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Old 01-09-2011, 06:34 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default best ways to control downhill speed?

What are the best ways to control your downhill speed on a snowboard?

I've only been snowboarding once but the right way to do this didn't seem to feel instinctual.

I observed several of the skiiers and it looks like they way skiiers control their speed is by pointing their toes inward. This seems to make perfect sense and I could tell that this technique was effective for the skiiers.

But how can snowboarders control their speed going downhill?

One guy I met in Aspen told me that the way to control speed was to zig zag back and forth down the hill and this would control the downhill speed. I saw several skiiers doing this and I guess that they doing this to control their speed or maybe to also make their descent more interesting - not really sure.

So - is zig-zagging down the mountain the technique that you use to control your speed? Do you use any other techniques?
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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pretty much. this technique is called linking turns. when going too fast, make your turns very wide and long. If you really are going too fast, skid out your turns, which should slow you down.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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On a snowboard there is no such thing as the "Pizza" formation you saw beginner skiers use. On a snowboard you stop by using your edges to turn the board against the slope. By turning the board against the slope, the board is no longer aimed downhill and gradually loses speed. By making turns on a snowboard, you are constantly checking your speed each time the board veers away from the downhill line.

So yes, "zig-zagging" or linking turns are what slows you down. One thing that's for sure with a snowboard, is that if you point the thing downhill and don't turn, it's going to keep going until you hit something.
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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On a snowboard there is no such thing as the "Pizza" formation you saw beginner skiers use. On a snowboard you stop by using your edges to turn the board against the slope. By turning the board against the slope, the board is no longer aimed downhill and gradually loses speed. By making turns on a snowboard, you are constantly checking your speed each time the board veers away from the downhill line.

So yes, "zig-zagging" or linking turns are what slows you down. One thing that's for sure with a snowboard, is that if you point the thing downhill and don't turn, it's going to keep going until you hit something.
Ok - I've only snowboarded once in Snowmass, CO. When I pointed my snowboard sideways against the hill the only effect was that I kept sliding down the hill but my board was sideways and balance was a lot trickier.

I guess the trick is that I need to actually get the board to be able to navigate down the hill in a zig-zag instead of what seems to be the natural tendency of the snowboard to slide straight ahead.

I guess I need to do some research on how to "link turns". Will you please give your best peice of advice for linking turns to a newbie?
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Old 01-09-2011, 06:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I take it you have not had any lessons?

For starters, watch the videos I have posted and sticky`d at the top of this sub forum.
Thanks Snowolf - I have put it on my todo list!
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:16 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Turn!
Exactly my thoughts when I read the title of this thread
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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By "zig zagging" did you mean going from one edge of the run to the other? That's not ideal, as you're probably not really controlling your speed plus you become an obstacle for others. If you do that early on a powder day then you end up making multiple tracks for everyone to cut across (i.e., you fucked up the powder for everyone). Try not to do that.

Learning to link turns and skid when necessary is how to check speed. As people have suggested before, taking a lesson will make all this stuff clear.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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By "zig zagging" did you mean going from one edge of the run to the other? That's not ideal, as you're probably not really controlling your speed plus you become an obstacle for others. If you do that early on a powder day then you end up making multiple tracks for everyone to cut across (i.e., you fucked up the powder for everyone). Try not to do that.

Learning to link turns and skid when necessary is how to check speed. As people have suggested before, taking a lesson will make all this stuff clear.
Ok - I hear you saying that linking turns is different than zig-zagging. I'll have to study up.

It seemed like all the skiiers on the hill were zig-zagging to some exent. But if you're saying that's bad etiquette then I'll try to learn how link turns without zig-zagging.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ok - I hear you saying that linking turns is different than zig-zagging. I'll have to study up.

It seemed like all the skiiers on the hill were zig-zagging to some exent. But if you're saying that's bad etiquette then I'll try to learn how link turns without zig-zagging.
Yeah, people do it (zig-zag from one edge of the run all the way to the other) but it's not what you should strive to achieve. It's more a sign that the person is struggling with that part of the trail. You want to get so you flow downhill like water. If you watch good skiers, they're mostly headed downhill making smooth s-turns rather than across in a zipper pattern.

Edit: On a non-powder day riding a zipper isn't so much bad etiquette as it is exposing yourself to a collision since you're riding across the flow of traffic instead of with it. On a powder day it is bad etiquette because each person ideally wants as much fresh tracks as possible, and if you make a zipper from one edge of the trail to the other repeatedly then everyone ends up crossing your tracks over and over.

More edit: FYI making a wedge (aka, snowplow, pizza) with skis is totally a beginner technique. You want to advance away from that asap and on skis you control speed similarly to on a snowboard, by setting your edges across the fall line.

Last edited by Toecutter; 01-09-2011 at 08:31 PM.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I've only been snowboarding once but the right way to do this didn't seem to feel instinctual.
I think you have the highest post count to days riding ratio on the forum.

oh and turn shape one more time.
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