We feel so lucky to still be able to do our favorite Winter activity and are grateful for all the mountains opening this year despite major complications. If you’re like us and plan to put in some work in the snowpark this season, you know some things can turn a nice day at the park into living hell.
Beginners, intermediate and advanced riders, we're here to help! Here’s 5 basic things you ABSOLUTELY need to know in order to have fun in the park this Winter.
DON'T SIT IN THE LANDINGS
This one is obvious. There’s probably nothing more dangerous than sitting on a jump or a rail’s landing. Dangerous for the rider who’s jumping, but even more dangerous for you. To avoid getting a sharp edge to the dome or getting landed on, make sure to sit down where no one is landing.
If you’re new to the snowpark, a good trick to find the best sitting spots is to take a full lap in the park without hitting any obstacles. Try to evalutate the situation and study the mechanics and flow of the park so you know where to hang out when you want to take a break or a selfie with your friend. In any case, a first lap to evaluate the park is a good thing to do, beginner or advanced.
DON’T RIDE OBSTACLES THAT ARE TOO ADVANCED FOR YOUR SKILLS
We know, progressing and trying bigger and better tricks is pretty much snowboarding’s number one goal, but that doesn’t mean you can jump on the park’s new quadruple kinked rail if you never rode a rail in your life. If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s the fact that getting hurt on your first day on the slopes won’t help you progress whatsoever, so might as well push your limits in a step by step kind of fashion.
If you’re just starting to ride the park, we suggest to start with small jumps with low impact and rails that you don’t have to pop on. Master these and move on to something a bit bigger and so on. You’ll see your skills improve every single day in the park if you go with what you really feel capable of doing and you’ll most likely be able to jump on that kinked rail by the end of the season!
WEAR A HELMET
This one goes out to everyone in the park, beginner or advanced. Some people might still think it’s not cool to wear a helmet, but it’s not even a question of being cool or not at that point. It’s your life we’re talking about here. Plus having a snow patrol taking care of a head injury in the middle of an obstacle's landing will definitely block it for everyone else.
So next time you get in the park without a helmet on and get stoked on not getting caught by the park ranger, understand that at the end of the day, the consequences of a hard slam and head injury won’t affect the park ranger as much as they will affect you. So yeah… Just a little reminder for those who don’t know and those who don’t care. Wear that helmet!
WAIT FOR YOUR TURN BEFORE DROPPING IN
If you’ve never been to a snowpark before, you need to know that people who are sitting on the slope before a jump or a rail are probably waiting for their turn to hit the obstacle. As opposite to a normal slope, you’re not technically allowed to go everywhere as you please when the park is crowded. The snowpark follows an order and to be respectful of the natural flow, you must follow that order and make sure you wait for your turn before you try to hit an obstacle.
It’s easy, it’s like waiting at a Stop sign. In order to engage, you need to make sure it’s your turn and that every car that was at the sign before you are gone. Sit down, stay up, do whatever, but make sure that everybody that was there before you tried their trick before you try yours so people at the park don’t hate you.
DON'T BREAK/SLASH ON THE KICKERS
Last but not least, please keep the kickers proper by not slashing or breaking on them. In order to jump on a rail or in the air with control, a snowboarder needs a perfect kicker, and unfortunately, repetitive breaking on the kickers will create holes and craters in them. This can be super dangerous and frustrating for the riders as these holes are often hard to see from a distance and can seriously make a jump go wrong.
The best thing to do in the case of choking at the last minute is to jump on the side of the rail or carve out of the jump’s line before it starts to elevate. If you got too far to pull those moves and you don’t have a choice but to break on the park’s flawless kicker, please do! Your immediate safety is the most important thing, but if you end up damaging the kicker, at least check what you can do to repair it.