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ARSENALFAN 09-22-2012 11:04 PM

40 Year Old wanting to hit some kickers
Some general background: snowboarded from age 23-27. Didn't return to the slopes until age 39. What a waste of valuable time. Anyhow, I would consider myself a solid intermediate rider. Can bomb down most Western Canadian runs with no problems. GPS was over 65km/h last year on groomers. I mainly cruise Sunshine Village, the Lake, and Castle Mountain (personal favorite). Last year I ended the season with a very good day riding switch most of the time. Have few crashes thank god. That being said, I have never been one for airtime. At the end of last year I managed a few 180s on natural terrain but they were pretty lame and with little speed. I hear your never too old to learn stuff, but was wondering about hitting up the park this year. I am not really interested in the pipe but I am very interested in landing properly off kickers - mainly so I can become a better all mountain rider. Purchased a Sunshine Village Season Pass for this year and plan on hitting it up at least twice a week. Do you think its stupid to try the park this year at my age? Perhaps I should just keep to the natural terrain/natural kickers. Would I progress more if I was to concentrate my efforts in the park for a few days? What do you all think?

jdmccright 09-22-2012 11:32 PM

If your going to just got small kickers then it should not be a problem but the park is where you get hurt the most so remember that. Only you can say what you can and cannot do with your body though.

Deviant 09-23-2012 01:03 AM

Not stupid at all to ride park at 40, and more people do than you might think. Was in a rail jam with a guy in his early 40's last year and he was having a blast.

The key (at any age) is to work your way up to it. Most resorts have a smaller sized park for people just starting out which means less height, less of a gap to the landing. Before that though, find a roller and pop off it. Don't bomb the slope before it and fly into the flats, you want to catch the downside of it and practice matching your board to the slope of the landing, with time that will come natural. Make sure your shoulders are square with the board the entire time. By entire time I mean riding up to it, popping off, in the air and landing, it's common for people to want to open up their shoulders so they're facing down hill but fight this and keep them square to the board. Always stay centered over the board as well, front to back.

Once you get comfortable doing this, you can move to the smaller park, sometimes called a Progression Park. BEFORE hitting anything, ride past it. Check out the lip and the landing. Depending on how often a park is grommed/raked the landing can get rutted out. If everything looks good and you feel you're ready for it, find out where others are starting from and gauge the speed you'll need to clear the knuckle and land in the sweet spot. It's important to remember that different snow conditions may take more time to build up the speed to get to the landing. A lot of smaller jumps have less of a knuckle which means less consequence for coming up short, but take my advice and don't hit a smaller jump at full tilt so you don't overshoot the landing. I think we've all done it, and it's fairly common to see beginners doing it but there's no worse feeling that the "oh shit oh shit oh shit"

As you're riding up to it, again keep the shoulders square, weight centered and don't over do it on speed checks, if at all. You should have a general idea of how fast you need to go, and after the first try it'll be a lot clearer. If you're overly nervous, take a long deep breath as you're riding up to the jump to calm yourself down, it absolutely works.

When you're in the air pull your knees up, try not to tense up and lock up your body. If you can, do a grab. When you're first starting out Mute and Indy are generally the easiest grabs and can help keep yourself balanced as long as you do it with your knees-legs pulled up (not reaching for it).

Spot your landing and extend your legs to meet the landing, absorb it and ride out.

From your post it sounds like you have enough ability to do it and ride away, but if you crash just move out of the way because you might not be visible in the landing for the people on slope above you. Even if there's an injury, do whatever you have to do to get out of the jump line. Just remember crashes are going to happen anytime you start learning something new so don't get discouraged. Start small, work your way up to it, and have fun with it.

Edit: I completely agree on the pipe, in my opinion it's one of the funnest things to do on a snowboard and when you're starting out (in my experience) the crashes are much easier to take.

snowklinger 09-23-2012 02:23 AM

To OP: pretty much same story as me, rode 18-22 with about 6-10 days from then until 35. Been working up to 30footers, would like to hit the 40s as they just look well built in those medium jumplines.

The pipe is fun, but the bottom of it is hard!

Check out the snowboard addiction videos on youtube. I was already learning booters by myself and with friends, but these vids helped me a ton by dialing in some basics.

slyder 09-23-2012 07:01 AM


I "started" snowboarding at 42 and really started park last season including jumps. So no your not to old.

ALL solid info above !!! I like looking at videos to learn, this is just me. I can pause, rewind, some have slow motion. It can be a great learning tool. Also video tape yourself, this is great for analyzing what you are doing right/wrong. I have posted video of myself and my kids here on the forum asking for tips and many of these guys will see stuff I don't and suggest how to correct or better myself. They are a great resource.

Start small and build from there. Your are a solid rider you will progress on the small stuff faster than you think.

The biggest jump for me is about 20 footer that really shoots you up and honestly I"m backing off that one. I can land it but I'm not at that point completely and as said I need to be safe and smart. Reward/consequences on that for me just aren't there.

May I also suggest pads/armor. Depending on what you are working on, rails, boxes, jumping, spins, maybe purchase knee pads, impact shorts, wrist gaurds etc. I have this stuff in my supply tote in my car. I put on or take off what I need or don't need for that day. For me, it saves a lot of pain and injury.

ARSENALFAN 09-23-2012 09:47 AM

Thanks for the EXCELLENT responses gang. I am so excited. I taught my 7 soon to be 8 year old how to ride last year and would like to be able to keep up with her in a few years :) I will be sure to post my progression throughout the year. And I will definately dial in a couple lessons for sure. All the best.

ARSENALFAN 09-23-2012 09:53 AM

Crash Gear
I did purchase some burton red impact shorts last year and they were handy on those occasions when I did catch an edge. Any other suggestions in the body armour area would be much appreciated.

Donutz 09-23-2012 10:14 AM

I'm 55 and I just started park last year (except for a bit of experimentation the year before). Along the lines of what Snowolf said about deliberate and considered progression, body armour is a must. I've got knee/shin pads, impact shorts, and a spine protector. And a helmet of course. You don't have to always wear all the shit, as slyder says, but definitely wear it when you're hitting the features.

ARSENALFAN 09-23-2012 10:23 AM


Originally Posted by Donutz (Post 520412)
I'm 55 and I just started park last year (except for a bit of experimentation the year before). Along the lines of what Snowolf said about deliberate and considered progression, body armour is a must. I've got knee/shin pads, impact shorts, and a spine protector. And a helmet of course. You don't have to always wear all the shit, as slyder says, but definitely wear it when you're hitting the features.

Hey Donutz: I am sure you probably researched the crap out of body armour before you pulled the trigger. What company did you go with? And by the just made my year!!

slyder 09-23-2012 12:03 PM

I like these and prices are from memory so may be wrong
  • Azzpadz for impact shorts easy on and off and they work good. $60
  • Skeletools are another good one but they more like shorts and harder to remove without taking boots and your snow pants and cold gear off to get them off $60
  • Helmet, Smith what fit me the best $115
  • Wrist gaurds: what fit into my gloves Mine are Demon one of my kid has Dakine $20
  • Spine Protector: I'm just looking for something affordable as anything for me is better than nothing $75-$100

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