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Back to Q&A Index of Questions

Q. Old and Stiff. Time to Switch?

Enjoyed your articles on line. I am a dinosaur on a board! I skied for what
seems like a hundred years and took up boarding a few years ago. I LOVE it,
and ride with my kids. I never get air or venture into the parks much but
that's ok. They don't want me in there anyway. I'm a basic left foot first
down the hill all the way.....Which brings me to my question.
Switching while riding

I am 5'8, 165 man. I have a Burton 157. Not sure of the model but it seems
pretty stiff and is about 6 years old. So....I see people switch their board
in a flash while flying down the hill.
How do they do that!?!
And, if the board is too stiff, can it be done? It seems like these guys are on board
they can rock back and forth and bend like a pretzel. Mine seems like a 2x4
so maybe I need a new ride. Anyway.....
Thanks for any and all advice

Jon Callahan answers:

These days a lot of riders are riding pretty soft boards, especially the kids at the mountain that are into rails.  The problem with a soft board is sometimes you don't have as much stability at higher speeds plus the board my not be as responsive edge to edge and that is extremely important if your into all mountain cruising.

Now back to the main part of your question riding switch and switching back and forth.   The most important thing is that you learn to ride switch first and feel pretty comfortable riding switch, which you probably already do.   If your not, I would just start off practicing by riding switch and then slide your body position back to your regular riding position.   As you get comfortable doing this then just try doing it the opposite way, from your regular stance to switch.   Just start off at a slow speed practicing it and getting the feel of it. Before you know it you will build up to doing it at higher speeds.   Plus you will impress your kids.
Hope this helps and have a great season.

Lauren Traub Teton answers:

How about riding "duck footed" with the back foot pointing backward at about minus 5 degrees, instead of front. Then when you ride switch your back foot will be in a more natural "down the hill" position instead of pointing up the hill. Try 5 to 15 degrees positive for your front foot. Donąt go too much higher than these angles these unless you have a real good reason. It can put too much torque on your knees.

and Jon says
You could definitely mention ducking the rear foot out.   That will make a big difference in riding switch.   Make it feel a little more natural.

Jeremy King

You don't need a new board. You need to get used to the feeling of your board, and how to begin to manipulate it. Once you get a feel for how much weight you need to perform manuals, you can then begin to pull a manual, then push the board in a 180 degree manner, to switch the board around.

Manuals are when you ride your board with your weight on your back foot, keeping the nose of your board elevated off the ground.
You can also switch this around to a nose manual, in which you have weight on your front foot, and the tail of your board is elevated off the ground.

The other option to getting into a switch position, is just slide your feet 180 degrees on the ground. No need to jump, no need to pull manuals or anything.
Or better yet, if you really want to ride switch without having to do any rotations to get into that position, start switch when you start your run.

Lauren asks Jeremy
That manual sounds like a tail press?

Jeremy answers
The only difference between a manual and a tail press is that a nose and tail press are done on rails, or boxes. The two definitions are rather interchangeable. but basically, a press is done while jibbing (rails/boxes) while manuals are done while riding on the snow.

Gavin Ehringer  answers:
If you have ridden the board a lot or stored the board horizontally, it
may have lost "spring" and gone flat. Or, maybe you're riding a
beginner type board: these tend to be forgiving but can also be heavy
and slow. Whatever the case, it sounds like you feel like you have
surpassed its performance capabilities.

Personally, I like a stiffer board. For big mountain riding here in
Colorado, that stiffness results in better edge hold and less chatter
at speed. Freestyle park/pipe boards tend to be more "noodly," but as
pipes have gotten bigger, the pro riders have gone to longer, stiffer
boards to handle the speed. Given your weight, you are into the right
length board (154-157 cm), so I'd suggest riding some demo boards to
find one you like. I'm a huge fan of K2 equipment; Nitro makes some
nice performance boards; the Arbor Boards are da kine. Never Summer has
a reputation for making very noodly boards, so try one if you can get
your hands on one. You might like the looser, snappier feel.

As for riding switch, you can spin faster with a shorter board and a
deeper sidecut; low swing weight also equals easier spins. But you
sacrifice a bit of stability with a shorter board and more sidecut, so
don't go too far in that direction unless you want to spend lots of
time in the park & pipe!


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