Snowboarding is an excellent pastime activity, and it often provides an exhilarating feeling of excitement and fun for the riders. However, one of the most important skills that every snowboarder needs is to know how to slow down on a snowboard and have better control over the movements and the board.
Snowboarding is a very skillful activity, and unlike your standard skateboard, you will be doing faster speeds and taking more risks. Controlling your snowboard takes plenty of time, and it is often hard to know how to brake as a beginner. Fortunately, this article is designed to help with that.
Why You Need to Know How to Reduce Your Speed?
Many people might think that the idea of sliding on a snowboard is to generate as much speed as possible. While this is partly true, it is mostly for the more advanced riders who have the experience to slow down when they encounter critical dangers and certain obstacles that need to be navigated.
However, as a beginner, slowing down on a snowboard is much more important. You won’t have all the reflexes that some of the advanced riders have. They have experience, which teaches them to think at much greater speeds, and they often have far better skills when it comes to anticipating dangers and obstacles.
For beginners, slowing down is crucial. You will often be hesitant at first and means that you will not take some of the risks. When you want to slow down, you will have to create additional thinking time. It should make it much easier for you to navigate obstacles and prevent injury.
Now, you might think that when you have cleared all the obstacles, you can continue at a constant speed. However, this is not the case. Very rarely do snowboard riders maintain the same speed. They often have to change their speed for making jumps and passing obstacles. Once you have learned how to control your speed, you can start doing the same, and you have peace of mind.
Top 4 Techniques to Slow Down on a Snowboard
Now that you understand the importance of slowing down, you will also need to know how to make it possible. This section aims to look at some of the best techniques that could assist you to the success. Yes, it might take some practice, but once you know how to slow down on a snowboard, you will be a much safer rider.
1. Toe Slide Stop
The stop is not one that you will use too often, but it is one of those techniques that you can use when you are practicing. While you are going downhill at a reasonable speed, you should dig your toes into snow whilst going down. Your weight will be shifted slightly to the side, but the edge of the board will start creating friction.
This technique will not give you an immediate stop. However, it will slow down the board enough for you to turn and use some of the other techniques. It is mostly used for training, and since you won’t be generating too much speed, you should have more than enough control over the board at all times to practice this move.
As you will see with many of the other techniques, your toes and your heels are vital, and it is vital that you can shift your body weight when you need to. Using this technique when trying smaller slopes is great to get you used to brake with your edge instead of making aggressive and impulsive decisions as these slopes can be dangerous.
2. Basic Board Slide
The first technique is the basic boardslide, and it is one of the first skills you will learn as a snowboarder. You might not look like a professional with this technique, but it is one of the tried and tested techniques that will ensure you can comfortably stop on almost any slope when you need to do an emergency stop.
To do this technique, you will need a little bit of speed. Fortunately, you will be on a downhill slope, which presents you with the opportunity of building up plenty of speed. Once you have garnered enough speed, you should turn your board horizontally, with your toes pointing down to the bottom of the hill.
It is important to lean back slightly to counteract the balance and the force of gravity, which will pull you forward. You need to dig your heels into the snow, and you will find that the board will come to an immediate stop. It is not the most flamboyant way to stop on a snowboard. However, the basics are often vital to ensure you are safe.
3. Turning and Carving
The turning and carving technique is slightly different, and it involves a whole host of varying movements that will bring the board to a stop. Much like the basic sliding technique, you will rely on the edge of the board and your edge control skills. You will once again make a turn after generating sufficient speed.
However, for this technique, you will be turning in the opposite direction, and you will be facing uphill after you have turned. The goal is to lean slightly forward into the hill and dig your toes into the snow with the ice. As you start to go slower, you can level the snowboard and use your heels and the opposite edge to brake as well.
You don’t want to lean backward at these speeds, as you might often lose control and fall on your back. While this might not seem like much, these slopes are steep, so you can roll down quite a distance before coming to a natural stop. The technique will take a little bit of practice, but once you have mastered it, you will use it at all levels of the sport.
4. Speed Stop Technique
The final technique is a little more advanced, and this one is often reserved for the more experienced riders. The speed stop technique requires you to have phenomenal edge control, and you will be using the uphill edge of the board to stop while you are facing downhill to give you a controlled stop if you want to continue.
Once again, you will need to generate a little bit of speed to get the snowboard going. Once you have generated enough speed, you will dig the rear edge of the snowboard into the snow to help you stop almost instantaneously. However, it can often take a lot of practice to understand how you will need to shift your weight.
Many advanced riders will often combine the speed stop technique with the basic slide technique. Once you have control over the board, you will be able to make these stops and control the speed more efficiently. The more you can control the speed, the better your opportunity will be to continue, and this is ideal for competitions with obstacles.
The Importance of Edge Control
One of the first things you will need to master when starting your snowboarding journey is edge control. The edge on the snowboard acts like the brake, and you will need to understand how to place it in the snow to get the best possible effect and make sure that you can stop the snowboard on a dime when you need to.
To better understand edge control, you need to keep in mind that your feet will control the snowboard. If you point your toes down, you will be using the front edge to brake.
However, this is often the technique that experts will use. Your heels have more control, and they allow you to effectively control your weight.
If you have the time, you need to practice shifting your weight backward and digging your heels into the snow. This will automatically trigger the edge to build up some friction. The friction will slow you down and will allow you to stop the snowboard more effectively when you encounter any obstacles or challenges.
If you have a little time and you want to practice at home, we would recommend that you put most of your focus on learning to control the edge of the board. You can strap the snowboard onto your feet and focus on shifting your feet in different directions to effectively practice when you need to.
Snowboarding is a fun adventure, and while it can be dangerous, you need to understand the different techniques. Once you have mastered the right techniques, you should be comfortable stopping and navigating different obstacles. Understanding how to slow down a snowboard will give you so much more confidence on your next snowboarding adventure.