107 skills concept
Edging, pressuring, rotational movements, and their initial contribution to snowboarding
Snowboarding, and other forms of sliding downhill can be distilled to the following definition: The act of maintaining a state of equilibrium on a slippery surface, achieved by manipulating the base of support relative to the center of mass. Gravity’s pull is the motive force, and a spring is used to convert linear motion to angular motion.
The means by which the base of support is moved relative to the center of mass is by combination of movements, often used in what is referred to as a skill blend. The movements are:
Edging movements—movements which affect the angular relationship of the snowboard relative to the surface on which it rests.
Pressuring movements—two parts. One, weight distribution from foot to foot, and thus along the length of the snowboard. Two, movements used to maintain even contact between the board and the surface on which it slides.
Rotary movements—movements involving the rotation of a body or parts of a body around a central axis, sometimes simultaneously.
These three movements, effectively combined, allow the rider to remain in a state of relative equilibrium. The achievement of skill with any movement is predicated on the notion of ability to either properly utilize a movement, or eliminate it as necessary, at will. In other words, just because you can do something, does not mean that you should.
The first skill introduced is edging, in that establishing appropriate contact between the edge of the board and the snow establishes grip, which in turn leads to something to stand on. No edge, no stand. Initially, it is only necessary to hold the edge of the board perpendicular to the rider as they stand upright. The board is held this way in combination with select muscle usage in the lower extremities, and/or, the support of the boots and properly set bindings. To release the edge, muscles are relaxed. To engage the edge, muscles are contracted. If the bindings are set properly, and the board is sized correctly for the weight of the rider, the rider should be able to sideslip down the hill evenly weighted on both feet.
The second skill to be introduced involves pressure, commonly defined as force/area. In the previous example, the force is the rider’s weight, and the area is the length of the snowboard edge in contact with the snow. If the rider has equal weight on both feet, and the rider is standing effectively on the middle of the board, the board will bend evenly from end to end. If the rider applies more pressure to one foot or the other, the board will bend more under the affected foot, and less under the other foot. If the leading end of the board is bent much more than the trailing end, then, at a given edge angle, the board will begin to skid. Essentially, the front of the board is turning on a radius that the tail of the board, bent less, cannot follow.
Similarly, if more weight is on the trailing foot, there will not be enough bend in the front of the board for it to create a turn and the board will “rail out”
The last point of contact at the end of each turn is under the rear foot, either toe or heel, depending on which edge is being departed.
Rotational movements are introduced last, simply because basic mobility is hindered, rather than assisted, by premature use of rotary movements.
If a rider is able to sideslip on a given edge, back and forth across the slope, their progress can be facilitated by turning their head from side to side, effectively looking where they wish to go. This movement, of the head independent of the torso, does two things: it improves spatial awareness and alters the distribution of weight between the feet such that one end of the board loses grip and proceeds slightly down the hill.
Therein lie the basics.