Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Hitting a Rail, Box, or Jump on a Snowboard

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/04/06 by cfoster7


Hitting a rail or a box are very similar tricks.  A box is just a thicker and more flat version of a rail, which is like a pole.  Boxes are easier to hit than rails.  Boxes and rails can range anywhere from being completely horizontal to slanting down to having kinks that make it slant both upwards and downwards.  The horizontal ones are the easiest, and then the downward slanting ones, and finally the rails and boxes with kinks in them are the most difficult ones to land.



To hit a box or a rail you ride up to it, keeping your speed on the slower side, and you have to keep your board flat and weight in the middle when you approach it.  If you approach the box or rail on an edge or if you’re sitting backseat or frontseat (leaning back or leaning forward) then most likely you will fall.  On some boxes and rails there is a little bit of a gap between the rail or box and the small ramp of snow that gets you up onto it so the rider must do a little bunny hop to get on to it.  This isn’t too hard to do because the rider has enough momentum going that the bunny hop is almost non-existent.


When riding across the box or rail just remember to keep your knees bent and weight over the middle of the board.  When you can ride straight across the box or rail you can start trying 50/50s or spins.  The thing to remember when advancing your tricks on the box or rail is to keep your balance, weight over the middle of the board, flat board, and knees bent.



When landing off of a rail or box the rider ends up dropping back onto the slope.  There is no exit ramp when getting off so the trick to landing is to keep the board flat, weight over the middle, and knees bent (super critical!).



Hitting a jump has the same principles behind it as hitting a rail or a box does.  The rider rides up to the jump, but more speed is needed than when hitting a rail or box, with bent knees and a flat board.  When they come to the lip, which is the crest of the jump, they bend their knees and does a small bunny hop.  While in the air there are plenty of tricks to do, anything from spins to grabs to flips.  When landing a jump same rules apply as when a rider lands a rail or a box: flat board, weight over the middle, and bent knees.



Urban Riding

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/04/01 by cfoster7


When I worked at Timber Ridge, the fun didn’t just stop once the ski desk closed.  I would hang out with my coworkers and do what they call “urban riding”.  Urban riding is snowboarding on the street using handrails, trees, or anything else you can find laying around to do a trick off of.  These sessions would usually take place late at night on the weekend.  Since we all live on a college campus there were plenty of places for us to go urban riding.


There was one time in particular where we went urban riding at my friend’s parents’ house.  It was the night after a huge snowstorm so the snow was nice a powdery.  We made this huge jump using my friend’s dad’s snowplow.  Then we hooked up a towrope to the back of a snowmobile which the rider would hang on to and basically get whipped over to the jump.  The jump was pure powder so the many times we didn’t land our tricks we would just face plant into the snow.




The knarliest trick that was landed that night was a back flip.  Some other sweet tricks were a rodeo, front flip, and a couple of grabs.  A rodeo is a trick done on skis where the rider flips upside down then twists before landing and ends up landing going backwards.



Urban riding is a lot like urban skating.  We got kicked out of a lot of places, but not before we were able to land some sick tricks!

Injuries on the Slopes

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/03/30 by cfoster7


As an instructor I was told a proper procedure to follow if one of my students gets hurt during a lesson.  I have never had to use this procedure, but it can be a common occurrence given the riding conditions, level of the rider, and level of the instructor.


If the rider gets hurt, but is able to move you should:

Take them inside to ski patrol.


If there is more than one student in the lesson, then ask another instructor on the hill to watch your class and take the injured rider to ski patrol.

At Timber Ridge the instructors are at a table just inside the lodge so if an extra instructor can’t be found out on the hill, then you would just need to run in and ask one to come out to watch for a few.


If the rider gets hurt and is unable to move you should:

Ask someone on the hill to get ski patrol, whether it be a random rider or another student in your lesson if it’s a class with multiple learners.

Stay with the rider, try to calm them down, and make them lie still.


If the instructor gets hurt during the lesson, then they need to have another instructor take over the lesson and go see ski patrol if they can move.  If the instructor is hurt enough to where they can’t move, then the student needs to get the attention of another instructor or rider and get ski patrol.



Getting hurt is no joke.  The most common areas to get hurt during an introduction lesson are heads, wrists, knees, tailbones, and backs.  Helmets have become more common on the hill not only being worn by beginning riders, but also by instructors and more advanced terrain park riders.


People hurt their wrists, knees, and tailbones when they catch their edges and fall.  Wearing wrist guards and knees pads are good ways to minimize wrist and knee injuries.  There really isn’t a good way to stop from hurting your tailbone.  Some companies have started putting extra padding in the knees and butt parts of the snowpants which is helpful, but doesn’t mean that you can’t hurt yourself.



These sort of injuries are just risks that beginning shredders have to take and luckily if they get hurt they are surrounded by snow so they can ice their boo-boos!


The Trouble with Clickers

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/03/10 by cfoster7

The rental snowboards at Timber Ridge have bindings that are called clickers.  On the bottom of the boot there is a hook that in under the toe then there is a mechanism on the heel that has a spot that the binding snaps into.  The bindings themselves have a loop that the toe hook fits under and a device that snaps into the heel mechanism with a little handle to release it.






The snow likes to get packed down onto the bottom of the boot and into the binding loop which makes it super difficult for the rider to strap in.

Some of the people I have in my lessons have a really difficult time strapping into their rental boards because of the snow and the confusing way that is required for the boot to fasten to the binding.  First the rider has to dig their toe into the binding to catch the toe hook on the binding loop.  This gets hard because of balance issues and sometimes the rider tries to dig too hard and they miss the loop completely.  Once the toe loop is caught, the rider then has to stomp down their heel while making sure to keep that hook in the loop.  They also have to stomp their heel down straight onto the device on the heel of the binding to make sure that the heel mechanism snaps into place.  This is really hard for most riders because they don’t stomp straight down with their heel, move their toe so the hook comes out of the loop, and/or stomp down hard enough to get it to snap in.

The way I deal with these bindings is first I let them try it on their own and if they continue to have problems I get down on my knees, scrape off the snow, and steer their toe into the hook.  I’ve gotten kicked in the face a couple of times, but it seems to get the job done so I continue to do it.

First Time on Skis in 12 Years

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7


As an instructor it is a really good thing to know how to snowboard and ski and be able to teach lessons for both.  I have been snowboarding since I was nine and haven’t been on a pair of skis since.  The ski director Joe told me that by the end of the season he wanted me on a pair of skis comfortable enough to teach an introduction lesson.  I skied for about six years before jumping onto a snowboard so I figured it would be fun to get back onto a pair of “sticks”.


It was definitely a lot different than I thought it would be.  For one there are two boards instead of one.  It was so weird to be able to slide my feet independently of one another.  I was also facing forward versus facing the side with my head turned forward.  The weirdest thing had to be the boots.  I haven’t had my feet in hard boots in forever and walking was one of the most difficult things I’ve done at Timber Ridge.



Joe took me on the bunny hill at first and modeled what an introduction lesson would be like.  We also shadowed one of the ski instructor’s lessons to get an idea of class management.  It was awkward my first couple of runs down the bunny hill but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and we headed for the chairlift.



Getting on and off the chairlift was pretty easy, except I didn’t have any poles to help push me along so I had to slide my feet and also do the “duck walk” where my feet are angled out and I step the skis forward.  I’m not going to lie it was nice to be able to get off the chairlift and already be ready to go down the hill, not having to take time to strap my back foot into the back binding.


We took a couple of runs down the hill and by that time I had to go check in with my supervisor.  Joe told me he was really surprised at how well I did on skis and that if he didn’t already know that I hadn’t been on a pair of skis in 12 years he wouldn’t have been able to tell.  I didn’t get to learning to ski in time to teach any lessons before the season ended, but there is always next season!

Snow Storm Lessons

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7

Teaching an introduction lesson in a blizzard is no picnic.  The wind is blowing the snow all around and it’s super hard to see the students.  When I have to teach lessons in this kind of weather I make sure to be the one facing the blowing snow so my students don’t have to squint their eyes to look at me.  I also always wear my goggles on my head just in case of a sneak snow attack.

The big challenge is fighting the wind.  The wind usually can get whipping pretty fast and it takes a toll on your balance.  I have had a couple of students get pushed over by the wind when they were trying their best to carve.  When that happens I just try to get them to laugh it off, get up, and try again.


There are certain bunny hills that I’ll take my lessons out on depending on the weather and the traffic on the slopes.  We have a total of two bunny hills: one immediately to the left of the lodge and the second is all the way over to the right, past three chairlifts.  I take my lessons usually over to the far bunny hill because it has the least amount of traffic on it, but when it is windy I stick to the one that is closer to the lodge.

Sticky Snow = The Enemy

Posted in Uncategorized on 2009/02/24 by cfoster7


Since the season is winding down the weather has been a little wishy washy.  At Timber Ridge the weather has been less than premium lately.  We had a complete thaw about a week ago where almost all of the snow melted.  The snow base on the hill, which was at about 45 inches or so, melted down and got really soft.  Then we got hit with a storm which gave us about 6 inches of snow altogether and that just sat on top of the melting base insulating it.


Whenever that happens it makes the fresh snow really sticky which is the worst to teach lessons in.  The rental snowboards that most of the beginning snowboarders use for lessons are not waxed as regularly as they should be and get used very frequently so the wax that is on there gets worn off pretty quickly.


In these kinds of lessons the only thing I can do is take my snowboard off for most of the lesson and get down on the ground so I can push their snowboard along.  Because most of the people in my lessons have hardly or never snowboarded before they don’t want to go fast, but if they don’t have any kind of speed they can’t learn anything.


Sticky snow seems to come creeping in just as you are starting to get the hang of riding.  It always sneaks up when you least expect it…