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This is what you can expect from our lesson plans. The volume of play is equal or, more often, bigger than a half day private lesson at the resort snow school. Significantly more exercises, explanations and performance tips than any regular resort group lesson!

Since all the learning is in your hands, there’re few things to help you get the most of it:

  • When possible, try the tactic/exercise on the flat terrain first.

  • Don’t rush. 50% of our learning here is mileage and repetition, so take time doing the drills. This session plan doesn’t have to be completed all at once, you can break it up however you want.

  • All drills to be done on the green runs only. More than a single run for each drill.

  • Don't forget to do some dynamic warm-up before your  session, and most importantly - have fun!

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The rider did the good job keeping the  balance throughout the entire run and their position on the heel edge looks centred, making it easy to balance and giving them stability and control on that edge. To build confidence and speed, and start riding more challenging terrain, they'd greatly benefit from more stability and control on their toes.

To achieve this we’ll be working on developing and maintaining centred body position while riding. 

Centred and “ready”, or “neutral” body position is the fundamental skill in snowboarding and the crucial step in progressing further.

Before trying some exercises, let’s recap the elements of this centred, athletic position, in snowboarding referred to as "neutral" position: hips and shoulders in line with the board, both knees slightly bent and pointed outward with equal weight on both feet, arms slightly and comfortably outstretched towards the nose and tail of the board, head turned to face the direction of travel (chin above the shoulder, in this case - left shoulder), maintaining straight neutral back. Now, without moving your core (torso), take notice of how far behind you can see - that will be your field of vision riding on your toe edge (remember - we’ll be trying to keep, or come back to, this position while riding). You can probably see enough to be aware of any objects behind you, but it's not enough to see the whole run downhill while riding on your toe edge (this is ok and safe). Keep in mind that we want to face the direction of travel when on heels, too (chin above the shoulder). 

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While still on the flat area- let's do some hops, taking off and landing on both feet at the same time: to load the hop (or jump) - bend your hips, knees and ankles more, and quickly extend these joints, jumping upwards, and land with your ankles, knees and hips “absorbing” the shock (by flexing said joints). Notice that in the demonstration I keep my back straight before the take off and after landing. 

Now, let’s take it to the run and try out this centred position while riding. It might feel odd at first. Take it slow and focus on body awareness.

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Try to notice, what changes when you ride centred? Can you change the direction of your board faster? Do you feel more in control? Keep practising until you can feel that your board, when pointed straight downhill, is sliding on completely flat base. Once you feel like you can do these "turns" while keeping both knees evenly bent - experiment with changing edges after going downhill, for example: start on the heel edge, go straight downhill and turn onto your toes. Do this exercise starting on the heel edge and also starting on the toe edge. 

Let's do some drills that will help us get "friendlier" with this position. First - chicken-out turns. Starting from static (still) position, point the  nose of the board downhill (do so by rotating your hips, knees and ankles) and keep doing so until the nose of your board is pointing straight downhill and your edge is no longer engaged (meaning, the board is sliding on the flat base). Once you experience this edgeless-ness, rotate your hips, knees and feet to turn the board back onto the edge you started from, for example - if you started on you toes, come back to the toe edge. These "turns" could be quite tricky, and if it feels too much straight away - warm up with power pendulum: start and finish is the same, but instead of riding downhill on the flat edge we point the board downhill only as much as we can while maintaining control and centred position. Once we gain more experience and confidence riding faster - chicken turns become more comfortable too.

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Which one is easier? Starting on toes and turning to heel, or starting on heels, and changing your edge to toe? By this point, if you successfully kept both knees equally bent and your weight centered -  you’ve most likely already increased your confidence and comfort with speed and control, so well done you!

Possible challenges: when we get too uncomfortable or scared, we might revert to our old habit of straightening the front leg. If that happens, scale back the speed by turning back onto the edge sooner, and increase the time spent riding downhill gradually. Another possible challenge - breaking at the waist, meaning flexing the hips and bending upper body forward, while legs stay relatively upright. It’s a very common one, especially on the toes, so if you notice this during the practice -  think about having your favourite drinks on your shoulders and try to ride without “spilling them”. That would mean relying more on your lower body for balancing: tense your glutes and lower core and stay in this strong position keeping your eyes locked on the “target” line ahead (in simple words - look where you’d like to go).

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Once you’ve played around with the chicken-turns - it’s time to take it for a test run: pick a green run and ride centred the entire time. Be mindful of the tactical change we’re trying to make: both knees bent evenly (1) and pointed outwards (2). Keep awareness to maintain these two elements throughout the entire run: some riders find it helpful to try feeling the outside of your feet touching the boots (the smallest toe all the way to the outside of the heel, for the equal weight distribution between both feet), or picture a horse rider (to keep those knees out, like you would when sitting on the horse). Occasionally stop on the toe edge (on the side of the run where you’d be visible from above), "freeze" in the position you were maintaining and look down to your knees to see what’s happening. Try to feel if that impacted the amount of control you have throughout the turns. Allow plenty of time on the green runs focusing on these tactics and your position.

Before we go further - check in with yourself about how you’re feeling physically and mentally: if you notice you’ve been doing very well but started to slip back into the old patterns of riding - it’s a sign of getting tired, and we don’t have capacity to learn new things when that happens, so a break would be more beneficial to your progress than keeping on riding.

The next drill - hops in between the turns: once you complete the turn, slightly hop on both feet while sliding across the mountain (traversing). The key here is to take off and land on both feet. No need for lots of air, few inches are enough. We’ll be taking off and landing on the edge (remember how we practice hopping on flat spot? We were taking off and landing on the flat base, so "the edge" will be all that's different here). Which edge did you find it easier to take off and/or land on? Which part of the leg had to work harder during this exercise: ankle, knees, hips? 

This piece could be more energy consuming, so remember, that we don’t need to repeat any drill the entire run - mix in some fun and turns in between and try to notice where/how it feels different, incorporating these new skills into your usual riding. In the end - that’s our goal: to blend these new skills into your riding (and into your muscle memory), so it becomes effortless and automatic.

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Possible challenges: not leaving the snow - bend your ankles, knees and hips more before the hop; falling forwards when landing - keep your head up and lock your eyes on something in the distance (not the snow right in front your board) and check if you're engaging your glutes and lower abs.