Proper Body Formation for Turning on a Snowboard

Fundamental body positioning lays the foundation for effortless turns.

Fundamental body positioning lays the foundation for effortless turns.

The sport of snowboarding encourages expression of individuality. Like surfing, personal snowboarding style is dictated by body position and board movement. But while individual style may influence riding finesse, fundamental body configuration is necessary for basic turning. Set the stage for effortless turns by first optimizing your body formation on the snowboard. Your personal style will unfold as you progress your technique.

Bent Knees

Bending your knees lowers your center of gravity, providing stability and control. Luckily, women have the advantage of a naturally low center of gravity already -- who knew those childbearing hips had a dual purpose? Staying low permits turn initiation with subtle body movements as opposed to major shifts. Additionally, a bent-kneed posture makes it easy to push through your feet, using them as gas pedals to turn your board.

Squared Shoulders

Snowboard positioning differs from that of skiing. Skiers square their shoulders to the front of their skis, often facing down the fall line. Conversely, snowboarders square their shoulders to their feet, resulting in a body positioning that is parallel with their board. Opening your chest and aligning your body in this way helps to evenly distribute pressure on both the front and back of the board. To account for different snow conditions, simply shift your hips fore or aft.

Lead With Your Gaze

Turn initiation begins with your head. As you turn your head to look down the fall line, your body follows suit. Begin a heelside turn by looking over your front shoulder and sitting back and onto your heelside edge as if in an imaginary chair. Divert your gaze downhill and across the fall line for a toeside turn, gently pressing on your toes. Your head acts as a steering wheel for your body, allowing your center of gravity to trail. Maintaining a horizontal eye line is equally important. If you look down, you may end up on the ground.

Quiet and Relaxed Upper Body

Flailing arms and a rigid torso hinder turning perfection and pull you out of your grounded position. So instead of muscling your upper body around in a turn, keep your arms by your side and maintain fluidity in your torso. Integrate your own personal style by riding with your hands slightly out in ballet position or suck them into your hips. Either way, flexibility in your upper body yields graceful movements uninhibited by tension.

 

About the Author

Christina Shepherd McGuire writes articles about adventure sports, fashion, mothering and natural living. Since 2003, her work has appeared in "Action Outdoor and Bike Magazine," "Teton Family Magazine," "The Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine" and several online publications. McGuire holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images