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Old 03-23-2012, 07:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Possible to learn park without lessons?

Hi there (:

..I'm new to this forum so I apologize if I messed up/posted where this shouldn't be. I have a few questions...if you could take some time to read them that would be great.

I've been snowboarding for 2 years now and I was just wondering if it's possible to learn park without an instructor. I have one buddy to ride with, but she's usually busy so I ride alone a lot. (I go to an all girls school, almost no one there snowboards..) At my local mountains I could say that I'm one of the better ones at carving and whatnot, but I'm super intimidated to start doing some freestyle stuff. Mainly because everyone in the park scares the crap out of me/are very judgemental. I've watched numerous how-to videos and I really want to try some of them, but I know I'll bail like hell when I first start. I also don't want to bother anyone in the park like if I'm in the way/too slow or something...

I know this sounds totally crazy but do you think that it's too late for me to invest into competing slopestyle? I'm 14 already and barely did any park before. It's probably just some stupid goal/dream for me but I really want to compete. I don't even know how to do any tricks right now but I'm dying to learn. I'm literally addicted to snowboarding, I spend all my time watching vids + researching everything snowboarding related. The thing right now is that I don't have a lot of time to actually go snowboarding, but my mom says that she will devote sending me to the mountains on saturdays if I join a club. I've also competed in mini high school alpine races but I've decided that I do not like speed at all..and I ride way faster off the course.

Last question haha, I was wondering if my freestyle board is a bit too long for me...I'm 165cm and my board is 146cm (just below my chin). As I mentioned before, I watch a lot of snowboard videos/movies etc, and people like Torstein Horgmo (172cm) have 150cm boards for jumps and stuff.

Thank you so much for reading my long post...if you could please reply with any tips that would be super great! (:

Last edited by jojoinabox; 03-23-2012 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the forum.

SMH, number one who cares what other people think about you on the hill, if your having fun that's what matters. As far as slowing people down, EVERYONE has bailed on a jump multiple times it just happens, as long as you don't take forever to get out of the way afterwards. I've never had an instructor in 14 years so I wouldn't say you need one but maybe that would help build your confidence to start trying some stuff in the park. If you want to compete though you need to start practicing and be ready to take a beating, regardless of which event. Honestly though you've only been riding for 2 YEARS, it takes time to work your way up in skill level. As far as your board length goes I think you should stick around there especially if you want to focus on jumps because it will be more stable for landings but if your really light then you might want to go to a slightly shorter board.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not sure how big your goals/dreams are, but I'll give you a quick reality check as far as competitive snowboarding goes. If you push yourself and work hard I think you would have no problem competing on a small-scale, but if you're having fantasies about going semi-pro don't get your hopes up. There are tons of kids out there who absolutely kill it doing freestyle who are as young as 8, so at your age and skill level it's just very hard to accomplish this. My biggest recomendation to people is to go snowboarding to have fun, and if improving your freestyles skills is fun, go for it. If it's not - who cares. There are lot's of us on this forum who are great freeriders and just aren't interested in park; and vice-versa.

If you do want to push yourself, I'd suggest trying to find a buddy or buddies to ride with who are better then you. Not only do you get to observe what their doing, but the peer-pressure really helps to make you push yourself and commit to stuff you might be scared of. The park scene is always intimidating from the outside, but I think if you go out and just ask if you can watch or ride with people - or even just ask for some advice it will break some of the ice and make the situation more comfortable. You have a big advantage being a girl too - guys are much more willing to help out a damsel in distress then some other random dude.

With learning anything new in snowboarding, the biggest thing you can do is to mentally commit yourself. Last minute bailing is what almost always ends in physical injury and injury to your confidence. If you amp yourself up and just go through with it - no matter previous experience, you always pleasantly surprise yourself.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You dont need an instructor, but it would not be a bad idea. Like oefdevilvet said it would help with confidence more than anything. Just go at it alone first to see what you think you need to work on. Just make sure you take safety as your 1st priority. Start with small features or jumps and pick a day when the snow is soft. Try to wear some protective gear. At minimum helmet wrist guard. maybe knee pads. wrist guard and knee pads are pretty common so you can borrow them if you don't have them. Try to go with some of your friends so they can give you some tips and watch over you.

If you are too scared to start going to park you can start with ground tricks. Like buttering, pretzel or little 180s or simply riding switch.

And your gear should be ok unless you have really stiff big mountain board.
Since you prob have beginner board, it should be flexible enough.

And 14 is not too late to compete if that is what you want to do.

And don't worry about judgemental people at the park. Its prob mostly in your head. They are just waiting for their turn. They have to look at you to make sure you are out of their way before they go. If they are really A-holes, take even more time to piss them off.

Join the weekend club. at minimum you will meet someone you can ride with. It's more fun to ride with friends and they may be able to teach you thing or two
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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you certainly dont need a park coach but it also doesnt hurt if this is something you want to be serious about. i basically taught my self everything i know but i had a lot of help from friends who are coaches and stuff like that. i didnt get serious about competing until i was about 20 and im 23 now so 14 is def not to late to start.

as for the board thing it all depends on your weight and riding style.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by srdeo View Post
If they are really A-holes, take even more time to piss them off.
Yeah, it's important to remember that they don't own the shit any more than you do.

BTW, have you considered buying some armour? Helps with the self-confidence, believe me.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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you don't NEED an instructer but it wouldn't hurt as long as the instructer was knowledgable.

as far as worrying about others in the park...i know at that age everyone is self conscious but theres really nothing to be scared of. as long as you do your best to get out of the way when you bail or fall then you'll be fine. i doubt anyone will give you a hard time especially being a girl and anyone who does bother you isn't worth listening to. there are tons of idiots who think they're cool that hang out in the park who are always much worse than an single individual who's just trying to get better. as long as your being respectful and following the park etiquette, no one will probably notice you.

remember to start small and move on to larger features once you get comfortable.


as far as competing, you probably wont ever be winning gold at X-games but that doesn't mean you cant compete on a smaller scale. your only 14 so your still really young. i wouldnt stress it though. just compete with yourself every day to try and get better and have fun!
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojoinabox View Post
Hi there (:

..I'm new to this forum so I apologize if I messed up/posted where this shouldn't be. I have a few questions...if you could take some time to read them that would be great.

I've been snowboarding for 2 years now and I was just wondering if it's possible to learn park without an instructor. I have one buddy to ride with, but she's usually busy so I ride alone a lot. (I go to an all girls school, almost no one there snowboards..) At my local mountains I could say that I'm one of the better ones at carving and whatnot, but I'm super intimidated to start doing some freestyle stuff. Mainly because everyone in the park scares the crap out of me/are very judgemental. I've watched numerous how-to videos and I really want to try some of them, but I know I'll bail like hell when I first start. I also don't want to bother anyone in the park like if I'm in the way/too slow or something...

After only riding for 2 years you need a bit of a reality check if you think you are one of the "better" carvers on the mountain. not trying to discourage you or be mean in any way, but with the amount of time it sounds like the go you are still a beginner at 2 years. If you can get down all of the blue runs good, while doing good dynamic carves or turns, and not falling at all you can probably try park. but even so it still takes a lot of board skills and small precise movements to get decent at park. also balls, it takes a bit of courage to look at features for the first time and commit to hitting them. Of course the bigger the feature the more commitment you need. once you decide you are mentally psyched, and you stand up and start going there can be no hesitation or second thoughts. you charge it, send it as best as you can, and try to land safley. bailing, second guessing, worrying about getting hurt, and riding sloppy will get you hurt in the park. Once you can commit yourself to charge it and not bail each time, it gets easier and easier from there. just start out on small jumps, and ride on rails and get comftorable on those while you get good at Approach Takeoff Maneuver Landing (ATML), the feeling of sliding on jib surfaces and getting your jump/speed/flying confidence, air control and awareness down.

i dont think you need an instructor for the park near as much as you need an instructor for general lessons on good riding technique. i would suggest taking a lesson or two so you get good riding fundamentals and board control down. park is just trial and error wand getting a new type of muscle memory down. you also need to be able to take pain and not be a bitch about it. learning park you will fall on hard things and you will get hurt. if you want to get anywhere you cant give up because you banged your knee, got a bruise, or knocked the wind out of yourself.

going to the park is like going to the gym. you think everyone looks at you and judges you for not being stacked or lifting an impressive amount of weight, but in reality thats usually just not the case. everyone understands that you have to start from somewhere, and when you start you are going to suck. and as long as you dont sit there for 20 minutes in front of each hit and block it you have nothing to worry about and nobody is going to care. If anyone is being judgmental or making dick comments they are probably the dip shit tween park rats who think they are the baddest thing to hit the scene since tall tees. Dont sweat it.

I agree with what hobo said. go find a friend who is as into park as you are, and as eager to progress as you are. it is truly amazing how fast you learn if you are always trying to one up your friend in friendly competition. also being a girl i guarantee guys will be 100x more willing to help you out and give you pointers. all you have to do is ask. which brings me to the next point. people are too dam shy. most people up on the hill are there for one reason, to have as much fun snowboarding as possible. if you went up to some people around your age and skill level and introduced yourself and asked if you could hang out with them and ride with them, i would also bet my new board they would say yes. you just have to break the ice.


I know this sounds totally crazy but do you think that it's too late for me to invest into competing slopestyle? I'm 14 already and barely did any park before. It's probably just some stupid goal/dream for me but I really want to compete. I don't even know how to do any tricks right now but I'm dying to learn. I'm literally addicted to snowboarding, I spend all my time watching vids + researching everything snowboarding related. The thing right now is that I don't have a lot of time to actually go snowboarding, but my mom says that she will devote sending me to the mountains on saturdays if I join a club. I've also competed in mini high school alpine races but I've decided that I do not like speed at all..and I ride way faster off the course.

at your level i would push out any goals of competing for at least 2 or 3 years (even then it would just be HS competitions) and just focus on having as much fun as possible learning switch, getting comfortable hitting all of the features in the park, learning a good range of tricks, and getting smooth at hitting them.

Last question haha, I was wondering if my freestyle board is a bit too long for me...I'm 165cm and my board is 146cm (just below my chin). As I mentioned before, I watch a lot of snowboard videos/movies etc, and people like Torstein Horgmo (172cm) have 150cm boards for jumps and stuff.

Thank you so much for reading my long post...if you could please reply with any tips that would be super great!

if its just below the chin you will be perfectly fine. in the beginning it is mostly the rider, not the board.
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Last edited by IdahoFreshies; 03-23-2012 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You don't need a coach to learn but it can help things to come along faster and safer. Also a coach will motivate and push you while keeping you on the safest progression. That being said if you cant afford it then take it easy, don't care about other riders in the park and if you have problems record it and ask us.
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Old 03-23-2012, 10:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah I never took park lessons. I spent a lot of time in the park in my early teens, just screwing around. As long as you have the park etiquette who cares if you bail. If you don't bail once in a while you're not trying hard enough! So just get in there and try it out. Watch what other people do as far as etiquette. Generally if it's busy you'll have to line up for features and you should say "dropping" as you're heading for the feature.

If you can find a park with small features, start there and get really comfy on those before moving up.

I wouldn't be so discouraged as far as competing goes. I snowboarded for fun until my high school got a ski/snowboard team, then I competed in a few carving races at the provincial level. Got 6th out of over 100 competitors and I was wearing my baggy shit and long toque while some of these guys were wearing skin tight sperm suits. lol

If there are fun competitions near you that'd be great to get into.

It's sort of like auto racing. People will be quick to say that if you weren't racing go carts while you were still in the womb, you'll never make it into Formula 1, but you can still have a blast at local races, rally's etc.

One of my local mountains has a big mountain challenge, where it's sort of like a scavenger hunt/race. You have to map out your route to be able to catch all the flags with the smallest number of trips up the lift, and obviously speed counts on the runs. People of all ages get into that.

If you're REALLY serious about competition I'd get a coach/trainer NOW, get on the trampoline, airbags, etc. and you could get into it. Amateur sports are pretty expensive until you're really good though.

Have fun!
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