50/50 to boardslide
Riding boxes and rails gives a totally different sensation to all other areas of snowboarding and once you get started offers limitless possibilities of different tricks to work on.
Starting from the beginning, the first thing you want to try is the 50/50. This is basically just riding on and over the box and should be no more to it than riding in a straight line! However there are few areas where things can potentially go wrong.
The most important part is the approach; make sure you come in with a comfortable amount of speed which will carry you over the box but not so fast that you’re feeling out of control. You should have the board pointing straight from a good few meters before the box with the base perfectly flat with your weight nice and centred over both feet.
When you ride onto the box try and sink down low to absorb any impact rather than bracing against it by straightening your legs, this could put the board onto the heal edge which in turn could put you onto your ass!
Keep you eye line up to help your balance and look past the end of the rail.
So far, so good – your basically just riding in a straight line but the 50/50 will give you a good feel for the strange new non-snow surface you’re sliding on.
The next step is to start tweaking the board sideways into a board slide. Practice this on the piste by doing a basic speed check (0.24). Note how your upper and lower body scissors in different directions, this will enable you to get the board back pointing forward as you come off the box. Try doing this movement on snow but without slowing the board down and whilst continuing traveling in a straight line, i.e. by keeping the base as flat as possible.
If the park has a small rainbow rail like we so in Verbier (0.35) then this is the place to try the boardslide first. Do exactly the same speed check movement that you’ve been practicing, making sure you keep your front hand reaching forward to stop your weight going back. If you do lean back, again you’ll end up on your ass!
Keep playing around with it and see if you can get the board all the way round to 90 degrees. The next step is to pop straight into and land on the rail in this position. Thats a proper boardslide!
When learning new tricks its a good idea to wear some protective gear, so that you don’t get hurt and to give you confidence to try something new. Always wear a helmet and for learning board slides, impact shorts are also a good idea!