Getting in Shape for Snowboarding Tricks
This series of snowboard exercises will get your coordination and balance in top shape for pre-season riding and doing tricks on the snow.
Exercises performed by Stephen Colgate *
If you don’t have safe railroad tracks to practice on, suggestions for alternatives are below.
Staying on Track
Balance is a key component for snowboarders to being able to ride rails and to keep your snowboard on edge. An easy way to practice, and build yourskills is as easy as walking down a railroad track. Don’t have anyrailroad tracks in your neck of the woods? Try using a low wall, curbing or fence, as pictured in the video clips.
A low fence is a good starting point, keeping it easier and safer. Progress to higher fencing and more narrow walls. Or make your own rails. Shop your local lumber yard for some nice 2×4 or 4×4 inch posts. Try to purchase the longest possible length that can be carried in your car or truck. Partially bury, or secure the length of lumber, which will insure it staying stable, as you leap across it.
Walking, jogging, leaping and hopping develop dynamic body balance, used for rail slides. Start with a simple walk down the rail/lumber, with arms out from your side, like a tight-rope walker. Try not to look down at your feet, rather focus your vision about 10 feet ahead, towards the end of the rail. As you improve, you will use your peripheral vision, as you focus more on a point on the horizon ahead of you.
For all the skills shown on the video, there are many more variations, let your imagination be your guide.
Walk forwards/backwards on rails, side shuffle, squat, one legged squat, lunges, both forward and backwards. Hop from railroad tie to rail, to tie, to rail, etc…for the ultimate trick…jump and land across from one rail to the other and stick it.
Only increase the difficulty of tricks when you really own each trick and perform it well, without loss of balance, when repeated, time and again. Amping it up a level, now attempt to leap onto the rail from a 180, then 360. Do the same coming off the rail too.
Foot agility is practiced when running on only the railroad ties, or alternating from rail to tie and back again. Wear flat-soled sneakers, such as tennis shoes, as opposed to running shoes, which tend to slip off the rails and increase the risk of ankle sprains. Overall, be safe, look and listen for trains, don’t use active train track routes while wearing your ipod.
* Stephen Colgate is a level 2 AASI Snowboard Instructor and Head Ski Racing Coach for the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT.
* Jean Sapula is an AASI Level II Snowboard Instructor at Ski Sundown in CT and has the following qualifications: M.Ed. (Masters in Education), ATC (Athletic Trainer Certified), CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), Certified Athletic Trainer, and Strength and Conditioning Specialist for the Loomis Chaffee School
Video Clips showing conditioning exercises for snowboarding by Jean Sapula and Todd Gerkey
Words describing exercises for strong snowboarding
Protecting your eyes on the slopes