First steps towards riding switch on a snowboard

Starting to work on switch can be a nightmare. The key is to keep things simple and take your riding back a notch. Think about starting with some very basic ‘C’ shaped turns so you can isolate the correct movements and not pickup too much speed. Generally the weakest turn is the heel to toe, so lets break that one down.

Left Leg Forward Heel to Toe Turn

Flex left knee towards farthest corner of the board

Flex left knee towards farthest corner of the board

Initiate the heel to toe turn with a lateral shift through the board with the front knee dropping to the farthest toe edge corner of the board.

Push your left knee to the farthest corner of the toe edge

Push your left knee to the farthest corner of the toe edge

You’ll find that the board will start to drop for the turn without you having to do anything else.

Maintain the flexed front knee as you drop down the slope

Maintain the flexed front knee as you drop down the slope

Try to relax and not rush the turn. Your front shoulder will drop naturally as you flex your front knee. Go with the movement and resist the urge to force the board around or shift your weight to the back leg.

Shift your weight to the centre of the board to finish the turn

Shift your weight to the centre of the board to finish the turn

As you complete the turn start to shift your weight back to the centre of the board, not to the tail unless you think you can handle a more advanced aft turn. When completing the turn, just getting your weight back to the centre will be sufficient in creating a stable posture for braking. You can also look back up the slope and bring the shoulders in-line with the board as an additional help in maintaining balance during braking.

To speed up the initial turn from the board, slightly lift your back toes just as you start to push your front knee out. That will create more of a twist in the board that will help speed up the turn initiation. Only hold them up for the first 30–45 degrees of a turn otherwise the heel edge will start to catch in the snow.

Right Leg Forward Heel to Toe Turn

Flex right knee towards farthest corner of the board

Flex right knee towards farthest corner of the board

Initiate the heel to toe turn with a lateral shift through the board with the front knee dropping to the farthest toe edge corner of the board.

Push your right knee to the farthest corner of the toe edge

Push your right knee to the farthest corner of the toe edge

You’ll find that the board will start to drop for the turn without you having to do anything else.

Maintain the flexed front knee as you drop down the slope

Maintain the flexed front knee as you drop down the slope

Try to relax and not rush the turn. Your front shoulder will drop naturally as you flex your front knee. Go with the movement and resist the urge to force the board around or shift your weight to the back leg.

Shift your weight to the centre of the board to finish the turn

Shift your weight to the centre of the board to finish the turn

As you complete the turn start to shift your weight back to the centre of the board, not to the tail unless you think you can handle a more advanced aft turn. When completing the turn, just getting your weight back to the centre will be sufficient in creating a stable posture for braking. You can also look back up the slope and bring the shoulders in-line with the board as an additional help in maintaining balance during braking.

To speed up the initial turn from the board, slightly lift your back toes just as you start to push your front knee out. That will create more of a twist in the board that will help speed up the turn initiation. Only hold them up for the first 30–45 degrees of a turn otherwise the heel edge will start to catch in the snow.

If you want to improve your riding skills check out our private coaching at Hemel Snow Centre or Snozone Milton Keynes in the UK.

Riding demos pictures taken in Les Deux Alpes during the summer. Demos by Maverix coach Sian. Follow her on Instagram @maverixsian


James Streater is the head coach and owner of Maverix Snow Ltd, providing year round snowboard instruction, coaching and personal development. He is part of a select group of professionals who hold the worlds highest snowsport qualification ISTD. Follow him on Instagram @maverixsnow

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