It’s always fun to try new things when snowboarding and skiing, but learning how to jump, and learning how to hit boxes and rails can be very intimidating. I’ve been teaching snowboarding for over 10 years, and I’ve had many students who are great boarders, but are just scared to take their riding to the next level. Luckily, if you follow these simple rules, you will master the fun skill of “Riding Park” in no time.
1. KNOW YOUR SKILL LEVEL | You must be an intermediate – advanced rider and be confident on Blue and Diamond runs to start going off boxes and rails.
2. START SMALL | Practice riding in the beginner park, and start with trying to ride 50-50 (straight) onto wide, flat boxes. Once you get comfortable, move to elevated boxes, and ride on rails.
3. SAFETY FIRST | Before you head for a box or rail, look up-hill, and all around you to make sure no one is heading for the same feature as you.
4. STANCE & SPEED ARE KEY | When approaching a feature, maintain a slow, controlled speed. Lean forward slightly over the nose of your board, keep your knees bent, and stay flat. Look straight ahead and ride straight on as if you were just going over snow.
5. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT | Practice going over small boxes until you are very comfortable with determining how much speed you need. Gradually build up to bigger boxes and then onto small rails. Whenever there is no fresh powder, I head to the park to practice going off jumps and doing boxes and rails. This gives you something fun to do when the snow conditions are not great. Slushy conditions are awesome for practicing park because slush is more forgiving when you fall!
6. RIDE WITH ADVANCED BOARDERS | In most aspects of life it helps to hang out with people who are better or more successful than you so you get inspired to rise to their level. Snowboarding and skiing are no different. Ride with friends who snowboard or ski better than you. Ride along side them as they hit park features so you can watch how they gauge their speed and stance. Watching them will give you the extra courage and encouragement you need.
7. TRY NOT TO FALL ON THE FEATURE | You are going to fall sometimes. If you feel yourself falling off the feature, try to stay flat, keep your balance, and look to the end. If you fall, try not to fall onto the feature. Point your board off the side of the feature and move out of the way as soon as possible.
8. PRETEND YOU’RE NOT SCARED | Everyone is scared when they first start going off boxes and rails. And I am honestly still a little scared every time I ride park, but the key is to act like you’re not and just go for it!
9. REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN | Snowboarding and skiing are about having fun so don’t forget that is what this is all about! Life is too short to take yourself too seriously or keep doing something you don’t love, so make sure you are enjoying yourself!
10. WATCH VIDEOS | Watch ski and snowboard videos. They will help you visualize yourself going off boxes and rails. I spent my birthday this year, at Squaw Valley Resort, in Lake Tahoe, and filmed this little video for you…