The winter season only lasts for a limited time but snowboarders will always find a way to work on their craft. There are quite a few things you can do to work on your skills even without snow in your area. From exercises and training equipment to travel, you’ve got options to keep your body and your skills in tip-top shape so you are ready to hit the slopes like a pro when the snow returns.
In snowboarding, the main muscles used include the legs and abs. The legs are used for turning, jumping, landing and everything–from the basics to the most complex moves. The abs are used for balance and play a large role in the way a rider controls their board. These muscles have to be strong, resilient, and flexible to thrive in the winter sport. This means some stretching and light exercises working those muscle groups will benefit your boarding as well as your stamina and strength.
Exercises such as squats, lunges, wall sits and running can be done in any place, such as one’s house. Wall sits are especially helpful because they greatly improve your conditioning. To exercise your abs you can do leg raises, crunches, sit-ups and planks. You can change the intensity of your workouts by adding the number of exercises you do as well as adding weights or resistance.
Balance is also very important in snowboarding, whether you’re on a rail, box, turning or doing a simple trick. Snowboarders have come up with ways to work on balance in the off-season with certain equipment that can be bought or made. These exercises can soothe your boarding addiction during these months of withdrawal! And speaking of addiction–a brand called Snowboard Addiction offers equipment to work on your balance, such as the Balance Bar and the Jib Board. The bar is an artificial plastic rail with a removable rubber hump while the board is made out of wood and plastic with holes for a pair of bindings–a pair come with the board but you can also use your own. The bar and board are used together as a balancing exercise–especially great for practicing rail tricks.
You can also make them yourself. To make the rail you can go to any home improvement store such as Home Depot to purchase the supplies. First, you will need a PVC or ABS pipe. which can be found in the plumbing section. A pipe that is about 75 cm long to be sufficient. The diameter of the pipe has to be about 5 inches or more. The wider the diameter, the easier it will be to practice tricks and balance on. You will then have to cut the pipe down the middle creating a semi-circle.
To make the board, you will need a skateboard and some bike-tire inner-tubing. Next, you will take off everything on the skateboard including the grip tape to be left with just the wooden board. You then cut the tubing in half and tie it on the board tight enough that you can secure your shoe without leaving any space for your foot to move around. The quality will not be as good as Snowboard Addiction’s but it gets the job done perfectly fine.
The exercises and equipment are great, cheap ways to practice but if you have the money to go, I recommend some travel. Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Whistler and Oregon all have resorts open in the summer for snowboarding and skiing. Summer boarding is quite different from regular boarding. It is hot enough to just wear a shirt or none at all. Most people wear their snowboard pants with a light top. Be sure to just lather up on sunscreen because the sunlight reflects off the snow giving you more exposure to UV rays.
While it is summer in North America, in Australia and New Zealand it is snowy. This makes the land down under one of the most visited places to snowboard in the summer. Another popular destination amongst skiers and snowboarders is Whistler BC in Canada. Whistler is the home to the Blackcomb glacier that stays snowy year-round. All year-round, Whistler is one of the more famous snowboarding resorts. Around the world, there are also indoor ski resorts that stay open all year. Some of the most famous ones are Snow Planet in New Zealand, Ski Dubai in Dubai and Snow Factor in Scotland. The inside of these resorts are temperature controlled, so the snow is kept in good condition and doesn’t melt.
When you love snowboarding, you start to get serious about coming up with different ways to hone your skills. With a little resourcefulness and creativity, you can now work on your snowboarding all year-round and further your technique on and off the slopes, coming back to each season stronger and sharper–as if you never stopped boarding at all.
Buttered up Boards is a Snowboarding column, written by King Mad and Simon Snow. Have any questions or comments? Ask King Mad and Simon Snow by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your questions or comments may be used in future columns but your identity will always be kept confidential.