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As I've noted previously, I started boarding in early December. I live not far from Whistler, BC and am able to get up to the mountain to ride 2-3 times a week now. While I have progressed - I no longer fall when unloading from the lift chair, am able to link turns down green runs, am improving at straight runs, and have even tried small jumps - I was frustrated to see how much more difficult turning on blue runs is.

I decided to step things up and try a few blue runs, including the Upper Franz run at Whistler. I quickly realized two major problems: 1) the blue runs seemed to be heavily moguled out, making turning really challenging; and 2) the steepness of the runs is both scary and physically hard. I had a couple of bad falls while on toe side that tweaked my ankles. I ended up doing falling leaf down a lot of the Upper Franz run but would rather avoid that since I'm an expert at falling leaf! LOL

My question is should I stick with green runs for the rest of the season and avoid blue runs altogether or should I keep trying the blues? If I should keep trying the blues, do you all have any tips for turning on them, especially dealing with moguls?
 

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As I've noted previously, I started boarding in early December. I live not far from Whistler, BC and am able to get up to the mountain to ride 2-3 times a week now. While I have progressed - I no longer fall when unloading from the lift chair, am able to link turns down green runs, am improving at straight runs, and have even tried small jumps - I was frustrated to see how much more difficult turning on blue runs is.

I decided to step things up and try a few blue runs, including the Upper Franz run at Whistler. I quickly realized two major problems: 1) the blue runs seemed to be heavily moguled out, making turning really challenging; and 2) the steepness of the runs is both scary and physically hard. I had a couple of bad falls while on toe side that tweaked my ankles. I ended up doing falling leaf down a lot of the Upper Franz run but would rather avoid that since I'm an expert at falling leaf! LOL

My question is should I stick with green runs for the rest of the season and avoid blue runs altogether or should I keep trying the blues? If I should keep trying the blues, do you all have any tips for turning on them, especially dealing with moguls?
Franz on a mogully day can be a lot of work especially for a beginner. Ideally get the whistler smartphone app and under the conditions tab check the grooming section and seek out runs that were groomed the night before. The website also shows what was groomed. My experience is that the blacks are rarely groomed but mostly they groom the blues within a day or two of new snow, wiping out the moguls.

Also Franz's is one of the steeper blues at whistler, try runs like cruiser, honeycomb on blackcomb, and so on for slightly easier blues. Also the family zone on whislter side, and runs off the jersey cream chair on blackcomb side.

But unless you really find the easier blues too challenging keep working on the groomed blues, you'll get better for doing so and the spring conditions are pretty soft so it's a little less painful if you fall so its a good time to try them.
 

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As I've noted previously, I started boarding in early December. I live not far from Whistler, BC and am able to get up to the mountain to ride 2-3 times a week now. While I have progressed - I no longer fall when unloading from the lift chair, am able to link turns down green runs, am improving at straight runs, and have even tried small jumps - I was frustrated to see how much more difficult turning on blue runs is.

I decided to step things up and try a few blue runs, including the Upper Franz run at Whistler. I quickly realized two major problems: 1) the blue runs seemed to be heavily moguled out, making turning really challenging; and 2) the steepness of the runs is both scary and physically hard. I had a couple of bad falls while on toe side that tweaked my ankles. I ended up doing falling leaf down a lot of the Upper Franz run but would rather avoid that since I'm an expert at falling leaf! LOL

My question is should I stick with green runs for the rest of the season and avoid blue runs altogether or should I keep trying the blues? If I should keep trying the blues, do you all have any tips for turning on them, especially dealing with moguls?
I ended up taking a lesson when I got stuck a bit on my progression, what I found was being afraid of the cliff or the tree line on the side of a steeper narrow run result in my leaning back and not being able to turn... Forcing me to skid to a stop or bail. This was especially bad on my heelside to toeside transitions. Throwing my weight forward, lowering my center of gravity, and initiating the turn by torsioning my front foot solved it. But it was mostly just setting that fear aside and getting forward.
 

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Push the envelope

As long as you stay within reasonable range of your overall skill set, I have definitely found that carefully pushing the envelope ALWAYS improves my skill/comfort level when I go back to the previous terrain after getting my ass kicked on something I'm not comfortable with (currently that would be steeper black mogul runs, park features that I cannot ride onto, and to a certain extent, unbridled speed on icy flat runouts/cat tracks as I have scorpioned a couple of times and it hurts!).

Take the advice for finding the groomed and easier blue runs, but by all means keep trying them. Don't push the envelope at the beginning or the end of the day, or (for me anyway) right after lunch because I feel sorta sluggish that first run while my food settles.

Take precautions, choose your terrain wisely, board under control, wear protective gear if you have vulnerable parts, etc, but you can't go wrong with a little judicious envelope pushing to encourage your progress! Best of luck!
 

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Make sure on the blues you are not leaning yourself uphill, can make turning frustrating. Keep yourself centered over the board, and make sure you are initiating the turn with your downhill foot first by lifting the toe or heel first then allowing the uphill foot to follow.
 

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Speaking as a recent green to blue transition-er:

Keep going back and forth between greens and blues. I had a lot of problems with blue at first as well. So I would give blue a try, fail, go back to greens for a few days, repeat.

Try finding an easier blue if you can. It eventually suddenly clicked for me and blues were doable. A lesson helps, too, if you can afford it.
 

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go with someone better then you and just follow them down.

That's how I learn.

If I don't keep up then i'm on my own.

I pretty sure that's how we learn.
 

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Go try the easiest black run. You'll have a hard time no doubt, but once you make it down you'll be amazed how much easier those blue runs seem now. Maybe very different advice than you've been receiving, but what's the point of everyone telling you the same thing.
 

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I just started boarding myself recently, so I'm also still on greens and blues :p

If it was me.... I think I would try something harder like a steeper blue. Or if there was like a blue with a steeper/harder section on it would probably be ideal.
I would try to do single turns (like a C shaped one) first then try to link a few turns and if it's really bad, leaf down (it's like my worst case scenario get off mountain card) but I try not to use it and remind myself I didn't go to the mountain to like do the invisible chair all day :p

After I made it down my first blue, greens were so easy. I think trying and getting used to a steeper angle takes the edge off the fear so you won't end up leaning on your back foot when turning. like your body kinda goes, pfft this is nothing I've seen worse.

That was the problem I had when trying to turn on to the toe edge. I literally grabbed my knees to stop myself from leaning back. And I started to really bend my knees when it's scary, because there's now less distance to fall to the ground

Also I had some fierce tunes blasting to help me get some courage on my first blue :thumbsup:
 

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Go try the easiest black run. You'll have a hard time no doubt, but once you make it down you'll be amazed how much easier those blue runs seem now. Maybe very different advice than you've been receiving, but what's the point of everyone telling you the same thing.
This is in my opinion bad advice for Whistler, where the blues are pretty tough compared to most places to begin with and the guy's not sure if he should retreat to greens. I could see this if he was at some smaller hill where the blacks might not be too hard but in general at Whistler they're pretty tough and he should get the hang of blues first.
 

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Go try the easiest black run. You'll have a hard time no doubt, but once you make it down you'll be amazed how much easier those blue runs seem now. Maybe very different advice than you've been receiving, but what's the point of everyone telling you the same thing.
Yeah, DON'T do this.

This is in my opinion bad advice for Whistler, where the blues are pretty tough compared to most places to begin with and the guy's not sure if he should retreat to greens. I could see this if he was at some smaller hill where the blacks might not be too hard but in general at Whistler they're pretty tough and he should get the hang of blues first.
Because of this.
 

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This is in my opinion bad advice for Whistler, where the blues are pretty tough compared to most places to begin with and the guy's not sure if he should retreat to greens. I could see this if he was at some smaller hill where the blacks might not be too hard but in general at Whistler they're pretty tough and he should get the hang of blues first.
I tend to disagree...but the issue is how long is the black run...(not the steepness)....if it is miles and going to take 45 minutes...then agreed. But if it is a short back that takes 10-15 minutes...why the fuck not. Yesterday NW and I were taking Donutz in some triple black tree stuff...that was steep and narrow....he took it slow and worked within his level but it changed his world about doing the gnarls barkley.
 

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When I started which honestly wasn't too long ago, I had the same issue. Thing that helped the most was to lose fear and commit. I've heard what's here on the east coast is nothing compared to what's out your way but just making it down the run even if it was just sliding down the entire run it helped me realize it isn't that bad. Also since your their so often just try blue runs a few times through out the day so your not just falling the entire time and getting discouraged. Also try and bring a friend that's better then you, snowboarder preferably but even another skiier helps. I had a friend on ski's that was light years ahead of me so trying to keep up with him also helped push me along. Not so much trying to start me off on black runs when I could barley stand lol
 

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OP, I don't know if this applies to you at all, but since you mentioned having problems turning toeside, I had that problem when I first started riding steeper blues after greens and easy blues. Turns out, my shoulder was rotated open when turning from heelside to toeside (I ride regular) AND I was bending at the waist on my toeside. Once I fixed those things, the problem went away. This was pointed out to me in a private intermediate-level lesson I took a while back.

Also, as another poster said, commit. As an exercise, pick a spot ahead of you, and turn when you hit that spot.
 

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I gotta second whoever said a lesson. All of us on here telling you to drop down blacks, commit, lean forward, etc. won't do 1/10th of what a good instructor could do in a couple hours.

My GF has gone from brand new and quite accident prone, to legitimately riding (i.e. not sliding down) rocky mountain double blacks in about 3 full seasons, and I think a big part of that is she took a lesson every 10-15 days on the snow.
 

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+1 for lessons, even informal ones with someone better than you

-1 for dropping in a black at this stage, you could become a statistic...you don't want to become a statistic
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Trying a black run at Whistler is a bad idea

This is in my opinion bad advice for Whistler, where the blues are pretty tough compared to most places to begin with and the guy's not sure if he should retreat to greens. I could see this if he was at some smaller hill where the blacks might not be too hard but in general at Whistler they're pretty tough and he should get the hang of blues first.
You're absolutely right. Blues and blacks at Whistler are pretty intense. I found out the hard way today. A skier told me the Upper Fraser blue run is notoriously difficult and advised I take the black Dave Murray run instead. Big mistake! It was soooo steep and moguled that I only managed to get in a handful of turns. The rest of the time I had to do the falling leaf down the slope. Even that was tough because the run was so challenging. Not fun at all. And I'm not sure it did anything to improve my boarding. In fact, it eroded my confidence.

I am going to try to some easier blue runs to push the envelope a bit. But I am nowhere near ready for a black run at Whistler.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I did take a few lessons

I gotta second whoever said a lesson. All of us on here telling you to drop down blacks, commit, lean forward, etc. won't do 1/10th of what a good instructor could do in a couple hours.

My GF has gone from brand new and quite accident prone, to legitimately riding (i.e. not sliding down) rocky mountain double blacks in about 3 full seasons, and I think a big part of that is she took a lesson every 10-15 days on the snow.
I did take a few lessons when I first started and had a FANTASTIC teacher at Whistler named Kosta. His style of teaching was a great balance between providing support and encouraging me to push the envelope a bit to boost my confidence. I've come a long way since I started in December. I can ride down an entire green run linking turns without falling now. That is a big deal for me because I think I'm probably a bit more cautious than most new boarders given my ripe old age of 51.


Also, I do ride with a friend who is a better boarder than I. That pushes me to keep up. But I may take another lesson soon to see if I'm developing any bad habits.

I came across this youtube video lesson about riding on steep slopes. What impressions do you all have about the advice and techniques in the vid? How To Snowboard: Riding Steeps - YouTube

BTW, thanks everyone for all your help, support, and input. I really appreciate it. Your advice has made me a better boarder.
 

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Assuming you follow CassMT's advice and don't become a statistic, even the most terrible unfun runs like that teach your body something, especially when you go back to a green. Don't Give Up!!

Given the amount of time you get up at Whistler, I would get on the "lesson" band wagon. Not only is it bound to help your technique, who better to steer you in the right direction in terms of runs that are in your "skill spectrum" than a certified instructor who just spent an hour or two watching you board. Seems like on a mountain of that size, there should be a nice set of groomed progression runs that you could step through while practicing your techniques, getting comfortable with speed, and work on handling varying snow conditions. I dunno.

Most of my season is on Mid Atlantic mountains, but just came back from a week at Sun Valley. It was pretty big, and there was definitely something to that "color ratings are relative to other runs ON THIS MOUNTAIN" thing, because a blue at Sun Valley could be significantly more challenging that the average blue run found in MD, PA or WV. Not to mention about 3 times as long. We got a tour from a couple of locals the first day, but I still felt like I had to be careful not to end up somewhere that I couldn't get out of in one piece.
 
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