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Slalom on Snowboard


Guest Wayne
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Just starting a race league, typical Nastar setup for skiers. Any hints or tips for an Alpine boarder that has never run gates in competition with a snowboard? I have practiced on a course a few times and ran pretty clean without aggressively attacking the gates.

Any help appreciated.

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Guest Pre School Rider

Make sure they have 'push posts' on either side of the start to launch from.Skiers use their poles,and even aggressive skating to get moving.With boarders,it's all in the takeoff push.If the posts aren't at a good height,or set well in the terra-firma,you'll get bad times just from having no inertia at the get-go. Oh,yeah,and Always try to turn Early,and ride Flat longer.Holding an edge to make a turn is slow compared to getting the little arc in sooner,and coasting through the gate..

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Guest Randy S.

Listen to whatever PSR and PhilFell tell you. They know a ton and are good at articulating it.

There are a lot of similarities between ski slalom and snowboard slalom. Line is similar (get high early). If you have to race with skier gates, buy all the armor you can find. Legs, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders. Hopefully they have snowboard gates. If so, you won't need much armor at all.

After you run it a few times, come back with your specific questions.

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The biggest mistake that I see from snowboarder just getting into raceing is that they go too straight rom gate to gate. Most people their first few times in a course don't set-up their turn. As we all know a snowboard makes a round turn, so you must look at a course and think in arcs. If try to turn right at the gate your inerta will carry you past the gate causing you to go wide and you'll be forced to jam on your edge in order to get acrossed the hill to the next gate. Look at the line you will be takeing with that in mind. Also make 70% of your turn above the gate so if you do make a mistake you can have time to correct.

Another thing to keep in mind when you are comfortable with the proper line is that most NASTAR type courses are usually flat, try to only use enough pressure on your board to get the turn done. Any extra pressure will cause you to slow down, you want just enough to get the shape of the turn but no more (one the other hand no less either)

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Inspect the course prior to the race. Look at features in the terrain, such as fall aways and plan your turns. Have a mental image of where you want to go, and (try to ) stick to that line through the course. You also should be looking ahead to the next gate, not at the gate you are approaching.

If you are in a Ski league and riding, like I do, anticipate that the skiers will take a slightly different line, and if you are late in the order, you probably have to ride the rut, in their line. Also anticipate slower times. Last year I was not able to break out of the bottom 1/3 of the pack. And Finally. If there are not pull bars in place, Borrow someones ski poles, Use them for your push start, and then drop them behind you. Its not ideal, but it is better than nothing...

Go Fast!

-Noah

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If you have other boarders racing. See if you can join some experienced riders for a course inspection and listen to their advice. Watch those experienced riders in the gates and try to do what they do. If racing is new to you be patient.

I tried racing for a couple of years and my skill level was raised dramatically.(speed,precision,balance,confidence)

One of my favourite things in racing is that the run is yours and nobody elses. If someone interferes with your run you get a rerun. Check with rules about that. You may have to abandon your run before recording a time if you claim interference.

Racing is safe too. If you crash hard, you will have immediate help.

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Wow, you guys all sound like autocross and SOLO instructors :) The advice is all the same with autocrosses: Initiate turns early, think two turns ahead, pay attention during course inspection, don't look at the cones (gates)....

Does anyone else here participate in any automotive competition in the off season?

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Originally posted by philfell

The biggest mistake that I see from snowboarder just getting into raceing is that they go too straight rom gate to gate. Most people their first few times in a course don't set-up their turn. As we all know a snowboard makes a round turn, so you must look at a course and think in arcs. If try to turn right at the gate your inerta will carry you past the gate causing you to go wide and you'll be forced to jam on your edge in order to get acrossed the hill to the next gate. Look at the line you will be takeing with that in mind. Also make 70% of your turn above the gate so if you do make a mistake you can have time to correct.

Another thing to keep in mind when you are comfortable with the proper line is that most NASTAR type courses are usually flat, try to only use enough pressure on your board to get the turn done. Any extra pressure will cause you to slow down, you want just enough to get the shape of the turn but no more (one the other hand no less either)

One of the best solutions to correct that mistake is to set so called helper stubbies before gates. It sets points of beginning to turn.

I had that on training with Nick Colavito. Helped a lot in improving timing and line.

Unfortunatelly, not everybody uses the same timing and line so personal corrections are required and here coaching is a golden solution.

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Originally posted by Pre School Rider

Make sure they have 'push posts' on either side of the start to launch from.Skiers use their poles,and even aggressive skating to get moving.With boarders,it's all in the takeoff push.If the posts aren't at a good height,or set well in the terra-firma,you'll get bad times just from having no inertia at the get-go. Oh,yeah,and Always try to turn Early,and ride Flat longer.Holding an edge to make a turn is slow compared to getting the little arc in sooner,and coasting through the gate..

I would argue a bit that running flat. In cold weathers like today running flat slows down due to base surface sticking to snow. You have to run on edges to get higher speed.

Turning early is a key, but as far as that staying flat... well it depends. Actually I got much better times when I ran long turns (big radius) on edge in GS and fast changing edges with push forwards in slalom (but keeping board continuously on edge). They do not need to be pure carves though (they will never be due to speed control required).

I noticed that more important is to ride on tail of board as long as possible (even on edge) rather than being flat to get more speed and avoid mistakes with accidental tail sliding that slows down racer. Learning to drive board with quick transitions and very short turn initiations is probably the key.

All this technique was tested on different race courses, during regular riding and on training sessions with gates as well as observation of other racers (slow-mo video)... with positive result.

I'd say keep your line straighter rather than stay flat. Or perhaps this means the same.

Anyway the line willl fall apart with beginners (I remember myself either) when the racer will try to experiment and cross ruts made by other racers.

It's not just that easy to be flat or on edge on real race course even if it is amateur race for USASA;)

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Originally posted by Wayne

Just starting a race league, typical Nastar setup for skiers. Any hints or tips for an Alpine boarder that has never run gates in competition with a snowboard? I have practiced on a course a few times and ran pretty clean without aggressively attacking the gates.

Any help appreciated.

In slalom, you have to remember that upper body has to stay still. You work with your feet and knees only, but don't work with your upper body. The board has to go under racer to change the edge rather than racer going over the board to push it onto other edge.

This is technique in jargon is called "crossunder" transition (vs. crossover that is more popular in GS).

However, some courses are set as closed courses that imitate "small GS". That seems to be very popular with USASA regional competitions in some regions. Therefore, you would have to negotiate both techniques: "crossover" and "crossunder", but you have to understand how they work and how they feel. To be honest they feel much different and I love crossunder as it is faster and more exciting as far as fast change of G-force. Crossover feels dull to me, but when "gaps" between gates are big you have to stay with turn being set (or run straight if it is finished) rather than quicly and frequently change edge with crossunder technique.

See articles and posts in archives from Jack, Kent and PSR on this forum. It's been discussed here for years and those fiolks know what they are talking about.

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As far as it being a cold day, just use a cold temperature wax, it will eliminate sticking. Also, on the same note, find youself a good tuning shop(www.allenswrenchtuning.8m.com is mine) and find someone there that you trust to do a good job. Most importantly, have fun in the gates, gate bashing has always been one of my favorite things to do.

-justin

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Originally posted by mirror70

Wow, you guys all sound like autocross and SOLO instructors :) The advice is all the same with autocrosses: Initiate turns early, think two turns ahead, pay attention during course inspection, don't look at the cones (gates)....

Does anyone else here participate in any automotive competition in the off season?

Yes, it sounds way too familiar! I eat, sleep, and breathe autocross. I just got back from my first wheel-to-wheel ice race though. Too much fun. :D

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Originally posted by Justin A.

As far as it being a cold day, just use a cold temperature wax, it will eliminate sticking. Also, on the same note, find youself a good tuning shop(www.allenswrenchtuning.8m.com is mine) and find someone there that you trust to do a good job. Most importantly, have fun in the gates, gate bashing has always been one of my favorite things to do.

-justin

I did. I helps, but don't exaggerate. You can't always predict snow type on trail. temperature is not everything if you know a bit more about waxing techniques. there is also humidity and type of snow (it can be man-made, natural, worn, fresh e.t.c.) They require differnt waxcing so even for cold weathers wax can be differerent. Waxing by shops is good for one day area of the shop. they don't know (as yourself0 what conditions you will be riding. Many racers wax boards themselves and trust me that powder wax jus before run is not a complete solution.

I use professional tuning for pro racers at Staringate... but I also can do some tuning including hot waxing myself and have been doing that for most of my boards for several years.

Not a newbie in that area... but there is still a lot to learn from pros.

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Originally posted by boostertwo

If possible, check out a World Cup or pro event. You'll see great examples of world-class technique, plus tactics and line selection in differenet course configurations. As a bonus, you often can share a chair with participants and ask questions.

Good info. I also recommend that. I have done that and no I did not share just a chair with them. I shared gates and entire course:) I run with World Cup pros on two occasions in the past. It was long ago, but seems like it was yesterday.

That was inspiration to my further steps in snowboarding. So why wouldn't it be yours too?

Now, I know a bit about tactics, selecting line as well as mindset training (from those classes with them too), but I bet I could use great ideas of pro racers. Only to get some time to do that...:(

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