a falling leaf in snowboarding

What Is Falling Leaf In Snowboarding? Is It Essential?

by Fraser

Snowboarding is a lot of fun, no matter your skill level. However, for beginners, there are some steps you can take to learn how to snowboard safely. One of these moves is called a “falling leaf,” but what exactly is it?

The Falling Leaf is a term used in snowboarding that describes a fundamental movement you must learn to control your snowboard. It involves riding either edge of your snowboard across the slope, then reversing directions while remaining on the same edge of your board. This avoids having to point immediately downhill at any point.

This article looks at what a falling leaf is in snowboarding and why you need to learn it now!


What Is Falling Leaf In Snowboarding?

As we’ve discussed, the falling leaf is when you ride the edge of your board from one side of a ski slope to another and then reverse and ride the same edge back in the opposite direction. 

Hopefully that makes sense?

It can also be called side-slipping or zigzagging.

The falling leaf does mean riding “forwards” and “backwards” (otherwise known as regular and switch). However as you’re doing it slowly and sideways, you’ll be fine!

Now let’s discuss why it’s so essential.

Why Learn The Falling Leaf?

When you’re learning how to snowboard, one of the first things you need to figure out is how to balance.

Standing sideways on a plank of wood whilst moving at speed does feel a little strange at first (of course, if you started out by surfing then you may already have a head start).

It’s sensible to start out by strapping into your board somewhere flat, and just getting a feel for shifting your weight over the nose and tail of the board. Then find the center of the board – this is your safe space.

After you’ve become familiar with how to center your weight on your board, the next step is learning how to carve. But hold your horses! You’re not going to be speeding down the slopes on your heelside edge right away.

But one of the key ways to get there is by mastering the falling leaf technique. 


The Benefit Of The Falling Leaf

The falling leaf is a sneaky way of teaching you to:

    • Control your speed
    • Control your direction
    • Stop
    • Ride switch
    • Hold an edge

Is The Falling Leaf Just For Beginners?

Oh hell no!

If I hit a patch of gnarly, icy snow then I often default to the trusty falling leaf.

Equally, if I’m feeling run down at the end of a long day, I still treat myself to a falling leaf on some of the steeper faces.

When you’ve truly mastered the falling leaf, there’s almost no groomed slope you won’t be able to get down (slowly).


How To Do The Falling Leaf When Snowboarding?

I could explain this in writing, but let’s be honest… you were looking for a video.

So here’s a video showing how to do a falling leaf on your snowboard:   


Conclusion – Should I Use the Falling Leaf?

If you’re a brand new snowboarder, you should consider trying the falling leaf method before moving on to more complex turns. For novice snowboarders, it’s an excellent way to learn basic movements while maintaining a safe speed. As your skill level improves, you may still want to use it from time to time.

Once you’re on the way to mastering it, head back over to our snowboard guides to keep expanding your skillset.

See you on the slopes!

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