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Discussion Starter #1
I discovered this past weekend that I'm terrible at riding in straight lines. I was running a green that has mild terrain consisting of 3-4 ramps and drops (meant to get used to the sensation I assume, far too mild to get any air) along with 2 narrow paths on the side. Any tips on improving straight line riding? I tried to stay on my heel edge, but I would slowly drift to the side or I would not use enough edge and flat base it and start getting wobbly. Just more practice? I will admit that I probably would benefit from getting more comfortable with greater speeds, but there was a lot of traffic on the trail.
 

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Yeah, I felt that way about going straight in my early learning days, too. It's ultimately a matter of maintaining good form and feeling comfortable on the board, which really both come from just snowboarding a lot. Keep legs bent, keep shoulders aligned with board, keeping a stacked, stable stance of shoulders over hips over board... consciously moving weight a bit forward is a huge in maintaining control.

I "flat-base" in brief moments as a ride a straight area (and when I ollie/nollie), but definitely tend to rock between toe and heel edge to maintain a sense of "edge engagement" and control. Otherwise, flat-basing for a long time can cause a sudden edge engagement to surprise your body and cause you to catch an edge over your frame, not having anticipated it. It's just something to get used to.
 

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Yes, neutral stance in the cereal box, stacked and aligned with slight weight on the nose. And your knees slightly bent...AND loose knees, ankles and feet. You want your body flowing the line...being pulled by the chi. With your body parts being stacked, aligned and loose...you lightly float like a feather/arrow being shot from a bow. You want to keep your upper body quiet and flowing the line and your lower body loose and absorbing. When you are loose and neutral you can flow and react faster than being tight and stiff. Another thing, is to look further down the hill to where you want to go...instead of being focused (tight) on what is right in front of you...then you just float and trust the board and looseness of your body.
 

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Yes, neutral stance in the cereal box, stacked and aligned with slight weight on the nose. And your knees slightly bent...AND loose knees, ankles and feet. You want your body flowing the line...being pulled by the chi. With your body parts being stacked, aligned and loose...you lightly float like a feather/arrow being shot from a bow. You want to keep your upper body quiet and flowing the line and your lower body loose and absorbing. When you are loose and neutral you can flow and react faster than being tight and stiff. Another thing, is to look further down the hill to where you want to go...instead of being focused (tight) on what is right in front of you...then you just float and trust the board and looseness of your body.
My, what a beautiful description.

When you say knees bent, should I be bending my knees more than when I'm normally riding?
Well, different people might have different degrees of crouching for what they consider "normal riding," but for me, I'd say I do actually sometimes bend my knees just little bit more (or at least as much) than I would on, say... a wide open, smooth blue square run. You don't have to get CRAZY low, though. An early problem for me was thinking that I could just stand tall and casual in long, narrow, narrow places (because "oh, look how easy this part is!") and lulling myself into a lazy, high-centered form lacking stability. And then I would fall pathetically after picking up a bit of speed by catching an edge or something. Getting down a bit lower definitely feels better to me now. And like the dude above said, being relaxed, loose, and sure to look ahead where you wanna go are fantastically helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I think loose is the main thing. I've found myself getting looser while riding normally which made it tremendously easier to ride choppier snow, and I think I am tensing up on the straightaways worrying about falling over!
 

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I think loose is the main thing. I've found myself getting looser while riding normally which made it tremendously easier to ride choppier snow, and I think I am tensing up on the straightaways worrying about falling over!
Fear= tensing up. For a long time this was me. One thing to understand when riding flat or nearly flat and going straightaways, is that there is no edge to catch...as long as you have a bit of weight on the nose. However if you are in the back seat, then you have weight on the tail and then the tail tends to want to swing around. This tail swinging around is especially true if you are not aligned with the board. The easiest remedy is to shift your leading hip toward the nose and remained stacked with some weight on the front foot...this will immediately quiet any speed wobbles. It is possible to flat base and be in the back seat (weight on the tail) but you have to make sure that you are aligned, stacked and not twisted up.

A thing about riding choppier snow is to be loose and anticipate the chop (hopefully you can see the chop) and get loose and able to absorb or suck up the knees/lower body to float over the chop while keeping the upper body relatively quiet...And quiet means loose but not wildly gestating or getting flung/tossed around by the chop.

As for the chi reference. You use your eyes/head and look for a point in the distance to attach/anchor your chi and then let it pull you to that spot. Its a pull/attraction thing...not a pushing thing.

Hope this makes sense.
 

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@SlvrDragon50 Forgot to add....A thing to do when going straight and relatively flat, is just to rock your knees/ankles/feet back and forth (heel,toe,heel,toe...etc) but keep your upper body quiet and a very slight weight on the nose...it should almost feel that ur not at all weighting the nose. You will be basically be going straight with a very slight wiggle line. Do fast and slow rock'n wiggles and then you will develope the skillz to weave through the traffic on flatish narrow cattracks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@SlvrDragon50 Forgot to add....A thing to do when going straight and relatively flat, is just to rock your knees/ankles/feet back and forth (heel,toe,heel,toe...etc) but keep your upper body quiet and a very slight weight on the nose...it should almost feel that ur not at all weighting the nose. You will be basically be going straight with a very slight wiggle line. Do fast and slow rock'n wiggles and then you will develope the skillz to weave through the traffic on flatish narrow cattracks.
Got it. I'm not very good at doing fast transitions unfortunately, but I'll work on it this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@SlvrDragon50 Forgot to add....A thing to do when going straight and relatively flat, is just to rock your knees/ankles/feet back and forth (heel,toe,heel,toe...etc) but keep your upper body quiet and a very slight weight on the nose...it should almost feel that ur not at all weighting the nose. You will be basically be going straight with a very slight wiggle line. Do fast and slow rock'n wiggles and then you will develope the skillz to weave through the traffic on flatish narrow cattracks.
Was able to do it a little bit on the big wide hills but very little confidence on the narrow trails. I did discover that I was unconsciously turning my upper body when watching videos on how to jump, and that helped a lot in steering straight. I'm still flat basing on the narrow parts though and catching edges :( Just need to practice some more!
 

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Was able to do it a little bit on the big wide hills but very little confidence on the narrow trails. I did discover that I was unconsciously turning my upper body when watching videos on how to jump, and that helped a lot in steering straight. I'm still flat basing on the narrow parts though and catching edges :( Just need to practice some more!
Confidence will come with time.

Flat basing and catching edges...just get on/shift hips to weight the nose...and likely too stiff/not loose enough...so that your lower body, especially the knees and ankles are loose to absorb the various little imperfections, slight ruts and stuff. This can often be a mental thing...instead of fighting the fear of catching an edge....just replace it, visualize yourself as lightly floating along and mindfully being loose. Ur almost there.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Confidence will come with time.

Flat basing and catching edges...just get on/shift hips to weight the nose...and likely too stiff/not loose enough...so that your lower body, especially the knees and ankles are loose to absorb the various little imperfections, slight ruts and stuff. This can often be a mental thing...instead of fighting the fear of catching an edge....just replace it, visualize yourself as lightly floating along and mindfully being loose. Ur almost there.
Yea, I definitely notice a difference when I'm loose. I think I need to be more comfortable traveling at higher speeds too since I'm relatively comfortable turning and shedding speed now. Unfortunately I don't see any snowboard trips in my near future! Wish I were closer to the mountains sometimes. We ended up getting sucked into a phase of trying to learn how to jump so I didn't get to do too much straight line riding except for leading into the jump.
 

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I was also struggling with this on my japan 2018 snow trip (first time snowboarder). I was on a rossignol district 2015 board as my learner board (20% camber in the middle and 80% rocker everywhere else). This was fine in furano where it was all big wide runs, but when we moved to tomamu there were a lot more cat tracks and I struggled big time on them.

I am planning my next trip now, is there a board profile that is more optimised for going straight down cat tracks? Any boards I should look at as my next board with this in mind? I plan on starting next trip with some lessons focused on this as well, but my wife and son loved these paths, especially the ones that went through the trees so I would like to do these more on the next trip.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I was also struggling with this on my japan 2018 snow trip (first time snowboarder). I was on a rossignol district 2015 board as my learner board (20% camber in the middle and 80% rocker everywhere else). This was fine in furano where it was all big wide runs, but when we moved to tomamu there were a lot more cat tracks and I struggled big time on them.

I am planning my next trip now, is there a board profile that is more optimised for going straight down cat tracks? Any boards I should look at as my next board with this in mind? I plan on starting next trip with some lessons focused on this as well, but my wife and son loved these paths, especially the ones that went through the trees so I would like to do these more on the next trip.
If your fear is catching an edge, I like my NS Swift. That said, I still prefer my camber boards for feeling locked in on icier and hardpack material. But I don't think you should be buying a board profile to go down straight cat track as pretty much any board is more than capable of doing it.

If you're doing japan trips, I'd look for a nice powder board.
 
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