Do you love skiing and snowboarding and want to progress into the snowpark? Heck yes, we know it can feel daunting but with a couple of tips to start off your journey you’ll feel a lot more comfortable making your first steps in the park as well as avoiding injuries and annoying the old dogs in the park.
Look at your riding and be honest with yourself. How good are you in terms of controlling your speed, making sure you can turn whenever you want, stopping in time and being able to ride flat-based without catching an edge? At the very least you’d want to be linking turns on red runs, being able to ollie a wee bit and feeling confident when catching a little bit of airtime. Once you venture into the snowpark, start with the small and easy features to build up skills and confidence.
Once you head into the park take a minute to stop and look around. Always be aware of what’s going on in the park (and outside of the park), are there a lot of people around, which features are they lining up for and, some people will be hitting bigger features and might need more speed – give them space to progress too. In the park it’s super important to watch out for others, never stop under features, kickers or in landings or traverse underneath them. When you drop into a jump, you mostly can’t see the landings. When it’s your turn, lift your arm to let others know you’re about to drop.
While you’re watching other people hit features, you can learn a lot! How to approach features, where to pop off and what different tricks you can try. Not only can you appreciate other people's riding, but you can get a feel for how fast you need to be too and where the sweet spot is for landing on jumps. Keep an eye on where other people go straight from, and how much air they get and following that, you can adjust your speed according to your ability. Remember speed is your friend but overshooting is no fun either.
Always, and we mean always leave enough room. Leaving a gap to other rides will make sure that the feature is ready to hit, in incase someone crashes. It’s easier to hit features without anyone else in sight too. It helps with concentrating knowing that you have enough time and space to hit a particular feature. If there are a couple of features that you want to hit as a sequence, wait until the last rider has cleared the last landing.
Especially your brain. Make sure you wear your helmet correctly; you only have one brain and that’s one we should really take care of – wearing a helmet is cool. Playing in the park means risking injuries. Rails and Boxes are usually made from metal, and falling on metal can hurt so we do recommend wearing back protection, bum protection and possibly even knee and wrist guards. Watching Videos from other riders, you’ll often see people wearing T's, jogging pants and just a beanie with sunnies, don´t be fooled – snow can cut your skin, rails can be super painful, and sunnies can be crushed on your face if you end up falling on your nogging. So, do yourself a favour and invest in a proper helmet and good gear.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Same with building up skills in the park – see every run as a 3% improvement, even if you crash you can view it as a step in the right direction. At the end of the day, that 3% of each run will build up to 6%, 9%, 12% and so on. Building up skills is key to real progress, especially if it comes to learning harder tricks along the way. Learn all 180ties in every direction before you try 360ties. Once you’ve nailed these 360ties will come much easier. Once you’ve learned 360ties in every direction and all the 180ties, link these up to 540ties. Also, learn how to ride switch as freestyle works both ways!
We hope these tips will help your progression and stay injury free as well as confident in the park. Go get em’ tiger!