As you might expect, speed control is one of the most important skills that a snowboarder can have. This is especially true with regard to steeper runs on “black diamond” hills; however, it’s easy to lose control on even moderate slopes when we don’t rein in our snowboarding speed.
Learning Where to Start
Perhaps the best way to practice snowboard speed control is on smaller runs with gentle slopes. Even if you’re a novice snowboarder, mastering the basics of speed control shouldn’t take long; in large part, speed control is about “carving”: This is the process of making your way down a hill in large “swooping” motions: As many new snowboarders learn to their chagrin, heading down a hill in a straight line is often a recipe for disaster!
Close to the Edge
To really get your speed control chops down, try using the left and right edges of your snowboard to get a horizontal motion relative to the slope going. Criss-crossing through a run will keep you in control of your speed; however, try to be aware of riders that may be trying to pass you. Cutting big swathes across a run is a great method for slowing yourself down; however, this process can put you in the path of other snowboarders.
Learning Speed Control the Right Way
Once you’re comfortable criss-crossing across a slope in a reasonable way, it’s important to find a speed that is right for you. Generally speaking, snowboarders should pick a speed that will enable them to slow down in the event of an emergency. If someone on skis darts in front of you, for example, you should be able to safely come to a stop before hitting them.
It may feel exciting to jettison yourself down a challenging ski run; however, you should never feel as though you’re out of control while snowboarding. No snowboarder likes “catching an edge”: To wit, this is when someone misjudges a turn and throws their body out of balance. To avoid this conundrum, keep your speed reasonable and your critical reasoning skills sharp: If a run feels dangerous, play it safe.
You should always be able to slow yourself down: Ask anyone who has fallen into a tree well, and you’ll learn that the ability to come to a stop in reasonable time is a must when it comes to snowboarding. Grasping the basics of speed control doesn’t take a lot of time; however, mastery of this skill will serve you in good stead as you develop your approach to snowboarding.
Above all else, enjoy your time on the mountain! Snowboarding is a tricky skill to master. But the lifelong benefits of learning how to snowboard are second to none!