Snowboarding is full of jargon and terminology. This can certainly be tricky to decipher as a beginner! Once you’ve strapped in at the top of a mountain, your instructor will talk about “the fall line.” It sounds pretty scary, but it can be your friend. So what is the fall line in snowboarding?
In snowboarding, the fall line is the route a snowball would take if you rolled it down the hill. This means that the fall line is an imaginary line straight down the mountain from where you’re standing.
As a snowboarder, you must understand how the fall line affects your riding. Knowing this helps you to stay in control and pick up speed when needed. Let’s go into the details!
Riding Across The Fall Line
Now that you know what the fall line is, it is probably no surprise that pointing your snowboard straight down will cause you to accelerate… fast!
Some of you may think this sounds like fun, and it is, but you need to know what you’re doing before you can do this.
First, you must learn how to ride across the fall line on your toe and heel edges. This isn’t difficult; you just need to hold your balance and know how to shift your weight. This helps you to ride in the direction you want to go. Kev explains this really well in the video below.
Basically, let’s assume you’re on your toe edge and want to traverse across the fall line. To do so, slightly shift your weight forwards, move your upper body in the direction you want to go, and bend your front knee a little more.
This will cause your board to glide forwards while slightly going diagonally across the hill, so you will lose some height as you traverse. To slow down or stop, shift your weight back and stand up straight.
Practice The Falling Leaf Maneuver
A great way to master riding across the is with the “falling leaf” maneuver.
The falling leaf builds on what we described above. But when you come to a stop, use the same technique to ride on the same edge backwards and forwards. Repeat until you get to the bottom of the slope.
You will notice the motion is similar to a leaf falling from a tree (hence the name). You need to master the falling leaf on both edges before you progress to turning. Most people get the hang of it in a couple of runs, so don’t sweat it.
Going Down The Fall Line
A little bit of speed allows you to complete a turn on a snowboard. You need to point your board down the fall line to gather enough momentum, which can be petrifying in the early days!
But you just have to grit your teeth and embrace it until you speed up enough to bring the board’s tail across the fall line to safety.
Most beginners panic when they gather speed and lean back. But this just keeps you pointing down the fall line, making you go faster and out of control.
Once you get more experienced, you can use the fall line to get as much speed as possible to have fun and ensure you’re going fast enough to get over flat sections.