As instructors and particularly instructors training for certification courses, we spend most of our time on a snowboard making turns, and trying to perfect those turns…left, right, left, right repeat…and we’re getting pretty good at it, but how much time have you spent thinking about HOW we get from one turn to the next? There’s been this idea floating around for a few years that we need EARLY edge, and LOTS of it but if you watch the good riders out there you’ll see that they focus more on re-centering in the transition between turns and then moving to the new edge in a controlled way.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely important to build a solid platform early in the arc by putting the board on edge but if you move too quickly and too far to the inside of the new turn you will find your Centre Of Mass (COM) and Base Of Support (BOS) moving quickly in different directions.  This clearly  is not very stable and limits your options for that turn.  Your only hope at that point is that your board will hook up and come around to catch you at the bottom of the arc.  Not the most graceful or effective way of riding.

Instead of throwing your body across the board and hoping for the best, try instead to find a centred position at the transition between turns where your COM is directly over your BOS allowing your board to be flat against the snow.  It may only last for a very brief moment when done well but from this point you are in a much better position to adjust your inputs (more/less edge, more/less pivot, more/less flexion or extension) for your desired outcome.

In order to help visualize this, think about riding from the middle of one arc to the middle of the next arc (9 o’clock to 3 o’clock and vice versa using our clock face analogy) instead of from the start of the arc to the end of the arc (12 o’clock to 6 o’clock) which we often depict in our on snow diagrams.  With your momentum taking you from fall line to fall line it makes much more sense to have your COM follow your BOS at the transition towards the middle of the next arc instead of diving downhill towards the end of the arc.

Allowing your COM to follow your BOS towards the apex of the arc at the fall line will also allow you to create some good loading (bending the board) at the fall line which can then be used to deflect yourself back towards the next apex.  If, on the other hand, you dive towards the end of the arc with your COM all the loading will happen at the end of the arc and it becomes difficult to direct that energy into the next turn.

So next time you are out riding, focus on the critical link between the turns…give yourself options with the movements you make from one turn to the next!

Simon Holden
Ontario TEC Representative
CASI Level 4 Instructor / CSIA Level 4 Ski Instructor