How to get more confident on steeper terrain

How to get more confident on steeper terrain

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So you can ride the blues with ease and style, making big open turns. You’re going fast, but totally in control. You’ve got the confidence to try something steeper, eyeing up a new challenge on the chair ride back up.

You get to the top of the run. Pumped to challenge yourself on something ‘gnarlier’. You put in your first turn and instantly feel the board run away with you. You might wobble, or you might slide out on your butt. From here what you are is more tense and probably falling back into old habits.

Here are a few things that will help conquering the steeps and turning like a pro…

Relax

Keep your legs flexed and what I like to call a ‘bounce in the joints’. Lowering yourself by flexing your knees will help you stay stable to absorb the terrain and will help counter that god-awful ‘chatter’.

Centre yourself on the board

When we get into unfamiliar terrain, old habits come back. Namely, keeping on our back foot when we get tentative. Shift your hips to the centre, even to the nose of the board. This will enable you to steer the board easier across the hill, controlling our speed with turns.

Change the turn shape

Big open (‘S’) turns won’t work to well on steeper terrain, unless you are Xavier De La Rue. On the steeper pitches, I aim close off my turns meaning that when I am at the end of my turn, my body and board are horizontal with the downhill. I’m looking up or down the hill depending on whether I’m on my heel or toe edge. This helps scrub off that speed that’s gained when the board is pointing in the fall-line.

The two main turn shapes, the ‘S’ turn is great for mellower and wider terrain to maintain speed and the ‘C’ turn is great to maintain control on the steeper terrain

The two main turn shapes, the ‘S’ turn is great for mellower and wider terrain to maintain speed and the ‘C’ turn is great to maintain control on the steeper terrain

Practice smaller ‘C’ turns on mellower terrain first, but not too mellow as it will kill the speed too much (which on steeper terrain is effectively the desired result)

A good drill to try is to start making larger width ‘C’ turns and as you go down making the turn width smaller. Start with say, ‘5 board widths’ then to ‘3 board widths’ and then to ‘1 board width’ and eventually you’ll ride with flow down the run.

Look where you want to go

If you’re having trouble with closing off turns, try to look across the hill at the end of you’re turn. This will help keep you’re body in alignment with the board as you traverse between turn and stop you counter rotating and keeping you stable. Keep your head up and don’t focus on looking at your feet!

Remember, where you look, you’re board will follow. At the start of the run, pick out some visual cues at the start of the run, off to each side and try to spot them on the way down.

Looking in the direction of travel

Looking in the direction of travel

Key takeaways

1# Relax
2# Center yourself
3# Turn Shape
4# Look

So now you have a few basic tips to help you looking good on steeper runs. I would say go out and practice as much as you can. If you have the option of taking a steeper way down, go for it! You can always take your time.


If you have any questions or if there’s any riding tips you would like to see, please feel free to get in touch via email or any of our social channels.

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