Where to get advanced snowboarding lessons?
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bawalker
February 12, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Maybe I've just been watching too much of the Olympics and experiencing the fresh powpow outside, but I'd like to know where I could get some advanced snowboarding lessons. Right now I'm more than solid on greens, blues, and most blacks. I would like to learn more about bumps, jumps, and possibly how to even approach a pipe. The last thing I need to do is go for 10' air on my first major jump and take out the lift operator while I'm at it. .

What would be the best resort to offer such lessons?
canaanman
February 12, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
More than likely, Snowshoe. They have a great parks dept. but I'm not sure how much you'll really learn. The best thing to do is start riding with friends that ride better, faster, harder than you... perhaps the next time I'm a T-line I'll slide your way.

(btw... T-line has a sick park... 3 sick step-downs, 12' wallride, 20' flat box, 20' flat-down box and the garden under Thunderdraft, props Tucker!)
therusty
February 12, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Bruce,

You should be thinking separate lessons for bumps, jumps and pipe. Getting all that in one lesson could lead to information overload.

But if you want a crash (pardon the pun) course in all 3, one option is to get a Terrain Park lesson at Whitetail. This lesson requires a special waiver to be signed and you must have a helmet. I would recommend a double lesson (to allow enough time to cover all the topics) and calling ahead to arrange a time. The beauty of this lesson product is that it usually works out to be a private lesson at a group lesson price.(disclosure: I teach at Whitetail - if you ask for me for a weekend terrain park lesson, you will probably be accomodated) (disclosure: Whitetail's pipe is not open, will not be open soon and has not been of high quality the last few years).

With respect to teaching credentials, Wisp has an examiner on staff (Mike Sites), Liberty has a level 3 instructor (Adam Steckler). I don't know where Timberline and CV stack up on credentialed pros.

IMHO, you should learn to master dynamic short radius carves on groomers before tackling serious bumps on a board. These are the "snaky turns" where your feet get way out from underneath your body, but the edge change happens when the board is brought back underneath your body. There are other techniques for bump riding, but mastering dynamic carves will help develop the independent leg action that is critical for success in the bumps.

I've heard that Roundtop and Wisp have nice pipes.

If you'd like to read about some of the advanced snowboarding lessons that I've taken for instructor training, I have clinic notes posted on my web site (read AASI and Rider Rally for snowboard clinics)
Tucker
February 13, 2006
Member since 03/14/2005 🔗
893 posts
Canaanman, thanks for the props. We should have the wall ride up this weekend. The fun boxes have been a great addition. The parks at timberline are still relatively small in feature size and the number of features compared to most resorts, but the shapes are really friendly, well maintaned and easy to use. I'm constantly trying to push for more features, a rope tow, some lights for the park to be open at night, and music but sometimes(actually most of the time) it is an uphill battle. The more that management hears from customers the more likely it will happen. If you want to see better terrain parks let them know. I can do A LOT more if I had the means!

As for upper level lessons- we can accomodate you at timberline. We have instructors who can help introduce you to the park(rails, jumps and boxes), and we have some great begginer friendly features. However, we have no pipe or any begginer or intermediate bumps. All we have for bumps right now is an advanced run which is steep and filled with big bumps. It's one of the best bumps runs I've been on in the south but it is no place for begginers(Off the Wall).

If you are serious about getting into pipe riding I would check out Seven Springs. It's probably the best shape around and I'm not sure, but I would guess that they have some knowledgeable instructors who can help get you going.
The tricky thing about going some where to just ride the pipe is that somedays pipes aren't shaped as well as others. I've traveled to some resorts just to ride the pipe and found that one wall is undercut or that the shape just isn't good. Usually what I do to make sure is call the ski school desk at that resort to ask how the shape is before traveling. You are usually better off calling the ski school to aks about shapes then the main offices or snow report, because you want to talk to someone who actually skis/rides and uses the terrain.

Rusty, as soon as I saw the words "Snaky Turns" I knew I would see the name Mike Sites in your Post. I've ridden with Mike a bunch and he is a great instructor, but I've never heard him talk about "Snaky Turns" for bump riding. Infact I rode bumps with him last week. I'm interested in your use of these turns for teaching bumps. I'm not sure I would use any type of carving or tilting exercises when teaching bumps. When teaching bumps I usually encourage a relatively low degree of tilt and as much flat board work as possible, while keeping your CM over top of the board(as much as it is possible relative to the surface degree). I think Independent leg action as well as retraction is critical as well- legs working like pistons and the ability to press the front edges of the board with the front foot to initiate turns sooner than later followed by a steering of the board with the back foot. Most folks who steer through the bumps only using their back foot quickly find that they can never make turns soon enough -they end up in the back seat and bounce recklessly from one bump to another. And lets face it most snowboarders on the mountain are simply kicking their back foot around like a rutter. So teaching front foot movements and turn shape are going to be a must before entering the bumps, as well as balance and stance issues.

I usually have my students traverse a bump field on one edge or the other and try to absorb the bumps with their legs with out their upper body bobbing up and down. If you don't have a good begginer bump run to do this in you can always find a ridge in the snow or the side of the trail and traverse back and forth across it. As for the second use of independent leg action I spoke of I have students try to make absurdly slow small radius turns by twisting the board with the front foot to initiate the turn and continue to steer it across and up the hill. I start the drill on intermediately pitched terrain and take it to the steepest, flatest(no bumps flat) stuff before taking it to the bumps. I think these are the two of the aspects of independent foot work that are involved in effective bump riding. When talking about bumps strategy and vision also comes into play-big time.

Cheers and happy turns-still snowing in the Valley!!!
RidelikeaRhino
February 13, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006 🔗
42 posts
Tucker sounds like he knows what he is talking about. I have also ridden with Mike and I recomend him as an instructor. Mike has done drills with me where the back and front are moving on a flat board. You are still going to have to edge in the bumps to take the speed off somewhere along the line.

One of the things that I've noticed is there doesn't seem to be a good beginner park around. Snowshoe has some nice easier features at the top. The point being you are going to have to make a ton of runs to get max exposure.
kennedy
February 13, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Whitetails has a pretty good range although a few smaller booters would be a good idea. The terrain garden on Stalker is not a bad starting place for rails but could use some 10-15 foot tables to start building on.
canaanman
February 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Depends on if the snow holds or not... but Timberline has some great advanced runs underneath both lifts, though they are a bit narrow, that are suitable for learning to ride bumps.

I learned to shred moguls on The Drop several years ago... it wasn't much fun, but you just had to get back up again and again and again. I personally don't enjoy riding "bulletproof" bumps but it's nice to have bump skills in your arsenal when Mother Nature deals you a seni-powder day.

Ah, I wish I was at T-line today! I really want to hit a few unnamed gladed sections, esp. between Dew Drop and Twister.
bawalker
February 13, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
Thanks for all the very helpful insight into advanced boarder lessons. There are three avenues I do want to pursue, and probably not all at once like Rusty suggested. Mainly I would like to work on park skills, pipe skills, and advanced 'natural' terrain such as the bumps, massevly ungroomed territory, etc. The park skills are something I'm slowly working on at a place like Bryce. Where I can go in, have virtually the whole resort to myself and get the feel for launching and landing on smaller jumps. Long before I attempt the massive ones at Wisp or Timberline. For me a halfpipe is in a category of it's own. I want to learn how to traverse the walls, get air, and how to land back down off the lip. Those would be the last two major areas I'd like to focus on.

For the time being mogul runs and runs that offer varying difficulties of natural features is something that attracts me. I've done the groomed green, blues, and some blacks for a while that it's gotten boring unless a bunch of friends are there to hang out with. I do have some mogul experience. I have went down off Main Street at Wisp on their mogul side when things were somewhat firm. I've also attempted "The Drop" and gotten to experience numerous blue runs in the region that have gotten their own little mini mogul fields. The ones where you see it, immediately mentally visualize your line, and attack it. I wasn't too bad on those because I wasn't falling and taking body shots constantly, but I was going slower than I liked.

Now... what are the resorts lessons like towards mid-March? Many instructors left for the season at that point?
kennedy
February 13, 2006
Member since 12/8/2001 🔗
792 posts
Try this with the pipe, and for beginning try to aim around a day when the walls are a little mushier. Drop into the pipe ( don't try to be a pro and drop in from the top lip) and ride heel edge towards the first wall. Before you hit the tranny to the wall let the board run flat. Ride up the wall and as you lose speed crouch down, when you just about lose all speed spring up a little and suck your legs in, turn your head and shoulders down slope and let your legs follow, wait until your legs come all the way around before extending ride to the next wall wash rinse repeat. Essentially just try doing little jump turns then build it up. Als try riding up the wall straight, just when you stop jump a little then land and ride away switch. These are really small things but they get you a feel for the pipe and starts building your tools up. I'll be honest I find pipe a lot less daunting to learn than park because you can easilly baby step it a little at a time. The park is unforgiving because a 20' table has to be cleared to make the landing decent. To clear it you need speed. Wrecking with speed and height = pain.
canaanman
February 13, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Though I'd been experimenting in the pipe at Silver Creek for years I got my first real taste on Mt. Hood three years ago. It scared me like none other. The pipe was firm, not really icy (by any East Coast standards), and had high walls. I dropped in like a pro and ripped up the frontside wall, popped and soared quite a ways out for the first hit... it felt great, landed on an edge and that's when it hit me, I was physically spent and only one hit in. Demanding.
therusty
February 14, 2006
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
422 posts
Quote:

Rusty, as soon as I saw the words "Snaky Turns" I knew I would see the name Mike Sites in your Post. I've ridden with Mike a bunch and he is a great instructor, but I've never heard him talk about "Snaky Turns" for bump riding. Infact I rode bumps with him last week. I'm interested in your use of these turns for teaching bumps. I'm not sure I would use any type of carving or tilting exercises when teaching bumps. When teaching bumps I usually encourage a relatively low degree of tilt and as much flat board work as possible, while keeping your CM over top of the board(as much as it is possible relative to the surface degree). I think Independent leg action as well as retraction is critical as well- legs working like pistons and the ability to press the front edges of the board with the front foot to initiate turns sooner than later followed by a steering of the board with the back foot.




Yeah - I've got a mental block over this "flat board" teaching trend. When I first heard about this teaching approach, I thought it was only for navigating over the top of a bump while going laterally across the slope. That's cool. But then I heard to keep the board flat all the time. I thought that was kooky because I think of my board being on edge way more than flat in the bumps. When I saw that the second "flat board" really meant flat to the bump surface/riding the rut walls like a bobsled and did not involve standing on top of the board, I realized that we were really talking the same thing, at least for that tactic of navigating the bumps. I personally think of the flat board in the rut riding position in the bumps as the same body position as riding on edge on a groomer. I suppose if you had a decent bump field you could ride a flat board all the way through it. I've seen a skier do it once in my life. Unless you're a God, you need to be more than a one trick pony to successfully navigate through mid atlantic bumps.

We've got pretty similar ideas for the skills needed in bumps. I only want to see the board necessarily undeneath the body during the edge change. To make dynamic turns, the feet need to get away from the body. Until the bumps get large and steep, this approach to riding can give you lots of options. At the Rider Rally in Jackson last year we were working on nose rolls and shoulder rotation as a means of getting through super steep bumped up runs. But we had to use the edge of the board as soon as we got it turned in order to control speed. Having the skills and the techniques for riding either in the rut or across it is what you need in order to say you can ride bumps comfortably. If you can do snaky turns on a groomer, you have the skills and tools needed to ride "flat board" through the ruts/over the tops or use an edged board for turning and speed control. Your intro to bumps drills could just as easily be used as an intro to snaky turns.

BTW - I learned snaky turns long before I met Mike. If you see him again, tell him Whitetail misses him. We were expecting to see a lot more of him this season.
canaanman
February 14, 2006
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
358 posts
Regardless of what any instructor can teach you... numero uno to snowboarding success is bending the knees. A lower center of gravity/mass will give you much better control and in bumpy terrain "soft" knees are essential to absorb as you go down. The way I explain is "What does the ride in a car with ultra-stiff shocks feel like?" smoothness comes from the knees.
bawalker
February 14, 2006
Member since 12/1/2003 🔗
1,547 posts
canaanman - That was one of the very first things I taught myself once I gained balance on a board, bend the knees and so many more options open up. I remember learning to ride on Salamander, bending my knees and almost squatting down at some points. When I did that coming around the S turns, I was able to almost carry enough speed where I could make a toe-side on the first turn and reach out with my hand to touch the snow. I've taken that and applied it to all the more difficult runs and it's been the worlds greatest help to say the least.

As for going flatboard through bumps... I found myself doing that last year on a bunch of horrid little bumps after a powder day warmed up and snow got pushed around. Rather than riding on edge across or through bumps, I found it much easier to carry speed into a bump, plan my line out and lay all of my board up agains the sidewall of a bump. Think of NASCAR at Daytona like. I felt like it gave me more control when I exited the bump and was able to go into the next one.

Mind you, those were bluish level natural bumps, but if given a chance I'd like to apply that directly to say... Main Street at Wisp or another trail with similiar moguls.
Murphy
February 14, 2006
Member since 09/13/2004 🔗
618 posts
Quote:

Regardless of what any instructor can teach you... numero uno to snowboarding success is bending the knees. A lower center of gravity/mass will give you much better control and in bumpy terrain "soft" knees are essential to absorb as you go down. The way I explain is "What does the ride in a car with ultra-stiff shocks feel like?" smoothness comes from the knees.




That's a lesson I re-learn at the end of every day as I start to get tired and lazy. It's usually learned the hard way.
RidelikeaRhino
February 16, 2006
Member since 01/31/2006 🔗
42 posts
Update... I was recently a 7-springs. First time I saw the new pipe & park setup. The park is really cool. Also, At the top of the high speed lift on the left is an area with small features that you can use to learn. It is excellant. Gotta us a rope tow. Don't know who at the ski school to ask for though.
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