Last week I spoke about how we can influence the shape of a turn by manipulating the sidecut of the board through pressure control. (read How tilt can help you carve on a snowboard and tighten those turns up).
I would strongly advise reading the article about edge tilt before trying the below mentioned. As without edge tilt any pressure you apply through your snowboard will be limited.
I also mentioned in that article where this would be most useful (steep or bumpy terrain, where the need to tighten / influence the shape of a turn is of urgency).
This week I’m going to talk about the importance of getting onto the new edge quickly, how this can aid riding the above mentioned terrain and help with the manipulation of the sidecut mentioned in last weeks post.
Ever done a turn and had that feeling where you, wait wait wait and then the new edge comes into play? This is all down to the time it takes to shift the body and board over onto the new edge. Do you want to make this quicker? well read on.
What’s out there?
When thinking about getting onto the new edge we talk about crossing over.
I mentioned this in the following posts, Make riding a cat track on a snowboard effortless and Changing edge on a snowboard, but didn’t really go into the height at which we cross over from one edge to the next.
The high cross over turn:
Yep, you guessed it. As the name suggests, we are high when we cross over onto the new edge getting progressively low towards the end of the turn.
On reaching the end of the turn we then extend up ready for the next turn and cross over (change edge).
Now let’s take some time to think about this type of crossing over.
Since we are starting in a high position, there is really only one thing we can do throughout the rest of the turn and that is to get low, limiting the amount of movements / adjustments we can make throughout the turn.
The Low Cross over turn:
We start low, then extend throughout the turn to bend / influence the shape of the turn, finally getting low again to finish your turn, absorbing any pressure and setting you up nicely for your next turn.
If you’re thinking , geeze all that just for a turn, seams like a whole lot of hard work – well if it was easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge and keep us coming back for more now would it!
Stay with me as I explain why and where this type of turn can be useful.
So why do we get low?
In regards to a high cross over turn, let us think about why we get low at the end of a turn and more importantly in this case what happens when we get low.
We start high and get low towards the end of the turn to take away pressure built up throughout the turn / absorbing it through our legs and body, making for a smoother ride. But by getting low we reduced the ability to extend. Maybe we need to fill a gap (bumps / drop) or to apply pressure to our board to bend it and influence the turn.
By starting high and progressively getting low we CANNOT do this!
We are essentially stuck in one position, getting low.
For the low cross over we start low and are able to extend during the turn and then get low again at the end to absorb pressure and set up for the next turn, delivering higher performance from our board.
“Low and roll” at the beginning of the turn as my good friend Donnie Macleod from Synergy Snowsports says.
Take a look at the pictures above at old Freestyle MAX. I say old, but this is actually my second edition of Freestyle MAX. The first unfortunately got into a fight with a drunken snowboard instructor a couple of winters back, and lets just say Freestyle MAX didn’t come out on top (no names mentioned…!)
I took a couple of pictures of him in different positions to illustrate the distanced covered between a high cross over turn to that of a low cross. Now while all of this is marginal and relative to the size of the pictures / how close the camera was etc, it does illustrate the distance covered by each cross over.
Each cross over has a greater or shorter distance to cover, this distance is relative to the time it takes for our body and head to travel before we are stacked and aligned over the new edge. Yes you can flick the board underneath your feet onto the new edge fairly quickly but this leaves the body and head behind, good for some things but not good for general riding and overall stability.
We need to try and get the whole body / board travelling as one over to the new edge regardless of the type of cross over, read Changing edge on a snowboard.
So, looking at the above 2 pictures, which is the shorter distance covered? And if we got even lower on the low cross over? How far would we have to travel then?
In your answer you should also find out which would then be the quicker of the two edge changes.
So which is better?
The answer is neither as they both have their place when riding, it’s just finding out when is best to use one or the other.
High Cross over
- When cruising the flats and mellow terrain
- Where the need to get onto the new edge is not urgent
- In cases where you do not need to influence the boards sidecut
Low cross over
- On steeps and terrain which requires a quick edge change
- Where high performance from your board is required – i.e. carving
- Hard pack / ice where grip is of up most importance
- Bumpy terrain where you require more stability. Being lower = more stability and allows us to extend and absorb throughout the turn bending and influencing the board, increasing grip and therefore overall balance
A final thought
What if, just what if, we made our general all round riding height somewhere between a high and a low position. Allowing us to adapt to the surrounding terrain in a heart beat.
If you haven’t heard about Freestyle MAX before then check him out here: http://www.freestylemax.com/