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Old 01-22-2014, 05:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hopping drill - good on toe edge, crash on heel edge

I'm just learning to snowboard. There is a drill where you turn onto your toe edge and then bounce or do a small hop a couple of times and then turn on your heel edge and bounce or hop and then repeat down the hill. I am fine on my toe edge but as soon as I try the smallest bounce on my heel edge I fall over.

I'm wondering if my bindings are too far to one edge or the other. Or is it normal to be much better on toe edge? When I bounce on toe edge, I flex my ankles around to balance. Is there any way to balance better on heel edge?

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2014, 06:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hopping drill. My advise, is to give that up. There is no reason on earth you need to be hopping to make a turn. Either book a lesson or start with falling leaf and then start linking turns, your board needs to be connected to the snow to make a turn that why you have edges instead of wings.
Just my 2 cents, I'm not an instructor but been snowboarding for about 18 years, and taught several people that have picked up quickly, you definitely don't need to be hopping to get turns around!
I understand some people have trouble getting onto their other edge so this method gets them onto the other edge without a "risky" edge transition.
If anything, hopping helps promote stiffening of the legs which is the worst thing you can do. If I can only give you piece of advise....just keep you legs bent at all times! You will find you can flow into edge transitions easy with a proper riding posture and some thought.
All these different drills that actually take you away from proper technique just build bad muscle memory.
Note thats just my take on it. One of the qualified instructors on the forum will probably be able to give you their take on it (which might well be the opposite of mine) but you need confidence to learn to ride and falling on your heelside hops is killing that.

Good luck
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Old 01-22-2014, 07:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I am not an instructor but I have suffered too from hopping drills (to NZRide this is done in traverse across the hill then you turn normally and hop back the other way). The purpose as it was explained to me is to promote good body position over the board. If your body is not in the right alignment over the board you fall. Which is probably what is happening to the OP.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:39 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelC View Post
I am not an instructor but I have suffered too from hopping drills (to NZRide this is done in traverse across the hill then you turn normally and hop back the other way). The purpose as it was explained to me is to promote good body position over the board. If your body is not in the right alignment over the board you fall. Which is probably what is happening to the OP.
Yeah I think NZRide might have just misread that a little. He's not doing the hops into a turn, I assume from his description he's doing a very typical exercise where you get on one edge, do a few hops as you traverse to get you used to pressuring and balancing on that edge, then turning like normal and doing it the other way.

As far as the OP's questions go:

1) Is it normal to feel more comfortable on your toe edge

Yep. Your toe edge is always more stable and balanced vs. your heel edge. That's normal so don't worry about it.

2) How do you balance on your heel edge

Again it's about flexing your ankles/knees etc, but the difference with heel edge is you have to get used to bending correctly.

The mistake you're probably making now is you're trying to engage your heel edge by just leaning backwards onto it, which isn't that stable.

You want to get used to basically squatting (many instructors call it sitting on the toilet) as your riding position when engaging your heel edge, that gives you the balance to engage your heel edge better and more balanced.

The tricky part to pay attention here is you want to squat and stick your butt out, but you also want to avoid bending at the waist as much as possible. So your knees bend, your butt goes out and you engage that heel edge, but your upper body stays upright as much as possible. It'll feel a little awkward at first, but you'll get more used to it as you go.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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bend knees and feel like you are sitting down into the seat when on heel edge while keeping upper body relatively up right.
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jed View Post
Yeah I think NZRide might have just misread that a little. He's not doing the hops into a turn, I assume from his description he's doing a very typical exercise where you get on one edge, do a few hops as you traverse to get you used to pressuring and balancing on that edge, then turning like normal and doing it the other way.

As far as the OP's questions go:

1) Is it normal to feel more comfortable on your toe edge

Yep. Your toe edge is always more stable and balanced vs. your heel edge. That's normal so don't worry about it.

2) How do you balance on your heel edge

Again it's about flexing your ankles/knees etc, but the difference with heel edge is you have to get used to bending correctly.

The mistake you're probably making now is you're trying to engage your heel edge by just leaning backwards onto it, which isn't that stable.

You want to get used to basically squatting (many instructors call it sitting on the toilet) as your riding position when engaging your heel edge, that gives you the balance to engage your heel edge better and more balanced.

The tricky part to pay attention here is you want to squat and stick your butt out, but you also want to avoid bending at the waist as much as possible. So your knees bend, your butt goes out and you engage that heel edge, but your upper body stays upright as much as possible. It'll feel a little awkward at first, but you'll get more used to it as you go.

weird, I am still fairly new at snowboarding and feel way more comfortable on my heel edge!
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Elit3PwnZ0r View Post
weird, I am still fairly new at snowboarding and feel way more comfortable on my heel edge!
I would say so too. I carve better on heel edge than toe edge.
I guess mostly because you can see what's in front of you on heel edge.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:31 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I learned (and still use) that drill for one purpose: to check on your fore and aft balance.

The whole point is to see if you have good weight distribution. If you do, then both feet will leave the ground at the same time. If you don't, then your lesser weighted foot will leave the ground significantly before your other foot.

The quality of your hopping is immaterial and there is no real point is comparing one side to the other. It is a good feedback drill for people who gradually shift into the back seat and stay there. They swear that they're centered, but have gradually lost the feeling of what centered is.

In short, don't sweat that one side is better than the other, just focus on being balanced and having both feet leave the ground at the same time (even if you only get an inch of air)
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Elit3PwnZ0r View Post
weird, I am still fairly new at snowboarding and feel way more comfortable on my heel edge!
Depends how "new" you are. When people start linking turns, they're more comfortable heelside because in the beginning, it's the easier side to stop with and you're facing down the hill which is more comfortable for a beginner.

However, once you advance to a strong intermediate level and are flying down the mountain at speed, doing advanced freeride (fast carving) and freestyle (spins off kickers) becomes much harder heelside because applying proper pressure across the board is more demanding.

Probably doesn't apply to everyone, but most find this to be the case.

Last edited by Mel M; 01-23-2014 at 03:37 PM. Reason: Edit: Sorry, corrected my shitty grammar on my second sentence.
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Old 01-23-2014, 01:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I definitely found that my skill shifted from heel to toe as I got better. Originally I always felt more in control on the heel, could stop whenever I needed to and liked the ability to see what was ahead of me. As I got better, however, I discovered that I had a chronic overturning problem on the heel side and it held me back from smooth s turns for a long time. Whereas the toe side because it wasn't so aggressive was easier to fine tune. Eventually I balanced them out but now that I am trying switch I am finding the same problem all over again.
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