Experiment with your knees
Every rider has their own unique style. This is one of the best things about snowboarding. And while there are guidelines for teaching and technique, snowboarding has no official rules—no single right way.
As you become a skilled and experienced rider, you’ll develop your own signature style. As long as you’re balanced, smooth, centered and having fun—you’re good to go. No matter what your ability level, it’s good to test your style and experiment. In this episode we introduce our favorite drill to play with style and improve turns.
One simple experiment is to adjust your knees. Whether you have them close together or spread apart will depend on your snowboard, weight, style and how aggressive you ride.
Step 1: Get warmed up
At the bottom of the hill, press your knees together; then push them apart. Notice how this causes your snowboard to flex slightly. This flex will do strange and powerful things to your carves.
Step 2: Do it on a groomer
On a familiar groomed run, alternate between pushing your knees together and apart. Test the extremes of each position. You will notice that your snowboard performs best with your knees somewhere in the middle.
Step 3: Determine what works best
Aggressive riders on stiff snowboards will often ride better with their knees slightly together. More timid riders on softer snowboards may feel best with their knees a bit further apart. Try both until you find the sweet-spot for your style on your set-up.
When you demo or buy a new snowboard, try the same drill. A few years ago I demoed a soft freestyle snowboard. At first I kept washing out my turns until I realized the snowboard performed great if I just kept my knees further apart.
Pressing your knees together causes your snowboard to flex. This flex can make softer snowboards buckle and wash out during high speed carves. On a stiff board, the flex can give your turns an extra boost of power.
Certain types of turns and snow conditions may call for different knee placement. You may grip ice better with your knees closer together, while knees further apart is smooth in powder.
Continue to test each extreme. You may find that your current style works best, or that you can improve with just a tiny adjustment.
Next step: Start to get dynamic