Snowboard Tech Tip – traversing??
Now here’s an interesting Snowboarding tip that is useful for everyone!
Why do most snowboarders skid down the slope when they are trying to traverse?
Do you know the simple answer to this simple question?
When a snowboard is put on its edge and runs from tip to tail it is designed to turn.
The side cut of the board dictates that a board running along on its edge will carve and turn in an arc.
So when a board is placed on its edge and run across the slope it will therefore try to turn up the slope in an arc!
Seeing that the board cannot turn up the slope it will turn as much as it can (which means it won’t turn at all as it can’t go uphill with out momentum) and then it will simply stop going upwards and start skidding sideways down the slope as this is all that it can now do.
So how do we stop it doing that?
Basically you have to stop it steering up the hill.
You have to straighten the edge out, take the effect of the sidecut out of the board, straighten the edge out and it will run across the hill in a straight line.
To take the side cut or steering effect out of the board you need to do what I call a negative steer with your front foot.
If you’re standing on your toe edge for example, you have to steer slightly down the slope with your front foot, whilst still edging with your rear foot. In effect your rear foot stays hard on the toe edge whilst you drop your front edge pressure slightly towards the heel edge by dropping your front heel ‘very slightly’ down the slope.
This will also cause steering down the slope slightly and will torsionally flex the board and take the side cut effect away allowing you to track in a straight line.
You can alter your line and speed with tiny movements of your front foot to either give stronger (positive) edge tilt, which equals more pressure and more flex to the board to steer and carve up the hill, used to slow down and gain height, or less edge tilt (or a negative steer), which equals less pressure, so less flex and less steering up the hill which leads to more speed and a quicker traverse.
By making tiny tilting movements, positive and negative, with your front foot you can steer the board across the hill in a straight line and control your direction and speed.
If you can you could also drop a little down the slope to gain speed and then carve an arc across and back up the hill.
Snowboards work best if you travel in arcs rather than straight lines so try to think of your traverse as either one long arc or a series of little arcs joined together.
In a nutshell, to traverse a snowboard you have to not edge with both feet the same amount. You have to edge with your back foot whilst steering slightly against the slope with your front foot in a negative steer.
Negative steering (front foot tilt is opposite to the direction of the turn) can also be used in order to set a clean carve out of a turn and control your speed and line into the next turn.
If you carry on using a negative steer, down the slope, it will eventually cause you to change edge and make a turn, it will then have become a positive steer.
Get out there and make some sense of this technique and never struggle with a traverse again!
To find out more check out my McNab Snowboarding Technical Clinics…