I see it all the time at the resorts. Snowboarders who have dropped into a line that eventually leads them into a long drawn out gulley. You see them suffer as they flail their arms around trying to move forward or eventually take off their snowboard completely and walk out. For most snowboarders this is often a horrible experience. You get so tired from trying to push yourself out, you get hot and sweaty with your goggles fogging up, your skier friends are waiting for you, Ugh! It gets even worse on powder day and even worse than that if it is really deep. The core muscles you need just to push yourself up and out of that awkward hole makes you wish you had trained a little more in the summer and pre-season.
Then there are the snowboarders who are searching for a fresh line of powder just like everyone else. They get into these traverses that seem endless. Our legs are pumped, so pumped that we have to take a break when we reach the line we wish to drop into. Oh and that’s if you make the traverse. Often, we don’t make the traverse and we end up having to drop in early thus getting separated from our friends, cliffed out, or just lost.
You may even find yourself stuck in the middle of the traverse, holding up the entire pack of people behind you. Often times these are your “dual plank wank” comrades who yell and curse you for screwing up their traverse as well. I can’t help to yell at you too if I’m snowboarding and you screw up my own traverse because you laying there like roadkill. Does this at all sound familiar? Maybe it doesn’t if you don’t go off-piste very often but I see you too, stuck in the flats on the groomers.
Snowboarders have many different techniques for getting themselves out of those low-lying areas. There is the good ol’ bent over knuckle drag push, there are the smart ones who actually learned how to snowboard with only one foot in and “skate” their way out of trouble. Recently, I have noticed more and more snowboarders doing this weird shuffle thing where they stay strapped in and more or less try to walk on their tips and tails, kind of like a crippled chicken. Not only does this look you are a beater but it is incredibly dangerous.
Collisions while skiing or snowboarding is one of the most common causes for injury. People can be seriously hurt when they make contact. They can even be legally liable in a crash. Did you know it is illegal to leave the scene of a ski collision?
With skiing and snowboarding becoming more popular than ever, collisions happen more frequently and hopefully you are smart enough to wear a helmet. I think that everyone who heads out to the resort should have to re-read that, “skiers and snowboarders responsibility code” Too many people simply don’t abide and it’s dangerous for all.
Back to being stuck while snowboarding. There are just certain parts of the resorts that become bottlenecks of traffic. These merging points, cat tracks, funnels or whatever are a nightmare. I hear they really suck if you ride in Southern California. We all need to move through them as quickly as possible at a speed that is safe. If you are on your snowboard doing that crippled chicken thing, you are a bogey. Avoid the bogeys at all costs! I have two simple solutions to not be, “that guy.”
The first solution is to get you in riding shape. Engage in a ski or snowboard specific training regimen. Having a strong core, legs, arms, and necks will only assist you. Your legs will handle those traverses, your back won’t hurt as bad, and you will just have a better experience if you do get stuck. You will be de-stuck quicker. Yah!
The second solution is really simple. Tune your snowboard! A well-tuned snowboard is easier to turn, protects your investment, and most importantly, helps you glide ride on past all of those other snowboarders. Wax is paramount to getting through the flats. You will be amazed at how far you can glide on the flats with a fresh coat of ski or snowboard wax. It also helps to protect your base from freezing and much more. A simple wax coat is easy to do. You don’t have to take it to a shop and pay out your hard earned money. With a few simple tools, you can do it yourself. I personally like to wax my board almost every three days of riding. Even more if it is going to be a powder day. I’ll discuss how to wax and tune your equipment another time but do yourself and everyone else on the mountain a favor. “Tune your body and Tune your board!”