how to snowboard on narrow runs

How To Snowboard On Narrow Runs [7 Essential Pointers]

by Ben

Ah, the narrow run! The siren song for those craving a bit of adrenaline and a touch of the unexpected. It’s the spicy salsa in the snowboarding buffet.

But, before you go plunging down the tightest trail, consider some tips to ensure you ride it out in style, not with a face full of snow.

Let’s talk about how to snowboard on narrow runs!

1. Before the Descent: Scope it Out

Never dive into the unknown! Peek before you plunge. Get a bird’s eye view, spot those tricky bends, and plan your route. It’s like choreographing a dance. Know your moves!

2. The Power of Posture

  • Keep Low: A lower center of gravity will provide better balance. Bend your knees and get into a slight crouch position.
  • Look Ahead: Don’t focus on the snow just in front of your board. Look a little farther down the run. This helps you anticipate turns and maintain a fluid motion.
  • Arms Out: Your arms act like a tightrope walker’s pole. Extend them slightly for better balance.
snowboarding on narrow runs

3. Turning on a Dime

Turning is the name of the game on narrow paths. You’ll need constant speed checks to maintain control. Use the following:

  • Skidded Turns: In tight spaces, wide, carving turns don’t always work. Instead, practice skidded turns, which involve a slight skidding motion at the end to control your speed. It’s one of the only times I encourage skidding over carving… enjoy it!
  • Flexibility: Be prepared to adjust your turns on the fly. The unpredictable nature of narrow paths might mean a quick left-right-left combo out of the blue.

4. Managing Your Speed

The challenge in narrow runs isn’t just navigating the space, but also controlling your speed.

  • Fall Line Awareness: The fall line is the path a ball would naturally take when rolling down the slope. Being aware of it helps you understand the natural flow and where you might pick up speed.
  • Speed Checks: Little skidding movements with your board can help control speed without a full stop.
  • Side-Slipping: This technique, where you slide sideways down the hill, can be used to navigate extremely tight spots or to slow yourself down.

5. Mind Over Mountain: Confidence is Key

  • Breathe: Before starting, take a deep breath. It sounds simple, but it can calm your nerves and prepare you mentally.
  • Visualize: Imagine yourself successfully navigating the path. Positive imagery can boost your confidence. 
  • Stay Positive: Everyone falls. If you do, take it in stride, get back up, and keep going.

6. Gear Up for the Narrow Challenge

While standard snowboarding equipment is vital, when tackling narrow runs, you might want to consider a few specialized pieces:

  1. Shorter Boards: Using a slightly shorter board can give you better maneuverability in those tight spots.
  2. Protective Pads: Narrow runs can be trickier, making falls a bit more likely. Protective pads for your hips and knees can be a savior.

7. Know When to Bail

We all love the thrill of the descent, but safety should always come first.

  • Soft Falls: If you feel you’re about to lose control, sometimes it’s best to take a controlled fall into the snow rather than careening into an obstacle. Always remember how to fall safely.
  • Stopping Zones: Familiarize yourself with parts of the run where it’s safer to stop and reassess. Avoid stopping in narrow choke points where other snowboarders might be coming down.

Lesson Summary: How to Snowboard Narrow Runs

When snowboarding on narrow runs, start by quickly assessing the terrain. Check for tight turns and safe places to stop. Adopt a low stance for stability, keep your eyes forward, and use skidded turns in tight spaces. Manage your speed via skidding and side-slipping. Don’t rush it!

Movie Time

Let’s break up all this text with a video from Kevin. He also covers our other arch-nemesis, flat sections!

The Benefits of Snowboarding Narrow Runs

  1. Skill Development: The intricate nature of narrow runs hones your essential snowboarding skills, including balance, precision, and speed control.

  2. Intimate Nature Connection: Narrow runs often wind through dense forests and untouched terrains, offering riders a closer, more immersive experience with the mountain.

  3. Increased Adrenaline: The challenge of tight spaces and unpredictable terrain provides a tasty adrenaline rush.

  4. Variety: Every narrow run is distinct, presenting unique terrain and challenges.

  5. Sense of Accomplishment: Successfully navigating a super narrow run is a big achievement, boosting your confidence when tackling more challenging slopes in future.

Final Thoughts

Narrow runs can be intimidating, but they also offer an incredible chance to hone your skills. 

Remember, with every twist and turn, you’re not just navigating a narrow path – you’re progressing as a rider.

And trust me, with these tips in mind and a bit of practice, you’ll soon be on the look out for the next narrow run to conquer!

So, where to next? Why not learn how to ride powder?!

Happy riding.

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