You’re linking turns, you’re comfortable with your speed on the slopes and you’re starting to get adventurous with a bit of air time on the lumps and bumps on the side of the piste. Let’s take the next step in progressing your skiing skills and hit up the snow park! It can be daunting venturing to the snow park for the first time – it can be a big, busy and scary place. We have therefore come up with some snow park rules and guidelines for beginners that will cover safety, park etiquette and some general snow park tips to make sure you have fun and enjoy this new style of skiing that is constantly becoming more and more popular.
Where to Stop
When you’re skiing through the snow park, it can be just as much fun watching your friends do their thing whether it be landing a new trick or a spectacular wipe out. Plus it’s great to get some footage to replay at the end of the day in the bar. Whether you are watching or participating, it is vital you are aware of your surroundings in the snow park and know where you can and can’t stop. What you think is a safe distance away from potential hazards and fellow skiers/boarders, could be exactly where someone will be landing or approaching to do a trick. It’s worth knowing that there are no rules on how people should be approaching or landing the jumps/rails/boxes, which is why freestyle skiing or snowboarding is so appealing to many; it gives people the chance to get imaginative on the mountain and provides a freedom of expression. So if you need to stop on the run through the park, it is best to either stop well away from the snow park features, ideally off the side of the piste where you have a good view of others and vice versa. Alternatively, and possibly the safest option, don’t stop until you are at the bottom.
Know your Snow Park Features
Within a snow park there are lots of different features varying in shape, size and difficulty. What’s important as a beginner in the snow park is knowing what is best for you, start small and work your way up the progression ladder. Simple beginner tip in snow park, before you try anything take a test lap. Cruise through the park and assess the features, try and spot which jumps or boxes match your ability before you try them.
When it comes to jumps and kickers, start with the jumps where the transition leading up to the take off is not too steep and there isn’t a massive drop after the take off. A good snow park tip is to start with jumps where you can ride over slowly without your skis coming off the snow at all. This will give you a good feel for how steep the jumps are whilst also gathering a understanding of how much speed you will need. Speed is key especially when you start on the larger kickers you don’t want to go too fast and over shoot the landing or too slow where you don’t even make the landing.
Boxes are tremendous fun; getting the sudden change in traction under your skis or snowboard is very satisfying and exhilarating. Make sure that when you try going over a box for the first time in snow park it suits your ability. You want to look for a wide and flat box that you can ski straight onto without having to jump up at all. It is important for your first attempts to get comfortable going over the box forwards: don’t get ahead of yourself and try spinning just yet! Once you’re comfortable with your speed control and can get over safely, that’s when it gets exciting and is worth trying to go across sideways or attempting narrower and more challenging boxes.
Understand the Snow Park Etiquette
Don’t you just hate it when someone skips the queue at the bar whilst you are waiting patiently? You get the same feeling in the snow park. Before you begin your run down, at the top there will quite often be a number of skiers or boarders spread around waiting to start their run: be wary of this and respect everyone around you. Before you start your run, have a quick look around and make sure no one else was about to go at the same time and let your presence be heard. Whether this be saying out loud for all to hear “dropping in” or simply making eye contact with the fellow skiers, giving a little thumbs up, and showing you are ready to go. This will all help in preventing collisions or slowing people down by getting in the way before they start their run.
A key part about park etiquette is to keep the hype up! If you see someone do something impressive, whether it be a pro in the park landing a double back flip, a friend going over the box for the first time or even someone taking a fall that was slightly amusing, be sure to give a “Whoop“, “Hoot, “Clap” or big old “Yeeewwwwwwwww!”. It is all part of the fun and sharing the enjoyment of landing something new and will contribute to everyone’s progression. However, this goes without saying, if someone has gone down or taken a big fall, help them up!
Video Credit: Snowboard Addiction
Ride with Friends
This is by far the most important advice for having fun in the snow park for beginners. Skiing and snowboarding is all about having fun and learning new skills, so what better way then go out with your friends and share that enjoyment. It is also key for progression, skiing with others will always help push and test your ability… a bit of friendly competition never hurt anyone!
This SMART acronym is a great way to follow the rules and provide simple guidelines.
Start small: When you’re learning to ski for the first time you wouldn’t start by going straight onto a black or a narrow red run. It’s the same in the snow park all the runs in the park are graded similar to the piste starting with green being the smallest and easiest. Quite often the features and runs will also be labeled in size e.g XS. S, M, L, and XL.
Make a plan: Have a basic idea of what you want to try before you head down to start your run. This way it builds your confidence and also prevents any unnecessary stopping mid-run which could otherwise result in collisions with on coming skiers/boarders.
Always look around: Assess your soundings and be wary of what is around you. What might seem like a good spot to wait or watch others in the park, could actually be a terrible place to stop. The best option is don’t stop on the run unless your at the top or bottom.
Respect everyone: As we mentioned earlier wait your turn, keep up the hype and help people when they are down!
Take it easy: Know your limits. Skiing in the park is all about progression and this takes time and patience. Have fun learning the basics and don’t rush into trying the large kickers.
Now we have covered some of the basic snow park rules and tips for beginners it is time to get out there, try something new and have fun doing so. Hopefully this small beginners guide for the snow park will help you to stay safe in the snow park and set you in good stead for your first day blasting over the kickers and boxes. You will be landing 360’s and popping grabs left, right and centre within no time at all!
If you are keen to put the snow park rules into action and want to get planning your next luxury ski holiday, please do give us a call on +44 (0)1202 203650 or send us an email. We can recommend the resorts that would suit you best and create a holiday to remember.