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I'm so glad I discovered this forum. I'm brand new to snowboarding (started at the end of November and have put in 24 days at the slopes of Whistler so far) and have found this site invaluable!

A bit about me: I'm 51, very fit from years as a rock climber and a few years of doing P90X and Insanity workouts. Until last November I had never tried snowboarding or skiing. So, I decided to give it a try even at this ripe old age! LOL. Thus far, I am loving it, though I'm probably a bit more tentative learning the sport so late in life.

My question: Getting off the chair lift is still a bit of a challenge for me. I've been spending my time at Whistler's learning area but discovered the chair lift there is pretty fast and the dismount is steep! I've only bailed once at that chair but I nearly wrecked my knee when I did so. My question is how does one practice skating (with just one foot in the bindings) on slight inclines without twisting an ankle or a knee? I'm fine on the flats but I tried practicing skating on very slight inclines and found I have no control of the board and that it frequently slides out from my back foot, forcing my front foot to skid forward and causing me to do the splits and/or twisting my ankle and knee. The instructors at Whistler told me not to practice with one foot in the bindings even on gentle slopes because of risk of injury. But I really want to feel confident getting off the chair lift.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I should clarify...

I have my back foot on the stomp pad. When I'm going down a gentle slope with just my front foot in the bindings I feel like I have no control over the board. Often, I fall and that causes me real concern because the fall tends to twist my front ankle and/or knee. I want to practice skating with my back foot on the stomp pad but I'm so afraid of wrecking my ankle or knee when I fall.
 

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The best way to get used to going down a ramp with one foot is to go down a trail with one foot. The more you skate around on a slight hill, the better you will get. But for starters... lets just get you down the ramp without killing yourself.

I always tell my students 2 things when getting off the lift. 1. Keep the board straight. This is harder than is seems, especially if there are other people on the lift. Just keep the damn thing straight, don't try to turn it, and you should be successful (assuming there is no crazy exit.) 2. Get that foot on the board (while keeping it straight) and push the outside of your foot against the back binding. This provides extra grip if you don't have a stomp pad, but more importantly, it gives you something to focus on that has nothing to do with turning the board... remember turning on lift ramp = fall (until you get better.)

So just keep her straight with NO ATTEMPTS TO TURN OR CONTROL THE BOARD and keep that pressure between the outside of your back foot and the back binding... you should just slowly coast to a stop, assuming it is a properly maintained beginner lift. Some people may say keep weight on your front foot... but this is only important IF YOU WANT TO TURN. You can have weight on your back foot if it is flat, IOW as long as there is no toe or heel pressure that causes turning of the snowboard. Focus on going straight and you should be all set.

As for getting better at skating...

I would start with the back foot out on the bunny hill, and then position your board pointing downhill. Throw that back foot on the board and put some pressure against the back binding with that back foot. Imagine trying to push the back binding off the tail of the board using the lateral (outer) side of your foot. That pressure should keep your foot in place. Now just as you start moving, try to get some pressure on your heels (mostly front foot) and see if you can get the board to turn and start skidding like a normal heel turn. If you can't already heel slide down the bunny hill with one foot out, make sure you can do that first, and then attempt the above. If you start to feel out of control, just pop the foot off before you get going fast and you can save yourself.

I'll add: Make sure you can slide down the hill on toes and heels one-footed before you attempt an actual one footed turn like described above. I tell people to start dragging their free heel on heelside, and free toe on toeside, to give a bit of friction and speed control to your skid. So on your heelside, let the back 1/3 of your foot drag a little line in the snow behind your board as you skid down the hill. On the toeside, let the front 1/3 of your foot do the same. If you go too fast, just let the foot slide off to catch yourself.

Hope that all helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks!

I appreciate all that great advice. For the most part, I am staying straight when I get off the lift and have not been falling as much. The problem with the Whistler learning area chair lift is the exit is STEEP and the chair doesn't slow down! So I bailed badly recently.

My concern is when I do fall with one foot in the bindings how do I prevent injury? When I fell at that particular lift my board turned suddenly, forcing my front foot to slide forward while my back foot came off the stomp pad. That twisted my ankle and knee badly. Now, I'm a bit nervous about practicing one foot in even on gentle slopes because if I fall I could injure my ankle and/or knee.

As a newbie, I'm aware that even if I heed every bit of advice I'm going to occasionally fall. So how do I protect my knee and/or ankle while skating with just one foot in?
 

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My girlfriend wanted to improve her one footed riding at Whistler also.

Instead of strapping up at the top of Big Red, she started riding from there down to the learning area/family zone under Emerald. It's a pretty long area where you won't get going too fast and nobody is going fast enough to cause a serious collision.

Just doing that a couple times a day will definitely give you a lot more confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been practicing at the Whistler learning area...

for the past few days. It is a fantastic place to practice fundamentals. But damn that chair lift exit is steep and fast!

I've been practicing skating with my back foot on the stomp pad on very gentle slopes at the learning area. But sometimes the board slides out from under my back foot and I end up doing the splits. A few times my front foot has gotten twisted in the process.

I tracked down the teacher I had at Whistler and he advised me NOT to practice one footed because of the potential for injury. He said, "That is a popped knee waiting to happen." So, how does one practice with one foot in the bindings on gentle slopes without risking injury to one's ankle or knee.

BTW, the instructors and the learning area at Whistler are amazing! I love that area because I can really focus on fundamentals without worrying about crowds. And I've been getting lots of practicing getting off that chair lift!
 

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when practicing 1 footy, keep your back foot on the stomp pad...period. Now you can have you boot slighty over the toeside or heel side...depending on how you like to stop. However leave the rear foot on the board until you stop. You also might try putting your rear foot up right next or closer to the front binding to help you make sure ur weighting the nose. The movements of skating or gliding around 1 footy is more subtle and you need to pay attention that your hips and shoulders are closed and knees are bent and relaxed, you are in a netural alinged and stacked posture and all body parts are in the imaginary ceral box.
 

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I appreciate all that great advice. For the most part, I am staying straight when I get off the lift and have not been falling as much. The problem with the Whistler learning area chair lift is the exit is STEEP and the chair doesn't slow down!

I assume you are riding Olympic chair at mid station which. Does have a pretty steep offload.
You have two options. Practicing on the very slight incline where the magic carpet is, you could incorporate using your foot to drag to slow down or even mixing that with light edge pressure to get used to the feeling of only having one foot strapped in

Or- head up to the top of the mountain and ride Emerald chair. The terrain the the family zone (ego bowl) is much the same but the chair offload is not as steep.

The bunny hill on Blackcomb has an easy chair too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, the Olympic chair at mid-station

And while I was there today I nearly bought it dismounting that chair lift. One of the instructors asked if one of his students could ride the chair with me. I agreed. The little kid was about 10 and had never been on a chair lift before. When we were exiting the chair he skied right in front of me. I have little ability to steer my board with just one foot in the bindings. It took all my limited skill to steer clear of him but I came close to falling and having my board skid out from under my back foot - the very scenario I worry about because of the potential of a twisted knee.

I did practice skating near the magic carpet today and am feeling more confident with one foot in the bindings. Still, I feel nervous about the board slipping away and I end up doing the splits and hurting myself.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have boarded from Roundhouse...

to the Emerald chair and done a lot of the green runs. But after reading many threads on this forum and watching boarding lesson vids, I decided to work on fundamentals at Whistler's learning area. I was worried I was getting into bad habits being on the main runs with so many other people (e.g. doing the falling leaf for far too long because I was nervous with so many others whizzing by me). At the learning area I can focus on certain skills (skating, straight runs, Garlands, J turns, and getting off the chair lift) without dealing with crowds. Plus, I don't get so distracted at the learning area.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
BTW, thanks everyone!

Your advice and thoughtful comments are a big help. I was at Whistler again today and really practiced with one foot in the bindings and concentrating on keeping my back foot on the stomp pad and up against the back bindings. That helped a lot.
 

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Your advice and thoughtful comments are a big help. I was at Whistler again today and really practiced with one foot in the bindings and concentrating on keeping my back foot on the stomp pad and up against the back bindings. That helped a lot.
I think the best way to keep from getting injured is to focus on this. Most people have a mini freak out/lapse of focus and let that foot slide and that's when it slips off and you can get hurt. I don't even have a stomp pad, but the pressure I apply to my back binding with my free foot keeps my foot in place.
 

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I am still in the beginner stages, but I find if I get off and coast straight most places have a large enough spot were I can coast to a stop.

Otherwise, I like to sit on the far right side of the chair so I can do a gradual toe side J-turn and come to a stop.

The worst part about the chair lift is the people who stand at the off load and you have to dip and dodge around them.

Best case scenario for me is the area is clear and I can just coast to a stop..... so I feel your pain, LOL
 

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I too started snowboarding in my 50's and my early experiences with the chair were the most difficult of all. Every time I would fall at unload.

Where I learned in Colorado, the beginner area had a very quick double, non detachable. The exit snow ramp was built up very high up under the chair, I guess because 90% of the beginners at this location were under 6 or 7 years old and short.
The problem I had was that, being 6'2", as I placed the board on the ramp it would be very close to the bottom of the chair and I would be in a crouch position.
As I came up out of this crouch i would push the board off to one side or another. It became so bad I knew I was going to fall and would just stare at the board (not good) during exit, rather than looking ahead and down the ramp (good).

My instructor advised we go off the beginner area to the other lifts where the exit was not designed for smaller people. Never fell again.

My advice:

Get out on the edge of the chair and position the board straight ahead.
Put the back foot over the stomp pad and up against the rear binding, but Do not look down and stress over this.
Relax, and continue looking ahead and down the ramp where you want to go as you stand.
Good luck -
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, everyone, for all this great insight

I've been practicing at the Whistler learning area a lot lately and my one footed skating is getting better. Still nervous that my back foot will slide off and twist my knee or ankle. So I've been ever so gradually trying skating on slightly steeper grades at the learning area and trying J turns.

I had a near epic upon unloading from the chair yesterday. A crowd of skiers was standing in the offload area. When I got off the chair I literally had no where to go. I can steer - slightly - with one foot in now but there was no way I could avoid the skiers. So I just yelled - nicely - at them to move and put out my hands. Fortunately, I didn't knock anyone over.

Putting pressure on the stomp pad and against the back binding helps. But sometimes the board pivots and then the toe side edge catches and my back foot pops off. This still worries me because of potential injury. I'll do what folks here have suggested and keep practicing one footed.
 

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One way I find helpful like on a cattrack where I may get some speed but I don't want to strap in...instead of pushing my back foot against the back binding, I will put it right next to my front foot. This forces me to really steer from my front binding since all the weight is there anyways...sometimes having that back foot out back there can make your legs want to do skidded turns that you really aren't going for.
 

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don't know if this is relevant or not but when i try to make a turn after after getting off the lift, I usually signal with one of my arms which direction I will be turning to avoid people riding into me from behind.
 

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Welcome to the forum and feel good about being a part of the select group of us that started this great activity a little later in life. ( 49 for this guy ) Rest assured that you are not alone in this challenge. We all experienced the frustration / embarrassment of the dreaded chair lift offload.

Getting your feet comfortable is key. Looking ahead and not down, vital, but when doing so, keep your board straight from the moment you stand up and (this is critical to success) keep your shoulders in line with your board. Any little bit of shoulder twist is going to mess you up.
 

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I try not to depend on my stomp pad , if I have so much weight there that I need a stomp pad, my back foot will probably want to swing around. How about rear entry binding , just kick your foot in as you leave the lift you'll have at least toe side.
 

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Welcome to the forum and feel good about being a part of the select group of us that started this great activity a little later in life. ( 49 for this guy ) Rest assured that you are not alone in this challenge. We all experienced the frustration / embarrassment of the dreaded chair lift offload.

Getting your feet comfortable is key. Looking ahead and not down, vital, but when doing so, keep your board straight from the moment you stand up and (this is critical to success) keep your shoulders in line with your board. Any little bit of shoulder twist is going to mess you up.
Why don't you tell him your true secret of cinching on the chair lift
 
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