this, you’ll see at what point the snowboard changes edge and when you should take the next turn.
It’s key to observe that different turn phases are obvious in slower, low-level turns but become very smooth and more difficult to see as during high-speed turns.
The Initiation Phase
The Initiation Phase implies the beginning of the turn. You release the uphill edge for gravity to pull you into the fall line. This will lead to a lateral movement which will allow a quick edge release. To have a faster and more efficient outcome, use smaller levers closer to the board to do it. On the contrary, using larger levers is slower, but with a more powerful outcome.
Take your turns from the top down. Fix your gaze on where you want to go, and let your shoulders and hips follow naturally. Let your feet, ankles, and legs work together to either extend or flex while making a turn. Also, remember to tip your board onto its edge.
The Control Phase
The Control Phase refers to the body of the turn. This is where you guide the snowboard into and through the fall line. There will always be an edge change during this phase.
The movements will help you create progressive edging and pressure, along with some initial steering to resist the increasing forces acting on the rider and guide the board towards the intended direction.
To execute this, let the nose of the board point downhill and hold your edge as you pass through the space that goes straight downhill. While doing this, ensure you keep your weight balanced, back straight, body still, and your head up.
Your knees must be bent while it’s holding slightly more pressure on your front leg at the beginning of the turn and then pressing a little harder through your back leg toward the end of the turn.
The Completion Phase
This refers to the finish of the turn. This is where you finish the present turn while getting ready to start the next turn. You focus the movements in this phase on steering so that you can form the desired turn shape while being progressive in edging, as well as regulating the pressure.
The Preparation Phase
This phase will get you ready for the next turn. This could include moves to help establish a neutral position from which to begin the next turn, or it could just be checking the line selected. Preparation movements include things like looking downhill or over the hill at the approaching region and possibly turning your upper body in a new driving direction.
It’s good to note that the edge tilt happens at the start of the control phase. However, always keep your balance in check.
Types of Turns
In the following sections, we’ll be taking a closer look at the different types of snowboarding turns.
Toeside Turn (Frontside turn)
- Strapboth knees into your snowboard while your weight is evenly distributed over both feet and your knees are bent. Ensure that you point your snowboard across the slope. Standing in this position, your rear edge should dig into the hill to keep you from moving.
- Flattenyour board on the snow to where your back edge no longer holds you in place and you start to slide down the hill while remaining perpendicular to the fall line. To keep yourself from slipping, apply pressure to your back edge once more.
- Tostudy how your edge interacts with the snow and to regulate your speed, repeat this a few times.
- Onceyou feel comfortable, the next phase is to gradually flatten your board on the hill while moving your weight to your leading foot’s toes. Your board will move downhill as you do this and will gain speed. To stop yourself, lean toward the tail of your board. You must maintain your composure throughout the turn.
- Turnyour head and upper body toward the top of the hill while keeping your weight on your front foot toes. This is to ensure the board rotates in that direction. Your body will automatically pull your back leg around, spinning the board until it’s sideways on the hill once more.
- Applypressure to the front edge of your board to slow and stop yourself once you’ve gone sideways on the hill.
If you injure your knees or trip a few times while learning to pivot on your toe edge, keep practicing. It gets easier!
Heelside Turn (Backside Turn)
- Youwill stand with your knees bent and your weight evenly distributed on both feet. Your front edge will dig into the hill this time, preventing you from moving.
- Practiceside-slipping by gradually flattening the board on the snow to slide and then putting pressure on the front edge of the board to slow down or stop yourself.
- Flattenyour board on the snow and move your weight to your front foot when you’re ready to turn. When you start to gain speed, just lean back.
- Turnyour head and upper body toward your downhill shoulder, as if trying to look behind yourself. This will direct your body where you want the board to rotate, causing you to naturally pull it around until it’s sideways on the slope.
- Applysome pressure to the back edge to slow down and stop yourself.
This turn is easier to execute and master than Toeside turns, because of the smaller risk of landing in a way that might lead to injury.
To get a more practical lesson on what’s been explained, watch this video about how to do heelside turns!
Other Snowboard Turning Tips
You might still find it hard to get a hang ofhow to turn on a snowboard. These extra tips will come in handy as you learn.
Gear inspection is something you must never relegate to the background. Create periodic times to have a thorough inspection on your gear, as it can make your turns harder.
The way you drive your body on the slopes determines your performance. If you don’t feel right when riding and turns seem impossible, adjust your body’s balance. Having your feet too far apart or close can lead to an inability to make smooth turns. This can lead to injury.
Statistically, the most common injuries in snowboarding are wrist injuries followed by head injuries. This is due to a lack of good body positioning and taking the right stance during turns.
Below are some useful tips on body position:
- Maintain a slight bend in your knees, especially during each phase of your turns. This will reduce the rate of harm that could happen to you.
- Maintain a line of sight between your shoulders and hips and your board. This will make turns more comfortable and controlled.
- Keep your head high and focus on where your direction is.
The art of learning how to turn on a snowboard is demanding and can be rigorous, but having insight from a post like this will give you a heads-up on what to expect. You can also support what you’ve read with good demonstrative videos. However, there’s no professionalism without practice. Practice what you’ve read and seen as you hit the slopes.