Many experienced snowboarders will have memories of learning to snowboard on a resort’s nursery slopes, before progressing to a tedious track — where the majority of the run would be spent trying to maintain speed and control, without falling off the edge of the piste. Alternatively, snowboard tricks were learnt in mountain parks with far too many advanced park rats watching. This is now no longer necessary!
Snowboarders learning today, or in more recent years know the benefits of mastering new snowboard skills indoors first. That said, advanced and intermediate snowboarders have been quick to realise the potential of progressing advanced snowboard moves at an indoor ski slope too.
Now, in better times, we can all practice our snowboard skills all year round at our local, real snow indoor centre. Whatever our level, on the summer’s quieter UK slopes, we’re provided with the perfect training ground for mastering new snowboard skills. So, once you’ve bagged those turns, here’s 10 new flatland snowboard moves to claim at your indoor slope before the summer’s up.
The slopes at indoor ski centres are not particularly steep, but they’re exactly what you want for learning the skills needed to snowboard steeps on the mountain. To ride steep terrain in complete control we need to learn how to change edges across the fall line of the slope, instead of down the fall line (the most direct path down the hill). By learning how to change edges across the fall line, we are able to maintain more control over our rate of descent down the hill.
To practice this, take to your indoor centre’s Main Slope and start by traversing across the hill, looking and pointing to where you want to go. When you want to turn, with a little bit more speed than normal, begin to turn the nose of your snowboard down into the fall line. Then change onto your new edge a little earlier than you normally would, keep practicing this until you’re changing edge as soon as you begin to initiate a turn, when your board is running across the fall line rather than down it.
Snowboarding down a narrow channel or a section of your indoor slope, is a great exercise for improving your short radius turns, your ability to initiate a turn and to change quickly from edge to edge. Try doing this while applying all the edge changing techniques you’ve learnt, while keeping a quiet upper-body. Repeating this drill over, and over again, will allow you to get faster and faster.
Whether your regular (left foot forward) or goofy (right foot forward), if you can’t snowboard with the other leg leading, its time to master long and short radius turns the other way, switch. Riding switch improves your board control and is priceless when progressing snowboard tricks later on — making it an important skill to learn indoors this summer.
Ollies and nollies are every snowboarders introduction to tricks on the snow and on the jumps and rails. Watch our ‘How to Ollie and Nollie’ video and get some tricks going indoors first.
On the flat, can you lift up the nose of your board and balance on the tail, can you do it while keeping the base of your board flat and travelling straight down the slope? If not, start practicing a tail press while still on the flat, then progress to travelling straight down the slope holding that position. For the tail press move your weight over your tail and bend your back leg. Then do the same for the nose press, moving your weight over your nose while bending your front leg.
A butter is simply a nose or tail press held while spinning down the slope. Start in a nose or tail press and then begin to rotate your upper-body left or right (frontside or backside), while maintaining the nose or tail press position. This will allow the board to spin on its nose or tail while you’re travelling down the slope. Once you’ve managed to rotate a full 360 degrees one way, try spinning the other way, or change it up from nose to tail, or vice versa.
180 and 360 degree spins on the flat comfortably progress to spins while traversing across the slope — and they're tricks that lend very well to indoor snowboarding. Nailing a 180 and 360 on the flat is the first step in building spin tricks you can take to the jumps at a later date. Watch our ‘How to 180’ video and start practicing at your indoor slope.
A euro carve with a 360 degree turn, is a carve (normally on the toe edge), where you gain so much speed and momentum that you're able to finish the carve by travelling back up the slope — and continue to follow the turn 360 degrees back on yourself until your nose is facing down the hill again. A stylish trick for indoors and out!
The penguin walk, crabbing, bunny hopping or walking on your snowboard, whatever you call it, it’s a great trick to have! It’s one of the best ways of travelling across a little flat area or up a gentle slope, and it’s so easy to learn at your indoor slope.
Using the skills learnt while practicing a nose and tail press, you can use the same flex and lean motion in the penguin walk, moving your weight between your front and back foot with each step.
The next step is to get comfortable pressing into the nose and tail, and bouncing between both ends of your snowboard. Alternating your weight and using your knees to bend into the tail press and pop out into the nose press.
Once you're happy with bouncing from the nose to the tail, and the tail to nose, start using your toe edge to move forward. Each time you move your weight between your nose and tail, dig your toe edge in and push yourself forward. Focus on one foot at a time, until you get a rhythm going, making sure you keep your weight centred over you snowboard.
Having become a hero of the indoor slope, and developed all of the above skills, it's time to switch up your leading leg again. Hopefully, you’ve already completed long and short turns switch (with the opposite leg to your normal leg leading) and now you're ready to switch ollie, nollie, 180, 360 and euro carve. There's plenty to learn, so you better get going if you want to complete all theses challenges before the summer is up.