Let’s briefly remind ourselves of what we went over last time.
When snowboarding, we are going sideways. However people walk straight.
This causes your upper body to slight face forward while you’re snowboarding.
And it is the cause of not being able to initiate a toe side turn.
First, let’s understand the mechanism for initiating turns.
(You have 2 ways of changing your direction while snowboarding.)
- Horizontal Rotation
Simply put, a spin, where you switch the position of the nose and tail of your board.
- Changing your edge
For example, changing your edge from the right side to the left.
Combining these 2 movements will initiate a turn.
So now let’s think about why you can’t initiate a toe side turn while your torso is facing forwards.
So this time let’s think about why you can’t initiate a toe side turn when switching from edge to edge!
The sides of snowboards are rounded, thus allowing you to make nice round turns when you make an edge angle.
For example, Racers and people who like carving turns focus on making a more edge angle instead of rotating the board horizontally.
The more of an edge angle you make the more you’ll be able to efficiently use these rounded sides, and as you improve you’ll be able to make an edge angle quicker and stronger.
But, if you can’t make the edge angle well enough then you can’t really initiate a good turn.
In short, if you’re an intermediate rider that is struggling in initiating a toe side turn then that means you aren’t making your edge angle well enough.
Why can’t you make an edge angle to start a toe side turn?
Because you’re scared of leaning downhill with your chest?
That’s one of the many entirely plausible reasons.
But this time I’d like to tackle it from a more technical standpoint.
Tilting the board as you change the edge from heel side to toe side without rotating the snowboard horizontally is basically moving your center of gravity from heel side to toe side.
Initiating turns by moving your weight from one side to other side needs special actions.
However intermediate riders tend to keep their bent posture on heel side turns when initiating a toe side turn, meaning they move their head over the board to the opposite side first and their center of gravity (the hips) follow after.
This is unstable and will cause you to have bad balance, and because moving your head first will cause the rest of your body, and your board, to take a while to catch up, making an edge angle won’t start as soon as you’d expect it to.
Doing this on a steep slope will scare you more and it makes everything even more difficult.
So then, how do advanced riders move their center of gravity?
By actually using the lower half of their body!
Advanced riders want to make their edge angle stronger and quicker, so they use the parts of their bodies that are close to the board itself which allow the board react quickly.
In other words, they start moving from…
Now let me explain what movements come from using these two options.
Whether you use your toes or knees, you can use either front leg or back leg.
Remember, you don’t want to move your both feet at the same time.
First try pushing your right or left toes down, the board will react to your movement.
Try putting your board down on flat ground and try lifting your right toe up and pushing your left toe down, and then switch them.
Can you see the torsion your board?
When you push down with your right toe you should feel your right knee moving to the toe edge, and you should also feel your right hip move to the toe edge as well.
And if your right hip move, right shoulder will follow.
If you do this, your right side knee, hip, and shoulder will all move to the toe edge side.
And then your left knee, hip, and shoulder will also naturally follow to the right side and move over to the toe edge.
Now your head doesn’t have to move as much, giving you more stable balance.
And thanks to moving the left side (or right side) of your body first, shifting your center of gravity from one edge to the other edge goes much more smoothly than moving both the right and left side of your body at same time.
Try pulling your back elbow behind at same time you move your one side of your body on the toe edge.
It will help pushing down the toe edge with your front toe.
Like racers whose binding (toes) are facing more in the direction they’re facing, their back knee is already at the toe edge so they can start the turn with the toes and knee of their back leg.
Although this can be quite difficult for intermediate riders, so I personally wouldn’t recommend it.
People using a free style set up have their binding sideways, or they’re facing sideways, so before entering a turn they should make an edge angle with the nose of their boards.
In other words, use the toe or knee of your front foot to make a toe side edge angle and to start toe side turns.
If your body is facing forward however, you can’t push down the toe of your front foot, and that won’t allow your knees to move to the toe side edge.
This happens is because when you’re facing forward, your front shoulder and hip are at the heel side edge so your front knee is pulled back to heel side.
It’s why you can’t put any of your weight down on the toe of your front foot.
Okay, so now let’s pull all our knowledge of how to initiate a toe side turn together!
Do the above before making an edge angle, and before changing edges.
They won’t work if the edge has already changed. So please don’t forget that it should be used as a switch to start your toe side turns!