217 Exploring Pressure Management

217 Exploring pressure management: rebound-acquisition and utilization

Initially, pressure management is confined to the default stance, and how that stance effects the way a board behaves in a turn.  In this particular context, the board is at a very low angle to the snow, and as such there is not much energy stored in the board.  The primary concern here is to effect and control a skidded turn.

As a rider gains skill, and improves their ability to utilize a snowboard to best advantage, they can make use of the board as an energy storage device.  In other words, at each change of direction, some of the energy associated with the change of direction can be temporarily stored in the board. Clean edge engagement is the primary criteria.

(Linear motion is converted to angular motion using a spring intermediary).

A rider has three primary means of moving the snowboard from one edge to the other: time and momentum, concerted muscular effort, and rebound.  Rebound is the fastest, most accurate, and requires the least effort on the part of the rider.  However, using rebound required touch, dexterity, and a sense of timing.  Rebound also requires that the board remain ‘charged’ with energy at all times.

In order to maintain bend in the board, and contain some of the energy associated with direction change, it is important to bend the board evenly.  In other words, too much pressure on the front of the board will cause it to skid, in which case, energy is lost to friction.  In the event of a prolonged skid, the  board will eventually ‘recamber’, stall, and the rider will have difficulty exiting the turn, particularly if the rider is significantly inclined to the inside of the turn.

Stalling due to skid is prevalent on the heelside turn, primarily because it is far too easy to start the turn with too much pressure on the front foot.  This tendency can be compounded by sloppy boot binding interface, or bindings that are set at an angle that is too steep to be functional.

Stalling due to chatter is more of a problem on the toeside turn.  This occurs due to the fact that, as more weight tends to be on the rear foot, the edge of the board will often lock in rather than skid.  Therefore, if the board is brought to edge too quickly, the edge will bite aggressively towards the tip.  As the tip of the board bites in and begins to bend, the rider may fall inward and towards the tip of the board due to sudden negative acceleration of the turning board.  To avoid going ‘over the bars’ the rider may try to catch themselves by standing even harder on the front foot.  This will bend the tip of the board severely.  Something has to give, and while occasionally a board will snap, usually the snow will undergo some sort of plastic deformation, which will repeat until enough energy has been dissipated so that the rider comes to a stop.

To avoid stalling in general, find the ‘sweet spot’ of the board flex, and stay there most of the time.

To find the middle of the board, and to feel the board fully de-camber, make deep arcs, one at a time, across a fairly steep pitch.  The goal is not to link turns, but to drop into the fall line as the board tilts, and for the board to then bend and create an elastic arc, with a conservation of energy.  Once a rider has a sense for this elastic state, they can allow the board to spring out from under them.  If a rider has spent most of their time moving their entire body at the exact speed of the board, rebound will feel a little unnerving, simply because the board is no longer directly underneath them.  A properly released board moving out from under the rider can be likened to a watermelon seed being squeezed out from between the thumb and forefinger.  This action can be facilitated by ensuring that the last point of contact at each turn just before the edge release is under the rear foot, either under the ball of the foot, or under the heel.

If a rider can successfully utilize rebound, the board can be moved from one edge to the other with greater facility, and in a shorter time span.  In turn, the rider will now be able to ride on steeper, narrower trails.

This is another means of separating upper and lower body.