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Tue 4th January 2011
The Beginner Snowboarding Progression

This was my second day on a snowboard this season! Three of our ski instructors (Me, Matty and Greg) went through and learnt the snowboarding beginner progression to help prepare ourselves for the snowboarding exams in March.

Here is an overview of what we learned –

  • Introduction – the students are introduced to the snowboard and all of its parts – the edges (toe and heel), the camber, the bindings, the toe strap, the heel strap, the high backs and the clips.

 

  • Basic Mobility – the group straps one of their feet into the board and is told to slide it around to get used to the feeling of the snow and lack of friction. After trying this with the free foot behind and in front of the board the group is told to 'skate' around in a circle – this gets them moving facing both up and down the hill. After that the group is told to do two big skates to build up speed and then put the free foot onto the board, pushing it against the back binding, this is called 'gliding'. Repeat gliding both ways round. Basic mobility should be done on the flattest terrain possible, away from people coming down the slope.

 

  • Straight Running – The group is told to glide, but this time stop themselves by putting the toe or heel of their free foot off the board and dragging it on the snow to create friction and stop. Once the group has the hang of this they can progress to doing this facing down the (very flat) slope. The best way is to get them to point their board straight down, put your foot on the front of it and then ask them if they are ready to go before letting them slide.

 

  • J –Turns – Once the group is comfortable with straight running you can start to get them doing some basic turns (still with one foot strapped in, in case they start to fall). Demonstrate that by turning the upper body and head that the legs follow, turning the board – demonstrate this both on the spot and again while straight running. Tell the group to shift their weight onto their front foot to pivot better and even out their pressure onto both feet once they have brought the board round. Get the group to give it a few goes so that they can get used to the feeling of turning with the upper body. Always get the group to start turning on their heel edge (so that they are facing down the hill and not moving facing backwards) and once they can do that comfortably, move onto the toe edge.

 

  • Two-Footed Orientation – Get the group to strap both their feet into the board whilst sat down for the first time, teach them to put one hand on the ground and with the other hand reach right over the board, like you are doing an indy grab, to roll onto the board and stay still. Go over edging and how it keeps you stationary, maybe even holding their hands and getting them to try out their edges. Get the group to do some small hops and test out their balance with two feet strapped in, be careful though because it is easy for them to fall and hurt their wrists and knees.

 

  • Side-Slipping – Make sure the group is on a slight inclination, take them one at a time and get them to stand on their heel edge, taking both their hands, and get them to slide down the slope (explain it like a gas pedal – push your toes down to accelerate and lift your toes to slow down). After they can do that without you aiding them then you can get them to try out the same exercise but on their toe edge (instead of a gas pedal explain it like a brake pedal). This teaches speed control and good edging facing both directions.

 

  • Falling/Floating Leaf – To progress from side-slipping you can get them to try this simple exercise. After side-slipping a little on their heel edge get them to apply pressure to one of their feet to traverse across the slope, stop (by evening their pressure) and then going back into a side-slip. Once they can do this both left and right (singularly) get them to link them together (with a side-slip in between) to create a shape similar to that of a falling leaf. In front of smaller children and unconfident boarders it may be better to call it floating leaf to eliminate any fears of 'falling'!

 

  • Single Turns – Once you feel the group is ready then you can begin to teach them basic turns. Start by traversing on the heel edge and, just like with the J-turns, get the group to rotate their upper body and look where they want to go, putting pressure onto their leading foot and then evening it out once the board has come round and use side-slipping to come to a stop. Get them to try this on their toe edge too – repetition will really help to build confidence and help the students to remember the techniques. Supervise the group a lot during this stage as they are likely to fall.

 

  • Linked Turns – After your students are doing single turns to a good standard you can try and get them to link two turns together. After they have finished one turn instead of stopping get them to traverse across on their edge and do another turn whilst already moving. Go through all of the movements again (rotation of the upper body, the pressure on the front foot and then the even pressure at the end of the turn) so that the group has a clear image in their head of what they need to do. Again, repetition of this is key.

 

  • Novice Turns – When the group can all link their turns consistently you can introduce flexion and extension. Basically, at the end of the turn the rider should bend their knees to make themselves as low as they can and in the middle of the turn they should be a lot taller (but with their knees still bent). The main idea is for the rider to constantly be moving their legs to increase and decrease the pressure on the board. Exaggeration works superbly in this area, the more repetition and more exaggerated the up and down movements the better the students will remember this technique! Great exaggerated demos and exercises are a great help too!
Mon 28th March 2011
St Tropez Day 2

Today was just a chill out day and a day of rest for the drivers, so we hit the pool, went down the beach, some sun bathing and a walked into the town to great some tasty as pizza.

The weather was amazing perfect sunshine, couldnt asked for more in the beautiful south of france.

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