Since you have not had any real training and are sort of winging it, this should help you with a lot of your questions:
I would also second what gjsnowboarder
said in that for having only ridden 7 times, you have a lot of natural ability so with the correct technique, you should progress fast and become very solid in a short time.
thanks Snowulf - I have actually watched your videos. Ironically, I watched your videos the night before my last day at Breck and tried to do the turning as depicted in Part 4. You make it look so easy...it felt like I was doing the same thing but when looking at my video vs yours...obviously not! My back-end seems to slide alot more than yours, and your trailing lines in the snow look alot cleaner. When I watch your videos its hard for me to tell when you're bending your legs and/or using ankles - they are subtle movements?
This ruddering is so common with self taught riders or riders taught by friends but it is a very poor way to ride so it is good you have recognized it early on. Additionally, you are doing something that is also common to self taught riders and that is twisting at the waist to face forward. This makes any toeside turn super difficult. Until you advance into dynamic skidded turns, you will want to keep your hips and shoulder pretty much aligned with your board. The exception to this will be the use of an anticipatory rotation for your turns. Until you start learning to actually carve, all of your steering is going to rely heavily on the front foot. Even though you are going to skid your turns, it is good to start using the sidecut of the board to turn you as opposed to pivot.
Yeah, I think this is something that gjsnowboarder pointed out as well. So am I understanding this correctly - my shoulders should be pointing due east (assuming board is pointed directly north), and only my neck should have my head pointing forward (I'm the left guy in the pic below
)? I have no idea what dynamic skidded turns means - I'll look it up.
There are three ways you can turn a board; pivot, tilt and for you most importantly twist! With front foot steering, you are using the front foot to subtlety twist your board to engage its sidecut. By opening and closing the ankle joint, you can pressure your toe edge or your heel edge as needed to initiate your turns. This twist or torsional steering is something you are really going to want to focus on right now.
Let`s take a step WAY back and go to an almost flat area and unstrap the back foot and do some one footed fade turns! Point the board straight down this shallow incline and pick up some speed. Remember to maintain your loose athletic stance. In the video, you are riding very stiff and very tall; loosen up and allow the ankles and knees to flex so you drop down a little bit. You should feel your shins starting to rest on the tongues of your boots. Additionally, shift your entire body a little toward the nose of the board with a slight foot to foot shift of your hips. Your back leg should be just a tad straighter than your front leg.
Now, as you are gliding along, make a shallow heel side turn by first, looking over your shoulder to where you want to end up at the end of the turn. This sets your upper body up perfectly to make this turn. As you do this, sit into the turn just a bit. It should feel like you are getting ready to sit down in a chair. Next, lift the toes of the front foot by closing the ankle joint so that you feel all of your weight on the heel of that foot. While you are doing this, try to pull your front knee toward the nose of the board to add a little bit of rotational force. Hold this position through your turn.
So what does the back foot do then? Simple! Your back foot is going to do the EXACT same thing you just did with the front foot, ONLY later!. As the board enters this turn and the nose starts pulling up out of the fall line, begin to gradually apply heel pressure with the back foot to "lock" the tail into the turn. This prevent the tail from totally washing out. Now, as the board approaches perpendicularity to the fall line, you need to slowly RELAX the front foot to slow and stop the turn thus allowing the board to traverse across the hill rather than continue turning.
Yes, you had been helping another person with toe-side turns and I had thoroughly read your responses to him (http://www.snowboardingforum.com/tip...ide-turns.html
). I think I understand the concept - the front foot, depending on weighting toward toe or heel, initiates the tilt of the board and allows the natural shape of the board to start a turn, right? I practiced this a little bit on some flat areas and kind of felt what you meant. Maybe I'm not doing it right but it seemed that the board didn't turn THAT much, meaning, that when I attempted to lift the right side of the board by lifting my toes and pushing back into the backstop, the board did start to turn left but not much. Maybe I wasn't going fast enough? How sharp of a turn does this method allow you to do?
I think I get the timing of the back foot. So the first foot initiates the turn, and commits the FRONT edge and allows the board's natural shape to begin a turn, THEN the back foot locks in the BACK edge to avoid the end of the boarding from skidding or fish tailing out (the ruddering effect). Is this what results in your turns looking alot cleaner than mine? I actually did notice the difference in your tracks in the snow vs. mine - mine look like i am going much faster than I actually am and that my ass-end drifts (like a car) on every turn.
Now for toeside.....
For the toeside fade turn, start out as before and pick up some speed. You will already be looking generally in the direct you are turning so just turn your head a little bit but focus on a spot and try to steer to it. Because you have a habit of riding open shouldered, I want you to actually point to where you are going with the front hand. This is overdoing the shoulder rotation, but in your case you need to do this to compensate for the bad habit already developed.
As you do this, start to "kneel" down with the front leg. Drive your front knee down and in toward the center of the board. This is where you should feel the shin really pushing on the tongue of the boot. As you are doing this, lift your front heel to sort of stand on the tippy toes with the front foot. This will really get the sidecut to engage and give you a solid turn entry. In addition, another great aid is to actually drop your front shoulder lower as you initiate the turn. You can even imagine that as you are riding, you are reaching down in the snow to pick up an ice cold beer someone left in the snow...
Got it - I actually read your description in the thread above and it instantly made sense to me why I am getting so fatigued doing toe-side turns. As mentioned in my original post, I have historically been using 100% of my TOES and FEET to do toe-side turns. I'm not sure about others, but that is physically impossible for me to sustain - my legs and feet start cramping like crazy and I have to stop multiple times in a run. So what you're doing when you drive your shins into the boot is utilizing the boot's natural stiffness to help engage the right side of the board (I have Salomon F22s - pretty stiff boots). To be honest, I didn't know what stiffness of the boot mattered - I'm guessing this is why?
One questions I have on this - how does this help with balance? So I tried this at very low speeds, trying to use 100% of the boot and shins to maintain a toeside turn (my feet thanked me), and I noticed that my balance was terrible because I was essentially bending my knees not for balance but to engage and maintain the edge. Does this get better with time/practice? I like the fact my knees are bent, but I liken it to a ballerina in a squat like position on her tippe-toes on an angled floor - you push her and they'll fall over.
There is a tendency to bend at the waist and lean over into the toeside turn. AVOID this! It sets you up for trouble big time as it puts your center of mass well over the toe edge of the board and cause you to push you rear out over the heel edge which counteracts what you want to be doing. On top of that, we get a lot of our sense of balance from our vision. If you are bent at the waist, you entire sight picture is at an angle and this will mess with your head in a bad way. flex the lower body and keep your upper body straight.
So I think I'm starting to get this. So stance wise, for both heel and toe-side turns, I should have knees bent, and most of edge initiation should be done with my leading (left foot) by either: (1) Toeside: Pushing shins into tongue of boot to engage right edge, (2) heelside: Lifting toes and leaning back on backstop. So as I visualize that, its like body from the knees up is staying static and my toes/heel and either shins/back of leg (calf area) are initiating the edge?
Right now, your confidence is lacking because you have not mastered any real technique that gives you the feeling that you have control. Using this front foot steering and using edge angle more is going to give you that control and your confidence will increase exponentially....
Got it and totally agree. Dumb question but is this the way that good snowboarders turn? Meaning, they never use their back foot to turn, etc?