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Snowboard Tricks

Rail Riding 101
By Jon Callahan (Jon's Profile here)

So you picked up the latest snowboard mag or one of the newest videos that are in your local shops and you noticed your favorite rider sliding a rail. You too have gotten comfortable enough on your board that you would like to try sliding a rail. The following step-by-step process will help you get started. So put on your crash pads and all other safety equipment, and lets begin!

Rail Selection: This is a crucial step in the learning process. Donít get frustrated because youíre not sliding a 40 foot straight rail or a down-flat-down like the pros, this will come in time. Pick a rail that is short and has a ride on approach and is also low to the ground. You also should pick a flat rail that is wide, or possibly a box, just to get the feel of riding on something other than snow.

Editor's note: Ideally the path up to the rail should be smooth, not cruddy or icy. And the rail should be along the fall line of the mountain. If it is skewed across the fall line, gravity will be one extra force to fight, and you don't need that when you're starting out. If the conditions don't seem good for your early rail rides, wait for another session. You want to have a good chance of success your first times out.

The Approach: One of the best ways to approach any object in a park is to shadow a rider that is better than you. Simply follow them from a distance to get an idea of the amount of speed needed for the feature in the park. In this case, you would just need enough speed to carry you to the end of the rail or box. Approach the rail straight on the way you would when riding straight down the mountain and ride across the rail this way, which is known as a 50-50.

On the Rail: Remember to keep your weight centered on the rail and keep your knees slightly bent, arches of you feet should be centered over the rail which would leave 50 percent of the board on either side, hence giving the name 50-50. Your toes, knees and shoulders should all be aligned with one another through the motion.

Also remember that you are on a non-snow feature. Metal is faster than snow and boxes vary depending on weather conditions (sometimes sticky, sometimes quick). As you're riding on the rail you want to make the end of that rail your focal point and concentrate on that. **Note: If you feel yourself losing your center of balance on the rail, donít fight it, just jump off the rail to avoid injury.

Prepare for Landing: As you approach the end of the rail prepare to absorb that shock by keeping your legs loose. Give yourself enough room to bend your knees and absorb the landing. Then ride away and prepare for the next feature in the park. Always move far enough away from the landing of any feature to avoid collisions.

Congratulations you just rode your first rail!!!!!!

Now just practice over and over until youíre comfortable and you can start progressing little by little on different rails.

Steve Primo bonking, QuebecAbout the Author - Jon Callahan

Birthdate: 09/13/1981

Sponsors: Rossignol, Demon, Eyesor

Years Riding: 10

Years Sponsored: 3

Favorite Trick: Frontside 360

Grew Up: New Jersey

Winter Residence: Where ever there is snow

Riding preference: Pipe, Slopestyle, & Backcountry

Read about the editor of first time ever riding rails, at Tricia Byrnes snowboard camp in VT at 5th paragraph down from the top.


"Let's Ride!"






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