How to Not Catch Edges While Snowboarding

When you catch an edge, you go down!
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Sunny days, soft powder, steep runs and big air -- this is the stuff of snowboarding. On the flip side, there's also the more embarrassing and sometimes painful realities of snowboard accidents. Almost every wreck on a snowboard is a result of catching your edge, which means your downhill edge makes contact with the snow and results in a fall. Catching an edge is always a product of your downhill edge sticking in the snow because your board is at an angle of greater than 45 degrees -- approaching perpendicular -- to the fall line. Avoiding catching edges while snowboarding will go far in keeping you in an upright -- and more dignified -- position.

    Step 1

    Stop at the top of the run. Locate the fall line, the path water would hypothetically follow through the contours of the slope of the run if the water ran down the hill. Envision it flowing from where you stand. Board down the fall line by pointing the nose of your board straight down the hill, so your momentum is moving down hill, the edges of your snowboard parallel with the fall line.

    Step 2

    Stay in position, your shoulders over the balls of your feet and your knees in a direct line between the two, your head turned over your downhill shoulder. Put your arms out to your sides, your downhill hand directly over the nose of your board, your uphill hand over the tail of your board.

    Step 3

    Move your hands forward of your chest to shift your shoulders -- and by extension, your weight -- forward of your knees. Roll your weight up on the balls of your feet by standing on your toes to set your edge and initiate a carve. Keep your eyes positioned looking down the fall line.

    Step 4

    Shift your hands behind your shoulders to move your shoulders behind your knees. Curl your toes up to put your weight on your heels and initiate a carve in the other direction. Initiate your turn before the fall line disappears from your sight as your downhill shoulder moves away from the fall line at an angle.

    Step 5

    Ride the turn until the nose of your board crosses the fall line and approaches a 45-degree angle in relation to it, then move your hands forward of your shoulders and shift your weight onto the balls of your feet so your board turns back toward the fall line. Continue crossing back and forth over the fall line on your way down the hill, always keeping your weight on your uphill edge until the moment you're going to initiate a turn.


    • If the edges of your board are more than 45 degrees off parallel in relation to the fall line -- and your downhill edge touches the snow, you've caught an edge and you'll wreck.

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